Business Lending Solutions signs exclusive naming sponsorship with UMaine Business Challenge

Statewide commercial lender commits $30,000 through 2018 to become naming sponsor of Maine’s largest collegiate business plan competition

HAMPDEN, ME (October 4, 2016) — UMaine Business Challenge (UBC) and Business Lending Solutions (BLS) today announced a three-year sponsorship agreement for the naming rights to UBC, Maine’s largest business plan competition for college students. BLS has committed to a sponsorship of $10,000 per year through 2018 that will enable UBC to focus on program development while continuing to offer attractive prizes for Maine’s promising entrepreneurs. With the agreement, the competition will be called “UMaine Business Challenge, presented by Business Lending Solutions.”

By securing the naming rights to UBC, Business Lending Solutions builds upon its core mission to provide commercial loan products to Maine businesses of all sizes, including start-ups and maturing enterprises. Now entering its sixth year, UBC is the premier collegiate business competition for students attending Maine colleges and universities. Students from schools across the state compete for more than $20,000 of cash and in-kind consulting to help start or grow their business.

“This agreement represents a turning point for the UMaine Business Challenge, allowing us to shift our focus from prize fundraising to developing high-quality programming that teaches students how to create and present a successful business plan,” said Nicholas LaJoie, the 2016-2017 UBC Planning Committee Chair. “We’re very excited to partner with Business Lending Solutions on this next phase of the UMaine Business Challenge.”

In addition to funding a First Place cash prize of $5,000, BLS will provide competitors with consulting support throughout the competition. BLS will also work closely with the UBC leadership to help expand the competition’s reach, encourage greater statewide participation, and ensure every collegiate entrepreneur has the opportunity to pitch their idea.

“BLS was created to put the needs of Maine businesses and entrepreneurs first, which is what made the partnership with the UMaine Business Challenge such a natural fit,” said Will Hatt, Chief Operating Officer of Business Lending Solutions. “We strongly believe in Maine’s entrepreneurial spirit and in Maine-based companies being key drivers of local, regional and increasingly global economic activity.”

Students interested in participating have until December 16, 2016 to enter the first phase of the UBC: the “Intent to Participate” stage. The remaining phases of the competition will take place throughout the academic year and conclude with the final “Pitch Day” event in April 2017. For more information on the UMaine Business Challenge, presented by Business Lending Solutions, please visit:


UMaine Business Challenge competitors pitch their best business ideas to the judges. (Photo courtesy of UMaine Business Challenge)

About Business Lending Solutions

With 12 credit union partners, Business Lending Solutions, LLC, was created in 2004 to provide Maine credit unions with commercial loan officers and business lending experience. Business Lending Solutions has helped hundreds of businesses from all over Maine with business loans of all types.

About UMaine Business Challenge

The UMaine Business Challenge (UBC) provides collegiate entrepreneurs with the support necessary to transform their business dreams into reality. The competition, open to all students attending a College or University within the State of Maine, provides opportunity for students to engage in competitive business planning and presenting, with a chance to win over $20,000 in cash and consulting prizes. The UBC’s mission is to contribute to the long-term growth of Maine’s economy while also supporting entrepreneurial and student development.


Kirk Duke
Business Lending Solutions

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