Collegiate Challenge Season 5

Airing on Newscenter Maine, Sundays at 10 am

Series Sponsor: Maine DECD


Season 5 Judges

Martha Bentley

Small Business Entrepreneurship Development
Maine DECD

Skip Bates

Director of Main Street Banking
Bangor Savings Bank

Lynne Darling Melochick

Director of Community Relations
Darling’s Auto Group

Episode One - Aired January 19

TrustedRentr vs. Nook Storage

Company: TrustedRentr
Contestants: Steve Doman/John Peters (Co-Founders)
School: University of Maine

Company: Nook Storage
Contestants: George DeLana/Rachael Rosow (Co-Founders)
School: Bates College


Featuring Sunday Morning Conversation guest Jim Dinkle, Executive Director at First Park.

Episode Two - Aired January 26

Green Bait vs. Tree Free Heat

Company: Green Bait
Contestants: Jillian Robillard (Owner/Operator)
School: UNE

Company: TreeFreeHeat
Contestants: Dylan Veilleux (Founder)
School: Thomas

Featuring Sunday Morning Conversation guest United States Senator Angus S. King, Jr.

Episode Three - Aired February 2

Ferda Farms vs. Grow Your Own Way

Company: Ferda Farms
Contestants: Max Burtis (Founder/CEO) & Sam Dorval (Co-Owner/CMO)
School: University of Maine

Company: Grow Your Own Way
Contestants: Rebecca Barulli (Founder/CEO)
School: St. Joseph’s College of Maine

Featuring Sunday Morning Conversation guest Heather Johnson, Comissioner, Maine DECD.

Episode Four - Aired February 9

GEIONS Retail vs. Sklaza

Company: GEIONS Retail
Contestants: Derek Foy (President)
School: Husson

Company: Sklaza, LLC
Contestants: Joshua Kim (Founder/CEO)
School: Colby

Featuring Sunday Morning Conversation guest Martha Bentley, Small Business Entrepreneurship Development, Maine DECD.

Episode Five - Aired February 16

Bridal Vision vs. WEART

Bridal Visions

Company: Bridal Vision
Contestants: Hannah Marr (Founder)
School: Husson

Company: Weart
Contestants: Torsten Brinkema (Owner)
School: Colby

Featuring Sunday Morning Conversation guest Angela Okafor, Attorney/Entrepreneur, Okafor Law.

Episode Six - Aired February 23

Gait Project X (GPX) vs. Family Time Memory Software

Company: Gait Project X
Contestants: Keith Reilly (Product Manager) & Raja Muthyam (Co-Product Owner)
School: UNE

Company: Family Time Memory Software
Contestants: Xander Karris (CEO/Co-Founder) & Willem Hilliard (CTO and Co-Founder)
School: University of Maine

Featuring Sunday Morning Conversation guest Katey Shorey, Director of Engagement/President, Live+Work in Maine/ Startup Maine.

Episode Seven - Aired March 1

Easy Eats vs. Find My College Roommate

Company: Easy Eats
Contestants: Katharine Dougherty/Christian Krohg (Co-Founders)
School: Colby

Company: Find My College Roommate
Contestants: Evan Horenstein (Founder)
School: University of Maine

Featuring Sunday Morning Conversation guest Alyne Cistone, Founder, Global Tides Consulting.

Episode Eight - Aired March 8

Easy Unlocker vs. Let’s Go Bagz

Company: Let’s Go Bagz
Contestants: Suzie Milkowich (CEO/Chief Energy Officer)
School: University of Maine

Company: Easy Unlocker
Contestants: Steven Ferrarese (CEO)
School: University of Maine

Featuring Sunday Morning Conversation guest Cary Weston, President, Sutherland Weston.

Targeting as many Maine colleges as wish to participate, Season 6 will highlight the best full or part-time college students, who have a business idea in any stage of development; from a simple idea to a well-constructed business plan. The 13 semi-finalists square off in a non-televised pitch-off to determine the 3 best collegiate entrepreneurs. Those 3 finalists will then pitch off against one another in the Greenlight Maine Collegiate Finale to compete for a cash prize.

In an effort to stop the endless flow of Maine college graduates out of the state, Greenlight Maine produced a pilot series in 2018 that included entries from Bates, Colby, Husson University, University of Maine Orono, University of Southern Maine and Central Maine Community College. This allowed Greenlight Maine to produce five shows which generated a great deal of excitement in the greater college community as well as the business and investment communities. The aim was to provide the students with a forum where they could demonstrate their business initiatives to an audience that was eager to find ways to encourage them to establish their businesses in Maine and to expose them to all of the opportunities and services available. And in addition to the media exposure, the winner was awarded a $25,000 cash prize.

The winner of that series, Kinotek, experienced a tremendous surge in interest in the company from its win, and is now finding strong investment interest both domestically and internationally.

In 2019, the Greenlight Maine College Edition grew to eight episodes with the addition of contestants from St Joseph’s College, University of New England and Thomas College. 

It is anticipated that the 2020 series will reach Bates, Bowdoin, Colby, College of the Atlantic, Husson University, Maine College of Art, Maine Maritime Academy, Maine Community College System, The Maine University System, Thomas College, Unity College, St. Joseph’s College and the University of New England. This will allow expansion of the series to a full season of 13 episodes. 

In future years, the hope is to grow the prize purse to include 2nd and 3rd place cash prizes for the college contestants.

The feedback from students, college administrators and businesspeople has been overwhelmingly positive as this series is proving to be a win-win for all parties involved and a tangible solution to Maine’s brain drain.

Establishing the Entrepreneurs who Will Pitch

Each school identifies the best student submissions based on the criteria proposed below. Those 30 (or more) entrepreneurs pitch off against a panel of independent judges. Those judges have no affiliation with any Maine college, neither alum nor employment. For this round, each student will only be identified by a number (no names and no college affiliations). Each presenter will make a three-minute pitch followed by 10 minutes of Q & A from the panel of judges. Contestants must be enrolled in a Maine college for some part of the current school calendar year. Props and PowerPoint are allowed in this round. The judges use the following criteria on which to determine the final contestants for the Collegiate Challenge.

Criteria Used to Determine Finalists

Overall quality of business idea
Ability to keep business in Maine

Videotaping of the 5 Competitive Shows

The round of 5 competitive shows with the 10 semi-finalists are taped. We do our best to match up the “companies” against one another (without prejudice to schools).

These shows are the same format as the traditional Greenlight Maine TV shows and are judged on the same criteria as the earlier round.  In this round, competitors will have a maximum of three minutes. Limited props will be allowed at GLM’s discretion. Contestants are asked to provide a logo and/or a website that will be projected and used for marketing purposes. PowerPoint presentations are not allowed in this round. The three-minute pitch is followed by two minutes of on-camera Q & A. The Q & A is usually about one short question per judge followed by a relatively quick response. After the pitch is successfully captured and the Q & A is on tape, the contestants will have 10-15 minutes off-camera to answer more in-depth questions about their business idea. This will allow the judges to make a more informed decision about each “company.”

The Finale

The three finalists will square off against one another in the finale episode. Again, we will be using independent, non-biased judges who will evaluate the businesses based on the above criteria. The presenter will have three minutes or less to pitch and two minutes of Q & A from the judges. Once we have successfully captured their segment on tape, the presenter is given the opportunity to talk to the judges off camera about their idea, for a minimum of 15 minutes.