The Pandemic Recovery for an Innovative Maine Economy (PRIME) Fund, open now through May 19, helps Maine technology companies with investment to recover from pandemic, develop new products, attract new customers, and sustain growth.
Governor Janet Mills today announced the launch of a $39.6 million grant program 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 Pandemic Recovery for an Innovative Maine Economy (PRIME) Fund, administered by the Maine Technology Institute, will focus its investments on businesses in the state’s targeted technology sectors, which include biotech, 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. Spurring investment in innovative companies is also recommended by the state’s 10-year Economic Strategy and the Governor’s Economic Recovery Committee to make Maine more competitive against other states.
Companies may apply for PRIME funds through May 19, 2022. For application materials and additional information on grants and eligibility, please visit the program website.
“Innovation is a key driver of economic growth, but historically, Maine’s investment in research and development has lagged behind much of the nation,” said Governor Janet Mills. “Programs like the PRIME Fund are reversing that trend and investing in new, forward-looking businesses that will create jobs, retain and attract people to Maine, and build a stronger, more robust economy.”
“The Governor’s Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan is making strategic investments in small businesses to create new products, technologies, and jobs in our state,” said Heather Johnson, Commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development. “The PRIME Fund will help entrepreneurs and innovators bounce back from the pandemic and help them create jobs in key sectors like biotechnology, precision manufacturing, and our forest products industry, which are critical to our state’s long-term economic future.”
“MTI spent a great deal of time developing the PRIME Fund and we are excited to get it launched,” said Brian Whitney, President of the Maine Technology Institute. “These grants will play a meaningful role in helping to strengthen our state’s tech-based businesses, generate quality jobs, and provide for a more resilient and diversified Maine economy.”
To receive a grant, businesses in one of Maine’s designed technology sectors must employ up to 250 full-time employees and demonstrate they have been adversely impacted by the pandemic. Uses of grant funds can 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.
“One of the key pillars of the state’s ten-year strategic plan is to increase R&D investment levels in Maine,” said Dana Connors, President of the Maine State Chamber of Commerce. “The $39.6 million PRIME Fund is consistent with that commitment and provides crucial funding to support our small business community as it recovers from the pandemic and implements solid plans to become stronger and more resilient businesses and employers.”
“The impact of the PRIME Fund at this time cannot be underestimated,” said Kimberly Hamilton, Ph.D, President of FocusMaine. “FocusMaine's strategy to grow companies working in agriculture, aquaculture and life sciences identified early on the need for more funding to help strong Maine companies. The pandemic has deepened this need and made funding even more urgent. Putting the Maine Jobs and Recovery Act to work in this way directly responds to business needs and will surely secure the future of many Maine businesses, generate more good jobs, and help Maine continue to compete in these critical sectors.”
“We are excited to see the launch of the MTI PRIME Fund to bring ARPA funds to Maine tech-based businesses who were adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Steve Veazey, District Director of SCORE Maine. “The use of these grant funds to support sustainable economic growth will make our Maine businesses stronger and more resilient to future unexpected disruptions.”
The PRIME Fund will award grants in two phases. Phase 1, open now, is focused on direct support to businesses who suffered negative impacts from the pandemic. MTI estimates that these awards will range from $49,000 to $400,000, depending upon the size and employment base of the applicants. Phase 2 will target public-private partnerships that support and bolster Maine’s innovation economy and is expected to launch this summer.
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.