Monday, October 19, 2009

Juice Conference Offers $30,000 to Maine Start-Ups

The organizers of Juice 2.0 are making a call for business plans after an anonymous donor has provided $30,000 to the conference. This anonymous donor asks that these funds be invested on behalf of Midcoast Magnet into innovative Maine businesses.

“One of the most exciting elements of the conference is the pitch session,” says Skip Bates, Board President of conference producer Midcoast Magnet and Vice President of Business Banking at conference sponsor Bangor Savings. “We are looking to introduce start-ups and businesses that are expanding to potential investors and banks. Not only will the conference be a great opportunity to network, we now actually have some money to put to work.”

Collaborating on the pitch session will be Jayme Okma Lee and John Burns of the Small Enterprise Growth Fund, who will organize the pitch session. SEGF has significant expertise in advising and investing in high growth companies. A $9 million ‘evergreen fund’, SEGF is a professionally managed venture capital fund that invests exclusively in Maine companies that demonstrate a potential for high growth and public benefit.

“Investing in Maine companies is essential to the growth of our economy,” says John Burns, SEGF Fund Manager. “For every dollar that SEGF invests, another $9 is invested alongside by individuals and other venture funds. We’ve helped to catalyze over $90 million in investments, creating jobs at an annual rate of 5% in our portfolio companies, compared to just 1% for the state’s economy overall.”

“Successful entrepreneurship is rooted in collaboration, the free flow of information, and the availability of capital,” says Bates, “Our goal is to develop relationships between creative entrepreneurs and investors.”

Interested entrepreneurs should register for the conference and contact Skip Bates for more information. Business plans must be received by November 1st. Participants in the pitch session will have an opportunity to explain their business plan in a confidential setting. Reviewers will include Susan Snowden, Bangor Savings Bank; John Burns, SEGF; Mark Kaplan, CEI Ventures; and Michael Gurau, Clear Venture Partners. The top rated entrepreneurs will then receive an opportunity to pitch their ideas to an expanded audience of investment professionals. $25,000 investment will be invested in the winning business and two runners up will receive $2,500 each.


SMA said...

I was pleased to see that finally there is a grant targeted at the private economy and so I prepared an introduction for my grant application prior to receiving information about the requirements for applying for the grant, which are registering and paying for the conference and then giving an oral presentation before a panel in an American Idol type format.

Grants are very speculative and I had been thinking that we could apply for this grant with a minimal investment of time. We are not able to attend the conference and so I though that the grant application would be away to let the attendees know about us even though we cannot attend. I have inquired if there is a venue for submitting information for those who cannot attend but I did not receive a response.
Since this grant application requires more of a time investment than we are prepared to give for something that is highly speculative, we will not be applying. However, since I had already invested in preparing the application, I have published that introduction on my blog Andersen Studio Days and Nights at

This is more than a grant application, I would also like to publicize that Andersen Studio is looking for collaborators.

SMA said...

Since there are likely grants available for green energy entrepreneurs, and since businesses such as our own face the possibility that if the Cap and Tax Bill passes that it will become too expensive to continue to produce our line in America- which has been our committment since 1952, when our company was established with the philosophy of creating a hand made product affordable for the middle classes - I am wondering if there is a way for the recipient of green energy "stimulus" grants to develop energy saving windmill technology at a drastically reduced cost for busnesses threatened by what is reported to be a 40% hike in the cost of energy - or in Obama's own words Cap N Tax will "necessarily skyrocket everybodies energy consumption"

We would also like to develop an plan for transforming our family business into a private economy business that we can leave to the benefit of future generations- and since such a plan would involve creating new production spaces, it could be designed as an energy efficient, environmentally controlled building. I do not know how any manufacturing can survive in the country if energy costs go up 40 percent unless they have access to an inexpensive form of energy such as windmill technology is reported to be.

Slip-cast production provides for meaningful and satisfying work. Our best employees have always come from the deeply rooted Maine community. Meaningful work is important to well being. It took years of difficult struggle to get our business off the ground through bootstrap capitalization. It would be a shame to see it lost forever.

But these days with Obama targeting those making over 250 thousand dollars for escalated extraction of funds to finance a rapidly increasing federally controlled government, even boot-strap capitalization is being threatened. Small businesses that file as s-corporations report business profits on a personal return. The profits reported on personal returns are used for both personal expenditures and re-invested into the business as "boot-strap capitalization". The more the government extracts to fill its own pockets, the less there is available for the bootstrap capitalization of the small business economy

The upside – maybe this is a good time for investing in slow growth businesses, that might see a escalation in profitability in the future, when we may have a more private economy friendly administration.

SMA said...

Glad to see that the pitch is in a confidential setting but the $175.00-225.00 registration fee for the conference will surely deter many in this difficult economy. Not only from applying for the grant but also from attending the conference.

There is however another economic networking conference organized by the New England Local Business Forum. That event takes place on October 10 in Portland and is called New England Made. The registration is affordably priced at $25.00. You can register at