Based on online votes from the community, Chelsea Fournier has been selected as the winner of the “Launch L/A!” young entrepreneur contest. She will receive nearly $100,000 in cash and in-kind services for her business venture, Lifestyles Massage.
Fournier plans to open and operate Lifestyles Massage, a massage therapy center focused on the sustainability of health, the local economy and the environment. Lifestyles Massage will provide clients with consistent and excellent care while minimizing common barriers increasing accessibility, quality and comfort.
Born and raised in Lewiston, Fournier was an active member of many community outreach groups and art organizations as a dancer and teaching assistant. After graduating from Lewiston High School, Fournier attended college in Massachusetts. She returned to Maine to receive her juris doctorate at the University of Maine Law School with the desire to use her skills to foster Maine’s small business economy.
Fournier is on the Advisory Council of the Bates Dance Festival and is a graduate of the Androscoggin Leadership Development Institute. With strong ties to the area, Fournier and her fiancé are eager to start a business and a family in Lewiston-Auburn.
“Launch L-A!” runner-up Donald Havener is a graduate of Leavitt Area High School in Turner and Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts. As a senior at WPI, Havener developed the “Havener Hot Plate,” a product designed to increase the safety of a traditional ski/binding system and limit the high number of catastrophic knee injuries to skiers. He is now developing other technologies that will greatly increase the safety of sports helmets and other types of sports safety equipment.
“Launch L-A!” is the result of a partnership between the Lewiston-Auburn Economic Growth Council and the Androscoggin County Chamber of Commerce, designed to welcome young, creative entrepreneurs—particularly youth who have roots in Lewiston/Auburn, but who have moved away.
A number of local companies stepped forward to contribute nearly $100,000 in cash and in-kind services to the most promising start-up company willing to come back home and set up business.
Three local Maine banks, Bangor Savings Bank, Northeast Bank and Auburn Savings Bank, have committed $11,500 in cash as part of the prize package. In addition, dozens of local businesses donated in-kind services:
Rinck Advertising: Branding, creative and public relations package, $15,000.
Curry Printing: Printing package, $1,200.
Next Level Business Coaching: Business consulting, $3,600.
LAEGC: Start-up office space, conference room space and receptionist, $4,000.
Robustelli, Soucy & Hussey, PA: Accounting services, $10,000.
Brann & Isaacson: Legal fees for a year, $2,500.
Core Zero Creative: Search Engine Optimization, web/social media marketing strategy, $1,500.
Oxford Networks: Internet/Phone lines, $1,900.
WGME-13: Advertising package, including cost of production, $2,000.
Leighton Images: Video production, $4,500.
Mainely Portrait Photography: Photo session, $500.
Strategic Talent Management: Personality aptitude testing, $2,500.
Chamber of Commerce: Membership, advertising, and support package, $500.
RE-Group! Business Solutions: Risk mitigation and business infrastructure, $1,000.
Sun Journal: One year’s worth of advertising and consulting, $5,000.
Marriott Residence Inn: One-week stay, $1,000.
Gleason Media: Radio Advertising, $1,000.
People’s United Bank.
Along with the top prize, three sponsors surprised runner-up Donald Havener with a consolation package. Candace Sanborn, owner of Encompass Marketing and Design, pledged a logo design and three-hour business consult, a package totaling $3,500.
Mayor Dick Gleason, owner of Gleason Media, offered $1,000 in radio advertising. Haverner will also receive a one-year membership to the Androscoggin Chamber of Commerce.
For more information on “Launch LA!”, go to www.launchlamaine.com.