Maine Contest Offers $100,000 in Prizes to Lure Young, Talented Entrepreneurs Back Home

Lewiston, ME (PRWEB) September 11, 2010

Many communities lament the exodus of youth, jobs and entrepreneurial talent. One Maine community is doing something about it. Two local business organizations, the Lewiston-Auburn Economic Growth Council (LAEGC) and the Androscoggin County Chamber of Commerce have teamed up to send a message loud and clear: the cities of Lewiston and Auburn, Maine welcome young, creative entrepreneurs – particularly youth who have roots in the community but who have moved away. To back up that sentiment, a number of local companies have stepped forward to contribute what is expected to be over $ 100,000 in cash and in-kind services to the most promising start-up company willing to come back home and set up business.

The LAEGC and the Chamber of Commerce have launched an entrepreneurial contest that has an ambitious goal of connecting with youth who have roots in the local community, and encouraging them to consider starting a business in Lewiston-Auburn, Maine. The program, called Launch L-A!, features a contest inviting young entrepreneurs to submit a proposal to start a business in L-A. Entries will be screened by a committee of business and banking professionals who will judge the ideas on a number of criteria including creativity, viability, and community need. Adding a page from the “American Idol” script, finalists will be voted upon electronically by community members of Lewiston and Auburn in January 2011.

The winning entrepreneur will receive an equity infusion of $ 10,000 – $ 20,000 seed money, along with a number of in-kind services for a year, including business consulting, accounting services, legal fees, advertising agency services, rent, and more — all provided by Chamber members. Runners-up may also receive in-kind services.

Three local Maine banks, Bangor Savings Bank, Northeast Bank and Auburn Savings Bank have already committed $ 11,500 to seeding the prize package. In addition, dozens of local businesses are offering in-kind services including:

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