LEWISTON — Top Gun LA on Monday announced seven participants in its new entrepreneurial class of 2018, several at work on software, two making skin care and one looking to help other developments grow.

A program out of the Maine Center for Entrepreneurs, Top Gun pairs companies with mentors and teachers over several months, refining business ideas, and leads up to a statewide pitch-off with money and prizes at stake.

Statewide, 35 companies are participating at four sites. Though Top Gun is nine years old, this is only its second year in Lewiston-Auburn. 

Scott Benson, director of economic and business development for the Lewiston-Auburn Economic Growth Council, is acting as program coordinator for the Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, which this year is taking over Top Gun LA. 

He said the class represents a good mix of businesses, but is light on young companies from this area, only two of the seven.

“I think one of the things I’m going to be working on is to reach more people in Lewiston-Auburn,” Benson said. “It’s still so new, maybe it’s not fully understood yet.”

Benson’s quick rundown of the 2018 class:

• Kshanti Greene, West Gardiner, Wily Desert Labs: An early-stage company looking to develop strategic planning software.

• Michele Gilfoil, Westbrook, Planet Botanicals: The company makes natural skin care products, some from Maine seaweed, and is looking to reach new markets.

• Denise Dumont-Bernier, Leeds, Occupational Medical Consulting (OMC Wellness Works Division): An established company with 20 employees that provides medical and wellness services looking to chart its future.

• Hannah Weddle, Brunswick, BackLot Software Company: An early-stage company looking to develop cloud-based software specific to the film and entertainment industry.

• Kevin Morin, Lewiston, PoMo & Co.: After renovating 46 Lisbon St. in Lewiston with his wife, Dianna Pozdniakov, a class of 2017 Top Gun LA participant, Morin is looking to create a small-scale development company.

• Christopher G. Poirier, Waterville, Maine Energy Pros Inc.: A 10-year-old construction and weatherization company looking to scale up.

• Ashley Lenz, Harpswell, Ocean Lotion d/b/a Healing Harbors: The company develops and sells topicals and gels infused with CBD, or cannabidiol, oil derived from hemp without the properties that create a high. It’s also looking to scale up.

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