Good To-Go, a Kittery-based small business that produces gourmet dehydrated meals for outdoor enthusiasts, won $50,000 Tuesday night by presenting the most appetizing business pitch to a panel of judges in the fifth annual LaunchPad competition.

Sponsored by Gorham Savings Bank, LaunchPad is designed to help fund the growth of one promising, early-stage Maine business each year. Five companies were chosen from a pool of nearly 140 applicants from across Maine to compete in Tuesday’s final round, a live business-pitch competition before three judges at the University of Southern Maine’s Hannaford Hall in Portland.

The four other finalists were Jellux of Saco, which produces LED dock lighting that can be controlled from a mobile device; North Spore of Westbrook, which produces gourmet mushrooms and mushroom spawn; STARC Systems of Brunswick, which makes modular, reusable containment walls for construction work in occupied buildings; and UniteGPS of Portland, which develops mobile software tools for tracking school bus passengers and drivers.

In front of an audience of more than 200, the independent panel of judges listened to the five seven-minute pitches, asked follow-up questions and provided feedback to each competitor. This year’s judges were WEX Inc. President and CEO Melissa Smith, Winxnet Inc. CEO and co-founder Chris Claudio, and Pro-voke LLC founder and CEO Steve Campbell.

The panel based its ultimate decision on presentation skills, the strengths and weaknesses of each business, and the potential economic benefit of each to Maine. They also wanted to know what each contestant would do with the $50,000 grant from Gorham Savings if they won.

The judges agreed that returning finalist Good To-Go gave a clear and concise presentation that explained where the company is in the market, how it has grown recently, its goals for the future and what it needs to achieve them.

The company, represented by co-founders Jennifer Scism and David Koorits, got a second crack at the $50,000 prize after losing to aquaponic produce grower and tilapia fishery Fluid Farms at LaunchPad 2016.

Scism and Koorits said they learned a lot from their previous experience in the contest, which helped them hone their pitch for this year.

“I was terrified last year,” Scism said.

The couple explained to the judges that Good To-Go could double its capacity with the $50,000 prize by purchasing a second dehydrator, allowing it to add to its current staff of 18 workers.

“It’s just that simple,” Koorits said.

For the first time this year, the event also featured three middle-school classes competing for bragging rights in the LaunchPad Junior competition. All three classes also received $1,000 for their participation. The classes were from Gorham Middle School, Lincoln Middle School in Portland and Mahoney Middle School in South Portland.

Teacher Jeffrey Mazoka’s class at Mahoney won the audience-determined first prize trophy for its pitch to create an after-school facility that teaches kids how to cook healthy meals.

J. Craig Anderson can be contacted at 791-6390 or at:

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Twitter: jcraiganderson