Buoy Maine Details

Buoy Maine Logo largeHow to Participate (For invited applicants only)

  1. Pitch at the Buoy Maine Pitch Competition, which will take place October 26th and 27th, 4:00-6:00pm. Applicants that advance to this round of the competition will share their idea in a 5-minute pitch. A judges panel will evaluate pitches, and awardees will receive up to $15,000 to further develop their innovation over the next 6 months. Pitches that receive awards will be made public after the Pitch event.
  2. Share at the Buoy Maine Finale. Selected awardees share the product or project at a virtual public celebration, including lessons learned, successes, challenges, and how their ideas may support others. Note that this will also be a networking event with investors, in the hope that we increase the opportunities for good ideas.

Eligibility: Any business or non-profit connected to the Maine coast or the heritage of its fishing communities are eligible to apply.

Guidelines for Innovators

This competition encourages creative ideas that will broadly benefit Maine’s marine and coastal communities.(details1)

Tips for developing your pitch

  • Focus less on your individual business or non-profit and more on the benefits to Maine’s waterfront communities or advance the Maine Brand overall.
  • Be clear about how your plan is especially timely given COVID-19. How will it help you or others overcome the new challenges brought on by the pandemic?
  • Be creative and celebrate the Maine coast by developing products that include, but are not limited to: videos, websites and on-line platforms, apps, radio shows, advertisements, public service announcements, podcasts, webinar series, training guides/modules/toolkits on how to pivot, build your brand, online/direct sales, etc.
  • Replicable products/projects with cross-sector benefits are preferred.
  • Cross-sector partnerships are encouraged.
  • Projects that lead to increased revenue, especially those transferable across sectors are welcome.

Additional Resources

Judges for the Pitch Competition

  • Martha Bentley – Director, of Economic Development Coordination, Maine Dept. of Economic and Community Development
  • John Burns – Managing Director, Maine Venture Fund
  • Tony Cameron – Chief Executive Officer, Maine Tourism Association
  • Crystal Hitchings – Program Coordinator, Sunrise County Economic Council & DownEast Acadia Regional Tourism
  • Emily Lane – International Sales Manager, Luke’s Lobster

Evaluation criteria

A panel of judges will evaluate pitch ideas based on the following scoring criteria. (details2)

  • Economic Development: The product highlights and/or supports coastal businesses affiliated with Maine’s working waterfront, seafood, and/or tourism industries. It is clearly stated how the product is intended to support local coastal economies and/or communities.
  • Innovation: The product is innovative and presents a truly novel approach to a traditional business model. The process by which it will be developed and executed is clearly defined, and both the risks and rewards of the product are addressed.
  • Support for the Maine Brand: The product successfully incorporates the Maine Brand and/or Maine Experience into its development or implementation.
  • Resilience: The product will enhance resilience and preparedness in coastal businesses and/or communities in Maine. The product is rooted in creating depth to facilitate adaptation to future challenges and changes.
  • Transferability: The product is transferable across businesses and/or sectors affiliated with Maine’s working waterfront, seafood, and/or tourism industries. The product’s ability to be replicated is highlighted and communicated effectively.
  • Partnership Development: The product involves cross-sector partnerships in its development and/or implementation. Partners are clearly defined and collaboration across communities, businesses, or economic sectors is included as part of the product’s success.
  • Applicant Expertise: The team includes representation from a business or organization affiliated with Maine’s working waterfront, seafood, and/or tourism sectors. Project personnel have the experience or expertise required to complete the development of the proposed product within 6 months of receiving funding.
  • Presentation and Clarity of Ideas: The written (initial application form) and verbal (pitch) presentation of the proposed project goals, activities and outcomes are clearly presented, and the described potential for the project activities to achieve the expected outcomes is compelling.


Email Natalie Springuel or Beth Bisson

Please note that email is the most reliable way to reach us at the moment, as we are mostly still working remotely due to COVID-19, but should contacting us by phone be more convenient for you, we will check messages regularly at (207) 288-2944 ext 5834, and call you back ASAP.

Awardee Requirements

If awarded, each awardee will be instructed to go to the University’s Purchasing System online form to complete an order for the University to complete a check. This will include submission of a W-9 for their business. Then a brief standard contract form will be forwarded for signature, address, and other contact information. Upon completion a check will be sent to the awardee at the legal business name and address provided on the W9 – please allow 1-2 weeks following return of the signed contract. University of Maine prints checks twice a week which are mailed from the System Office. We don’t anticipate delays, however University staff are still adjusting to the return to our offices due to COVID 19.



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Coastal Enterprises, Inc.
DownEast Acadia Regional Tourism
Island Institute
Maine Aquaculture Association
Maine Department of Economic & Community Development
Maine Department of Marine Resources
Maine Office of Tourism
Slow Money Maine
Sunrise County Economic Council
UMaine Office of Innovation and Economic Development

1The Sea Grant Act at 33 USC 1124(d)(2) states:
 “No payment under any grant or contract under this section may be applied to: (A) the purchase or rental of any land; or
(B) the purchase, rental, construction, preservation, or repair of any building, dock, or vessel; except that payment under any such grant or contract may be applied to the short term
rental of buildings or facilities for meetings which are in direct support of any Sea
Grant Program or project.”

2The University of Maine is an equal opportunity/affirmative action institution. The pitch review process will adhere to best practices identified by the National Sea Grant Program for promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion.