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The Big Gig

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ORONO - The upcoming Big Gig event is an opportunity for networking aimed at entrepreneurs, innovators and funders. The event also includes a pitch-off where three people who have been selected at a previous event will make elevator pitches: these have to be under five minutes and can't include any kind of hand out or power point. They will then receive feedback from a panel, and the audience and panel will vote on the winner, who will receive a cash prize. It is like a more laid back, low stakes and constructive version of the show 'Shark Tank.' The winner will also go on to compete in the Big Gig Finale for a $1,500 grand prize. But the experience will still be very beneficial to those who don't win. The feedback they receive on their pitch might mean that they'll be better prepared for the next opportunity.

'To me Big Gig is really about building that community, helping people meet each other and get encouragement to be innovative and to feel that staying in this community is something that could be really good for them. We are trying to encourage people, especially young people, to stay here and do their thing,' says Paul Riechmann of the Orono Economic Development Corporation, one of the partners for the event. 'We had a couple who won one of the competitions and they were just graduating from UMaine. They had choices; they were from away and they could have gone back, but they have bought a house in the area and do their business here. That's the kind of story we want to hear more of.'

The pitch-off is just one of the reasons to attend. In fact, for the first year of its run the pitch-off wasn't even involved. One great reason to go is to get a chance to meet with the panelists, who are referred to as Big Wigs. The next event, on Oct. 21 at 5:30 at the University Credit Union in Orono, will feature three Big Wigs. Heather Cressey Furth, the owner of the restaurant Verve in Orono and Bangor, is the first. The second is Ken Sweeney, president and chief engineer of Advance Infrastructure Technologies in Orono. Rounding out the panel is Jesse Moriarity, the VP of Resource Development and Communications at United Way of Eastern Maine.

This year also marks the first of the Big Rigs. Big Rigs are keynote speakers who will speak on how they have successfully pitched a product. The next event will feature Dr. Todd O'Brien. He has 25 years of experience as a surgeon/inventor and has used that knowledge to create medical products marketed across North America and Europe. He will be giving an example of a concise pitch as well as an explanation of how he developed it.

The Big Gig is a free event that is open to anyone. There will be fresh appetizers and a cash bar. After the event in October, there are events scheduled for December, February and April. For a complete schedule and more information you can visit their website You can also find them on Facebook and Twitter.

Last modified on Wednesday, 14 October 2015 00:16


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