WATERVILLE — Dirigo Labs has successfully secured its pitch competition prize for its inaugural cohort of 12 Maine-based startups. The accelerator program’s pitch competition, which will be held at Colby College on Tuesday, June 21 from 5-8 p.m., will evaluate each company’s pitch delivery, capital strategy, and impact on entrepreneurship in Maine. Dirigo Labs’ inaugural cohort, which began on March 23 and is housed in the Hathaway Creative Center in Waterville, caters to startups in a range of industries, including aquaculture, software, healthcare, and aerospace.

“Skowhegan Savings has a long history of supporting local business startups, recognizing that innovation and entrepreneurship are the cornerstones of our economy,” said Steve Thomas, SVP senior commercial lender at Skowhegan Savings Bank. ”The Dirigo Accelerator program is fostering this group of entrepreneurs, by providing the tools and mentorship, to be successful. Our charitable foundation couldn’t be more pleased to award the winner with a $25,000 cash prize to help them achieve that next level of growth necessary for their business to thrive.”

The 12-week program guides startups through a targeted curriculum to execute their project plans, and each cohort company is able to work with a curated board of local and national advisors from a range of industries. Seminar topics included how to utilize public-private sector grants and economic incentives, customer acquisition strategies, capital planning, and intellectual property evaluation.

“This inaugural cohort represents the very best of Maine’s startup landscape,” said Dirigo Labs’ Managing Director Susan Ruhlin. “These passionate founders are building a stronger innovation-based economy in our state, and we can’t wait to share their progress with the community. The generous support of Skowhegan Savings Bank is a perfect example of their steadfast commitment to helping entrepreneurs turn vision into reality, and we are so grateful for the support.”

To learn more about Dirigo Labs’ pitch competition and how you can attend in person, please visit https://tinyurl.com/2p82dhzm. For startups and potential mentors interested in learning more about Dirigo Labs, please visit http://www.dirigolabs.org.