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FOOD & BEVERAGES | Dairy products

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Incubator/Accelerator | Alive

About Sticky Sweet

Sticky Sweet is a plant-based creamery and sticky rice shop.

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United States

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Biotech, ice cream companies win Top Gun pitch event

May 24, 2019

Biotech, ice cream companies win Top Gun pitch event by Neuright and Sticky Sweet each won $25,000 at the 2019 Top Gun Showcase event. Top pic: Magdalena Blaszkiewicz, CEO of Neuright, with Tom Rainey (left), director of the Maine Center for Entrepreneurs, and David Shaw (right), founder of Idexx. Bottom pic: Kelley Dow, co-founder of Sticky Sweet, with Rainey and Brian Whitney, president of the Maine Technology Institute. (photos/Claudia Dricot) A biotech company and an ice cream company each walked away from Thursday night’s Top Gun Showcase pitch event with a $25,000 check. The two winners were Neuright and Sticky Sweet. They were amongst 10 finalists who pitched at the Showcase event, held at the University of Southern Maine in Portland. Neuright is a biotech company out of the University of Maine that is developing a medical device to more sensitively diagnose neuropathy in its earlier stages. It was founded by Magdalena Blaszkiewicz, a UMaine doctoral candidate who serves as CEO, and Kristy Townsend, an assistant professor of neurobiology. The company doesn’t have a website yet and Blaszkiewicz wasn’t available for comment, but this write up in UMaine Research has more about the company and its product . Sticky Sweet bills itself as Portland’s first plant-based ice cream shop. The business, founded by sisters Kelley and Ashley Dow, makes its ice cream without dairy, eggs, gluten, cane sugar, refined sugars, or anything artificial. They currently sell their vegan ice cream wholesale, but plan to open a brick-and-mortar store on Cumberland Ave. on Portland’s East End in the coming weeks. Kelley Dow told Maine Startups Insider that the $25,000 prize will go towards improving the company’s production capacity, especially the purchase of a blast freezer that will drastically reduce the amount of time it takes to freeze the ice cream before it can be delivered to the company’s wholesale customers. The sisters began selling their ice cream during the summer of 2017. They have never advertised or been proactive about sales, but already through word of mouth they sell between 200 and 250 pints a week (the max that Ashley can produce on her own) to six stores, including the Portland Food Co-Op, Lois’ Natural Marketplaces in Portland and Scarborough, and Morning Glory Natural Foods in Brunswick. Both Neuright and Sticky Sweet are led by women, which continues a streak begun last year when Erica Schmitz, founder of MyBodyModel, became the first female entrepreneur to win the Top Gun competition. Top Gun is a three-month entrepreneurial training program developed by the Maine Center for Entrepreneurs (MCE). In addition to MyBodyModel, past winners are Rapport in 2015, Revolution Research in 2016, and Thrivant Health in 2017 . More than 40 entrepreneurs went through the program this year. The Showcase event featured two finalists from each of the regional cohorts: Portland, Bangor, Lewiston/Auburn, Waterville and Rockland). Two $25,000 cash prizes were up for grabs, one provided by the Maine Technology Institute and the other by the David Evans Shaw Family Foundation, the foundation of David Shaw, a serial entrepreneur and founder of Idexx and Covetrus. “The startup phase of any business can be difficult and lonely for entrepreneurs. MCE’s Top Gun Showcase literally puts the state’s most promising new entrepreneurs in the spotlight where they can tell their story and shine,” Tom Rainey, director of MCE, told Maine Startups Insider. “We’re proud of all of our client companies and congratulate Neuright and Sticky Sweet for winning the 2019 pitch competition.” Share this:

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