Mainebiz reports UMaine Business Challenge announces pitch contest winners

Mainebiz reported the UMaine Business Challenge at the University of Maine announced the winners of its eighth annual pitch contest presented by Business Lending Solutions, which awarded $16,000 in cash and prizes to collegiate entrepreneurs. Maxwell Burtis, a UMaine mechanical engineering student, won both the first-place prize of $5,000 and the $10,000 Innovations Prize with his company Ferda Farms LLC, an aquaculture company using innovation to farm oysters in Maine, the article states. Sponsored by UMaine alumnus Bruce Fournier and the Fournier Family Foundation, the innovation prize is designed for companies presenting a new innovation or technology as part of their business model. Burtis is working on a patent-pending technology that will reinvent the traditional hopper used during the oyster harvesting process, Mainebiz reported. “These prizes are huge for the expansion of our oyster farm and continued innovation along Maine’s coast,” said Burtis. “The competition is giving Ferda Farms the opportunity we have long dreamed of: to buy more cages, quahog seed and solar panels, allowing us to continue to improve Maine’s waters, and revitalize Maine’s changing fisheries with aquaculture.” Other members of his team include Chris Burtis, Sam Dorval and Max Friedman, as well as advisers from the UMaine Foster Center for Student Innovation, UMaine School of Marine Sciences, Maine Sea Grant and Mere Point Oyster Co. The Fish Site also reported on Burtis’ winning pitch.