New Entrepreneurs Compete for Prize Money

Love watching ABC’s show Shark Tank to see new business ideas?  This Tuesday, you can catch up on the latest ideas for new products and businesses from Maine-based entrepreneurs at Big Gig. The grand finale of the 2016-17 season of the Big Gig pitch contest will take place at the Foster Center for Student Innovation at the University of Maine on Tuesday, April 18, at 5:30 p.m.

This season is Big Gig’s fifth time providing an opportunity for early-stage entrepreneurs to hone their business pitches and make connections with the community.  The series expanded to four preliminary events this year to give even more entrepreneurs the opportunity to pitch their ideas.  The Big Gig audience will be able to see the newest businesses in the community and vote for the winner to help bring their idea to life.  Previous winners include Twenty Two Vodka, based in Brewer, and Tip Whip, a ride sharing service exclusively for college students, which has moved on this year to be a semi-finalist in the Greenlight Maine show, competing for $100,000.

This year’s finalists draws from a pool of about 20 entrepreneurs:  some young and some not as young, some with ideas for consumers and others with business to business ideas, and some with inventions and others with ideas drawing upon their unique expertise.

This year’s finalists are:

Event 1 Finalist: Dylan Veilleux, pitching his Tea Pillow product to help with relaxation.

Event 2 Finalist: Maddie Purcell, pitching her business Fyood Kitchen for an entertaining night out while cooking and eating.

Event 3 Finalist: Derek Porter, pitching his soon to be launched House of Meeples Board Game Cafe.

Event 4 Finalist: Josh Henry, pitching GoLab’s new building insulation product.

The event will also feature storytelling by Chris Kilgour of C&L Aviation in Bangor, sharing his account of how he went from a teenage entrepreneur to the founder of a global aviation services company.  Chris and his team have a great sense of humor – check out the company’s YouTube channel to see some of the videos they have produced for their trade show events, including a recent spoof on the musical Annie.

Admission is free.  For more information, visit