Lewiston, MAINE – Governor Janet Mills today visited Bourgeois Guitars and Quoddy in Lewiston to learn about how new economic recovery grants awarded through her Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan are helping two iconic Maine businesses succeed. The Governor was accompanied by Lewiston Mayor Carl Sheline during her visits.
Last month, Governor Mills announced that the Pandemic Recovery for an Innovative Maine Economy (PRIME) Fund had selected 174 Maine companies to receive more than $23 million in grant funding to help support economic recovery and spur growth in Maine’s targeted technology sectors, including precision manufacturing.
Bourgeois, which produces steel string guitars used by world-famous musicians, received a $266,677 grant. Quoddy, an historic Maine brand of handcrafted footwear, received $190,000.
Many of Maine’s most innovative businesses were unable to access Federal assistance during the worst of the pandemic. The PRIME Fund, administered by the Maine Technology Institute, helps fill that gap and focused on helping cutting-edge Maine businesses invest in new products and business lines, attract new customers, and create long-term economic growth.
“Maine small businesses like Bourgeois and Quoddy employ hardworking Maine people in good-paying jobs and manufacture iconic products used all around the world,” said Governor Janet Mills. “The PRIME Fund is making direct, strategic investments in innovative businesses like Bourgeois and Quoddy, ensuring that Maine businesses are not only positioned to bounce back from pandemic, but also thrive in Maine and the global marketplace for years to come.”
“The whole team at Bourgeois Guitars was grateful for the Governor’s visit to our workshop today. Governor Mills' continued support of the river of talent running through the veins of Maine's Maker’s Economy is central not only to the health of organizations like ours, but to the continued vitality of the Maine brand,” said Christopher Fleming, President & COO of Bourgeois Guitars. “The support we are receiving from the PRIME Fund will go a long way toward caring for our workforce, buttressing our growth, and helping us as we work to bounce back from the impacts of the pandemic."
“We are pleased that Governor Mills took time out of her busy schedule to visit a small manufacturing company here in Maine – and its employees – that have benefitted from programs instituted during the pandemic like PRIME,” said Kevin Shorey, Co-Owner of Quoddy.
Prior to her visit to Bourgeois and Quoddy, the Governor stopped by Simones Hot Dog Stand in Lewiston and had lunch with Auburn Mayor Jason Levesque and State Senator Ned Claxton at Gritty McDuff’s in Auburn.
The PRIME Fund is just the latest way that Governor Mills is working to support Maine’s small businesses. 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.
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 the Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan, visit maine.gov/jobsplan.