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Cluster Initiative Program 

MTI's Cluster Initiative Program awards up to $50,000 for feasibility and planning and up to $500,000 for collaborative initiatives that boost the strength and scale of Maine's high-potential technology intensive clusters. 

NEXT CIP proposals are due:

  

Rolling/Apply anytime: up to $50,000 for feasibility and planning activities that help you and your industry collaborators tackle challenges facing your industry.

 

Implementation Proposals:  March 24, 2014: up to $500,000 to fund collaborative, industry-led activities that boost innovation and industry success.

 

Read the program overview here and the most recent Request for Proposals (RFP) here.

Workshops and Webinars: 
 
There are no workshops or webinars scheduled at this time.  

To review information shared in the most recent webinar, click here

Clusters are an important driver of business growth and economic development. They are concentrations of companies that serve similar customers, draw on similar knowledge and workforce skills in the development of innovative products and services. They are actively supported by common organizations such as specialized suppliers, industry-knowledgeable universities, trade associations, legal and financial experts, funding sources and government agencies. Typically, a collective competitive advantage comes from the whole range of activities and sharing of knowledge within the cluster (e.g. supply-chain development, market intelligence, incubator services, attraction of capital, management training and education, joint R&D, technical standard setting) Common examples of technology clusters are California’s Silicon Valley for IT companies, and Maine’s marine trades cluster.
 
MTI's Cluster Initiative Program (CIP) aims to boost the strength and scale of Maine's high-potential technology intensive clusters. It was initiated with support from the Governor and Legislature, and called for by the Brookings Institution report, "Charting Maine's Future," as well as the Governor-appointed Council on Jobs, Innovation and the Economy. It draws on MTI's cluster enhancement award experience since 2000 and the report released in April 2008, Maine's Technology Sectors and Clusters: Status and Strategy.
 
There are two levels of awards for cluster initiatives that involve industry leadership or active engagement.
 
Awards of up to $50,000 are offered on a rolling basis for cluster initiative planning or feasibility studies.
 

Awards of up to $500,000 are available to cluster initiatives to support Maine's technology sectors and businesses by improving the effectiveness of their infrastructure, as well as resources and connections among firms, service providers, research laboratories and educational institutions. These awards support on collaborative efforts that help spread knowledge and skills, build connections among businesses, connect businesses to research and service partners, and address common opportunities and challenges, leading to more vibrant economic growth and innovation in Maine's high-potential technology clusters. Applications are requested through an RFA.

Application Process

There are two levels of awards and application time lines and requirements. Participation in a workshop or a personal interview is required for submission of an application for both award levels. 


Please see the Request for Proposals (RFP) here.

 
Application Forms:
 
Application Checklist Word     
Cover Page (Form A) Word            
Milestone Summary (Form B) Word  
Budget Form (Form C) Word  
Sample Commitment Letter (Form D)     Word  
Economic Impact Summary (Form E) Word  
 
 
 

 

 

 

Review and Selection Process

All completed applications will be reviewed by a committee consisting of MTI, the MTI Board of Directors and outside experts, as invited by MTI. The committee will make a recommendation for each application considering, but not limited to, the following: the collaborating organizations and individuals, the importance of the cluster to Maine, the amount and quality of matching funds, the quality and clarity of the application and the prospects for measurable impact. The result will be a designation of "Recommended for Interview" or Not Recommended for Interview."

Those applicants recommended for an interview will be invited to present their project, in person, to the committee or MTI Board. Upon review of all recommended applications, the MTI Board of Directors will make final award decisions.

Click here for the application evaluation form.

Featured Success Story:

In 2008, the MTI board of directors approved a Cluster Enhancement Award of $200,000, matched by $459,000, to support a sustainable bioplastics cluster project to make PLA, a biodegradable plastic from Maine potatoes.

Over the next 18 months, the cluster members worked together to demonstrate the feasibility and marketability of producing an environmentally friendly organic plastic from one of the state’s traditional crops. The collaborating organizations have evaluated establishing a trade association to exchange information, influence related policies, educate consumers and other companies, and build market awareness for Maine made potato-plastic products ...