A specialty mushroom producer in Westbrook has won yet another business competition, this time taking home a $100,000 cash prize.

North Spore beat two other small businesses to win the third annual “pitch-off” competition on the reality TV series “Greenlight Maine” earlier this month. Based in the Dana Warp Mill, the company also sells mushroom-growing kits, mushroom spawn and other similar products.

“When we started North Spore, we could never have imagined winning something like Greenlight Maine,” said Eliah Thanhauser, the company’s co-founder and head of operations. “It is both an honor and a huge boost to our business. The $100,000 will go toward new equipment to make spawn production more efficient and to expand our physical plant to increase production capacity.”

The other competitors were toolmaker Zootility and tech startup Forager. They made their pitches to a panel of three judges – Danielle Conway, dean of the University of Maine School of Law; Kathie Leonard, president and CEO of Auburn Manufacturing; and Mike Herrin, the COO of Emera Maine. The judges favored North Spore by a margin of 2 to 1.

“Greenlight Maine” airs each Saturday night on WCSH-6 and WLBZ-2. The series is a production of Portland Media Group LLC in cooperation with the New England School of Communications.

In the three seasons the series has aired, over $4 million has been invested in companies that have appeared on the show, in addition to each season’s $100,000 cash prize.

Earlier this month, North Spore also won a $50,000 prize at Gorham Savings Bank’s 2018 LaunchPad competition. The company also planned to use that money for special equipment, and the judges in that contest said they were impressed by the company’s year-over-year growth.

 

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