Buoy Maine pitch competition announces winners

Buoy Maine, a pitch competition launched by Maine Sea Grant to foster innovation and entrepreneurship that supports the state’s working waterfront and coastal communities, will fund 10 innovative projects and ideas that help better address the challenges of operating a business during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Funding for the awards comes from the NOAA-National Sea Grant College Program as part of a 2020 COVID Rapid Response effort, Maine Technology Institute, Maine Aquaculture Innovation Center, Maine Community Foundation, and Bangor Savings Bank.

“We are particularly thrilled about the 10 funded projects,” said Brian Whitney, president of Maine Technology Institute. “The investments will undoubtedly help bolster and support entrepreneurs in Maine’s coastal and working waterfront communities during these most challenging times.”

A panel of independent judges selected the winning projects: 

  • Exploring Rope-Grown Kelp as a Fertilizer Input, led by Casey Ballin of Atlantic Sea Farms 
  • Value-Added Skincare Active Ingredient from Lobster Processors, led by Patrick Breeding of Marin Skincare
  • #EatMaineSeafood Campaign, led by Monique Coombs from the Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association
  • Lady Shuckers, led by Libby Davis of Lady Shuckers
  • Can it, Maine! Adding Value and Resilience to Maine’s Shellfish Seafood Sector, led by Meggan Dwyer from the University of Maine Aquaculture Research Institute
  • Maine Oyster Trail, led by Afton Hupper from the Maine Aquaculture Association
  • Promoting Small/Family Oyster Farms Through Shared Marketing of Growing-Regions, led by Jordan Kramer, Winnegance Oyster Farm
  • Maine Seafood Discovery Tours, led by Greg Latimer of Red Cloak Tours
  • Marketing Downeast Gold Mussels, a Unique Maine Brand, led by Kyle Pepperman from the Downeast Institute
  • Damariscotta River Oysters: Maine Fresh Brand Development, led by Meredith White of Mook Sea Farm 

For descriptions of the projects and a complete list of the judges and partners, visit the Maine Sea Grant website.

Buoy Maine winners will work on their projects over the winter, and share their accomplishments and lessons learned at a public celebration in summer 2021.

“Maine Sea Grant is so happy to direct COVID Rapid Response funds from NOAA into Maine,” said Maine Sea Grant Director Gayle Zydlewski. “When the National Sea Grant Office announced this initiative, we worked closely with our partners to design and create a way to directly support the pressing needs of coastal communities while lifting all boats. 

“We are excited to support Buoy Maine winners and look forward to seeing these projects develop over the next six months to realize products and processes that support and bolster our coastal communities and businesses as we redefine normal operations,” Zydlewski said.

Contact: Hannah Robbins, 207.581.1442, hannah.robbins@maine.edu