The Maine Technology Institute’s “Prime” program made 174 awards to companies to aid recovery from the pandemic, invest in new products and business lines, attract new customers, and sustain long-term growth.
Governor Janet Mills today announced $23.3 million in grant awards from her Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan to help Maine technology companies recover from the pandemic, invest in new products and business lines, attract new customers, and create long-term economic growth.
The awards were made by the Pandemic Recovery for an Innovative Maine Economy (PRIME) Fund, which is administered by the Maine Technology Institute. The new fund focuses its investments in businesses engaged in Maine’s targeted technology sectors, which include biotechnology, composites and advanced materials, forestry and agriculture, marine industries, precision manufacturing and more.
By targeting these sectors, the PRIME Fund aims to accelerate job creation and reach businesses that did not, or were unable to, access other federal pandemic-response economic support programs. Enhancing investment in innovative companies is also a leading recommendation of the state’s 10-year Economic Strategy and the Governor’s Economic Recovery Committee to make Maine more competitive against other states.
Since the onset of the pandemic, the Mills Administration has allocated more than $288 million in assistance to support Maine small businesses across a variety of economic sectors. Earlier this month, the governor announced two further programs — “Grow Maine” and “Thrive Maine” — utilizing federal funds to deliver an additional $120 million to help small businesses succeed in Maine.
“In Maine, innovation is a proud tradition – some people even call it ‘Yankee ingenuity.’ The PRIME Fund will continue that proud tradition, investing directly in Maine businesses that are on the cutting edge of new products and services, including many that were unable to access Federal economic assistance during the worst of the pandemic,” said Governor Janet Mills. “Together, with other recently announced programs, my Administration is working to ensure that innovative Maine businesses are well positioned to drive positive change in Maine’s economy and the global marketplace.”
“Catalyzing innovation is a central part of Maine’s 10-Year Economic Development Strategy,” said Heather Johnson, Commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development. “The PRIME Fund is making strategic investments in Maine businesses that are pioneering the type of new technologies and ideas that will create jobs, attract top talent to our state, and strengthen Maine's economic future.”
“MTI received well over 300 applications for the PRIME Fund, which demonstrates the overwhelming need for the support,” said Brian Whitney, President of the Maine Technology Institute. “While the funding decisions were incredibly difficult given the sheer volume of proposals and the high quality of the applications, we are confident that these grants will help strengthen our state’s tech-based businesses, generate quality jobs, and provide for a more resilient Maine economy.”
The awards announced today represent the first phase of grants from the overall $39 million PRIME fund and ranged from $10,000 to approximately $387,000. This round received 321 total applications seeking more than $71 million. Two further rounds of PRIME grants are expected later this year.
To be eligible for a PRIME grant, businesses must be engaged in Maine’s designated technology sectors through research, development, or innovation; employ 250 full-time employees or less, and demonstrate that their business has been adversely impacted by the pandemic.
Eligible uses of grant funds include payroll, rent or mortgage payments for business facilities, business-related equipment purchases, start-up costs for new programs and/or new markets which may require capital investment, and more.
The Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan is the Governor’s plan, approved by the Legislature, to invest nearly $1 billion in Federal American Rescue Plan funds to improve the lives of Maine people and families, help businesses, create good-paying jobs, and build an economy poised for future prosperity.
It draws heavily on recommendations from the Governor’s Economic Recovery Committee and the State’s 10-Year Economic Development Strategy, transforming them into real action to improve the lives of Maine people and strengthen the economy.
For more about Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan, visit maine.gov/jobsplan.