PORTLAND – Five of the Portland area’s young entrepreneurial “rock stars” walked away with new electric guitars at the fourth annual Enterverge awards ceremony Wednesday.

About 500 young professionals celebrated the winning businesses, which produce products ranging from organic lingerie to lobster rolls, for their hard work, enthusiasm and contributions toward building the local business community.

The event, produced by PROPEL, a networking organization for young professionals, was held at Grace restaurant in Portland. PROPEL, which has 800 members, is affiliated with the Portland Regional Chamber.

“This awards event is recognition of small, local entrepreneurs to tell them ‘You’re doing a good job. Keep doing it,’” said Nate Huckel-Bauer, a PROPEL board member and lawyer with Drummond & Drummond.

The owners of Bite Into Maine, who run a Cape Elizabeth food truck known for its lobster rolls, were overwhelmed by the applause that reverberated through the restaurant.

“We’re very shocked,” said Sarah Sutton, who owns Bite Into Maine with her husband, Karl. “Starting our own business has been the hardest, craziest, best thing we’ve ever done.”

In addition to the guitar, the awards package includes services such as a free membership in the Portland Regional Chamber, a personal beauty makeover and legal and consulting advice.

“The awards package is designed to help them answer some questions and solve some problems,” Huckel-Bauer said. “If we can help these folks go to the next level, then we’re helping small business, and that’s the engine of the economy, especially in Maine.”

The winners, chosen from 100 young business owners, have to exhibit a growth plan and a long-term commitment to the people and prosperity of Maine.

Past winners said the professional connections they made through the awards helped them grow their businesses.

“Beyond the fun night and the celebration and services you get, it’s really the connections you make,” said Jeremy Litchfield, founder of past winner Atayne LLC, which makes outdoor and athletic apparel from recycled materials. “The connections we made and the support we got in that first year were really crucial. We had just relocated to Maine, and in Maine, there’s two degrees of separation. So if you meet someone, you make immediate connections to others.”

In addition to Bite Into Maine, the winners included:

• Rogue Wallet Co., which makes slim wallets that are curved to fit the front pocket of a man’s pants. Rogue Wallet is headquartered in Standish.

• Brook There, an organic lingerie shop in Portland.

• Might + Main, a marketing firm in Portland.

• Flea For All, a Portland flea market that hawks everything from vintage clothing to art and handmade jewelry. 

Staff Writer Jessica Hall can be contacted at 791-6316 or at:

[email protected]