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Posted December 19, 2017

Greenlight Maine

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While WEX has reached the $1 billion in revenue milestone, an entrepreneurial spirit continues to drive our innovation and growth. So, it should come as no surprise that we love connecting with and supporting startups and entrepreneurs. We recently had an opportunity to do just that as a sponsor of Greenlight Maine, a televised program designed to promote and mentor the growth of businesses in Maine.

Currently in its third season, Greenlight Maine features representatives from two companies who pitch their new business venture to a panel of three guest judges. At stake is the chance to advance to the final round, where the winner receives a $100,000 grand prize to invest in their business.

“Part of corporate development at WEX includes strategy and innovation, so participating in Greenlight Maine is very close to what we do,” said WEX SVP and Chief Corporate Development Officer Nicola Morris, who joined a recent episode as a guest judge.

Presenting their business concepts to Morris and the other judges were Maine companies (Re)Produce and Tourmaline Spring. (Re)Produce is focused on decreasing food waste and increasing access to local food by purchasing, processing and distributing local produce that would otherwise go to waste because it is “imperfect” or unsold surplus. The business model, which can be replicated in other regions, could also provide an important new revenue stream for local farmers.

Tourmaline Spring taps into a 17,000-year-old Maine aquifer of naturally filtered water to produce an unprocessed premium bottled water. The company has been set up as a sustainable, renewable bottling facility with a commitment to harvest only the overflow of water from the spring. With an estimated yearly output of 35 million gallons, the company projects the ability to bottle $2 million of water per day when operating at peak capacity.

Following the presentations, Morris lauded (Re)Produce on the successful prototyping of their business concept and asked about preparedness for regulatory oversight and compliance challenges. For Tourmaline Spring, product pricing and the competitive landscape were key questions raised by Morris, along with a desire to better understand their supply chain.

“It was a tough decision to make – both businesses had distinctive concepts and business models,” says Morris. “(Re)Produce ultimately got the green light to advance to the next round, and I’m looking forward to hearing great things about both companies in the future.”

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