Press Release

Sarah Newcomb Wins First Big Gig Pitch-Off in Orono

Summary: First of four “Big Gigs” was a well-attended success yesterday in Orono, with attendees awarding the $100 pitch-off prize to Sarah Newcomb’s “Who’s Your Daddy?” phone app. Sarah also gets to compete at the Big Gig Finale in April for the $1,000 grand prize.

What: Big Gig Networking & Pitch-Off Events for Innovators & Entrepreneurs

When: Tuesday, October 22nd, 5:30-7:30 PM (first of four events; see Schedule)

Where: Verve – 2 Mill Street (corner of Mill & Main St.), Downtown Orono

Who: Big Gig is a partnership between the towns of Orono and Old Town, the University of Maine, and Husson University.

• Orono Economic Development Corporation

• Old Town Development LLC

• Foster Center for Student Innovation, University of Maine, Orono

• Richard E. Dyke Center for Family Business, Husson University


Sponsor: Blackstone Accelerates Growth – An exciting initiative to promote entrepreneurship and growth to create jobs in Maine. It seeks to shape and accelerate the path to starting, building, and growing successful companies in Maine and to create a culture of success that can support economic growth for years to come.


Sponsor: University Credit Union – Serving the students, employees and alumni of Maine’s University System, UCU is a unique financial solution whose mission is to actively advance the financial well-being of its members in every stage of their lives.

Big Gig

Goal: To create a network of innovators and entrepreneurs looking to make positive change and bring economic impact to our communities.

Why Attend: To network, meet other innovators and entrepreneurs – and the folks in our community here to help and support you. Enjoy good food and a cash bar. You also can participate either by pitching or voting for your favorite.

Attached: Photo of attendees at Verve prior to pitch-off (Networking2.jpg)


Details: Each of three selected pitchers delivered their 5-minute elevator pitch (no PowerPoint or handouts) and received constructive feedback from our panel of local Big Wigs. The audience voted with ballots to decide who the big winner of the night was.

Pitchers: The three pitchers selected for the October 22nd Big Gig were:

• Winner: Sarah Newcomb “Who’s Your Daddy?” phone app.

• Tobin Slaven “MustTryIt! Media” website.

• Jennifer Hooper “Spark!” community-vibrancy non-profit.

Attached: Photo of three pitch-off participants at event (3Pitchers.jpg)

Prizes: At each of the first three pitch-offs, the winner receives $100 that night plus a chance to compete at the Big Gig Finale for the $1,000 grand prize. All prizes donated by University Credit Union.

Big Wigs: The panelists will be different at each event. At this first Big Gig, the local Big Wigs were:

• Emily Cain – Coordinator of Advancement, UMaine Honors College

• Don McCann – Technical Manager, Environetix

• Charlsye Smith Diaz, PhD – Assistant Professor, Professional & Technical Communication, University of Maine

Attached: Photo of three local Big Wigs listening to pitch (3BigWigs.jpg)

Other: Array of fresh appetizers was prepared by Woodman’s Bar & Grill.

Cash bar featured Orono’s Own Black Bear Microbrew.

Cost: Free

Schedule: 5:30 pm, Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013 – Verve in Downtown Orono

5:30 pm, Tuesday, December 10th, 2013 – Kosta’s in Downtown Old Town

5:30 pm, Tuesday, February 11th, 2014 – Dyke Center for Family Business

Finale – 5:30 pm, Tuesday, April 8th, 2014 – Foster Center for Student Innovation

Apply to

Pitch: Any entrepreneurial or innovative person interested in pitching their idea at the December 10th Big Gig in Old Town must apply online by 5:00 pm Monday, November 25th. Pitch coaches will meet with all of the potential pitchers at 5:00 pm on Tuesday, December 3rd, at Eastern Maine Development Corporation and offer free pitch coaching to prepare them for the big day. The pitch coaches will determine which three applicants will pitch at the Old Town event.

More Info: Big Gig website, Facebook, Twitter