Senator Collins Announces Innovation Grants for Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development, Coastal Enterprises Inc.

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Susan Collins today announced that the Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development and Coastal Enterprises Inc. received grant awards of $390,000 and $250,000, respectively, from the Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) 2015 Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) program.
 
“These grants will give invaluable assistance to entrepreneurs across the state by providing training and investment for new, innovative industries, particularly those in rural areas,” said Senator Collins.  “The programs funded by these grants will support local businesses and help create stable, high-paying jobs for Mainers.”
 
The Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development was awarded $390,000 for its Top Gun Rural Accelerator Network Expansion (RANE).  The Top Gun program seeks to accelerate the commercialization of innovations in the rural Maine economy.  The program began six years ago as a five month program for 10-12 companies in Portland and has now expanded to three locations.  The project will expand the Top Gun platform to reach more entrepreneurs, solidify the current program, and provide continuing support to entrepreneurs.
 
Coastal Enterprises Inc. (CEI) was awarded $250,000 for its CEI Natural Resource Business Seed Capital Fund.  This new statewide fund will allow CEI to make equity investments in young farm, food, fisheries and bio-based businesses with the potential for high growth. The proposed Fund is a critical tool for CEI to counter the forces of isolation and disinvestment while filling the gap for early stage financing in rural communities and supporting the commercialization and expansion of innovative young businesses.
 
The EDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.