David Shaw, co-founder of Idexx and Covetrus and one of Maine’s most recognizable businessmen, is providing a $25,000 prize to a local entrepreneur.

David Shaw

Shaw’s prize will be awarded to a winning entrepreneur of the Maine Center for Entrepreneurs’ annual Top Gun competition. The program, established in 2009, combines mentoring with educational sessions to help entrepreneurs launch and grow their startups. To date, more than 200 entrepreneurs have used the Top Gun program.

“Entrepreneurial businesses are the engine of our economy – driving growth, innovation, and opportunity locally and across the world,” said Shaw in a news release announcing the prize. “I am pleased to join MCE in supporting the next generation of great Maine-based companies.”

In addition to founding the two animal-science companies, Shaw also is managing partner of Black Point Group, and a founder, CEO and chair of Ikaria – a critical-care pharmaceutical company. His son, Ben, is the president and CEO of Covetrus (formerly Vets First Choice), which is building a new headquarters in Portland’s East End. The company went public earlier this month.

“I am grateful for the wonderfully fulfilling life that business and social entrepreneurship have created for me and the teams I have worked with around the world,” said the elder Shaw. “This new award is established in the time frame of our recent public offering for Covetrus and on the 35th anniversary of the founding of my first business, Idexx Laboratories.”

The prize will be awarded at the MCE annual Top Gun Showcase, a pitch competition among invited entrepreneurs scheduled for May 23. Entrepreneurs are required to deliver a five-minute pitch followed by questions from a panel of judges. Maine Technology Institute is also providing a $25,000 prize.

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