Cluster Portfolio Projects

Over the past three years, MTI has supported a variety of clusters and cluster-building activities through the Cluster Initiative Program. While MTI funding guidelines allow financial support for projects supporting and improving any existing, emerging or potential cluster, the Battelle Technology Partnership Practice study on Maine’s Technology-Intensive Industry Clusters published in April 2014 identified eight generally well-performing technology clusters in Maine. Cluster Initiative Program support over the last five years has largely fallen into one or more of these eight clusters. We encourage companies and organizations working in these clusters to get involved in these projects, learn and connect to the various efforts to strengthen these clusters in Maine. (Click arrows to expand descriptions)

Agriculture, Aquaculture, Fisheries and Food Production

*Sustainable Year-Round Agriculture demonstration projects (planning and implementation awards), Maine Sustainable Agriculture Society.  The SYRA Cluster Initiative was conceived in part to look for ways to increase year-round production by demonstrating high-potential technologies and production techniques to Maine’s major agriculture sectors, including vegetable production, ornamental horticulture, protein production, storage, aquaculture and aquaponics. To learn more contact Mark Hews, mehews@mesas.org

Traceable Food from Land and Sea planning projects, Focus Maine (Foundation for a Strong Maine Economy, fiscal agent), focused on Aquaculture and Agriculture.  These planning efforts emerged from the Focus Maine initiative’s goal to accelerate the creation of quality jobs within a few select, traded sectors that have high growth potential, based on global growth projections and Maine’s competitive advantages in those sectors.  To learn more contact Sarah Hach, sarah@anchorconsultingmaine.com.

Maine Scallop Aquaculture knowledge transfer and equipment demonstration project, Coastal Enterprises Inc.  Grant was awarded to purchase and test three scallop aquaculture machines from a Japanese company as part of an on-going collaborative effort to develop scallop farming in Maine. To learn more contact Hugh Cowperthwaite, Hugh.Cowperthwaite@ceimaine.org

Sustainable Seafood supply chain, brand and traceability project, Gulf of Maine Research Institute. The Sustainable Seafood cluster initiative represents businesses involved in the harvest, processing, distribution and sale of seafood from the Gulf of Maine region, working to capture economic benefit from discerning markets. Elements of this effort include a regional branding program, culinary partners program and Jonah Crab Fishery Improvement Project. To learn more contact Jen Levin, jlevin@gmri.org

*Maine Algal Cluster planning, Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences. Planning effort to support development of industry-driven initiative of commercial companies, R&D centers, education institutions and financing resources for macro and micro algae cluster development. Information available includes industry survey and market research results.  To learn more contact Mike Lomas, mlomas@bigelow.org

Underutilized Shellfish Products with emphasis on green crab planning and feasibility project, Coastal Enterprises Incorporated.  Grant was awarded to explore options for finding markets for green crab and other underutilized shellfish species. To learn more contact Hugh Cowperthwaite, Hugh.Cowperthwaite.ceimaine.org 

Alternative Energy & Turbines; Environmental Services; Engineering and Scientific/Technical Services

Maine Cleantech Business & Economic Development Project and Cleantech Navigate Northeast, Environmental & Energy Technology Council of Maine (E2Tech) and New England Clean Energy Council Institute. Multiple awards have strengthened opportunities for business development and entrepreneurship in Maine’s Cleantech Cluster, as well as support for the sector as a whole, including Maine’s clean technology companies, suppliers, supporting assets and other market participants. Project efforts are designed to increase the knowledge base about Maine cleantech companies, products and services and provide targeted audiences with the tools and information they need to make informed choices. E2Tech has identified ~750 clean technology companies and assets in Maine and has characterized them in more detail (age, size by revenues and employment, location by county, products & services). To learn more contact Jeff Marks, jeffmarks@e2tech.org

*North Atlantic Ocean Energy and Resource Extraction market development and supply chain project, Maine Ocean and Wind Industry Initiative. The Maine Ocean and Wind Industry Initiative (MOWII) supports Maine company expertise within the ocean and wind energy supply chain, works proactively to promote the expertise of member companies, and provides solutions to local, national, and international market participants. MTI provided MOWII with funding for an 18-month pilot partnership with the Maine International Trade Center to assist Maine companies moving into the North Atlantic ocean energy and resource extraction markets through marketing and supply chain mapping assistance. To learn more contact Ben Brown, bbrown@mainewindindustry.com 

Biopharmaceuticals

*Tech Place Biolab and Tech Shop Space, Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority. MTI funding supports equipment and infrastructure improvements in Tech Place, a business incubator and co-working space on the Brunswick Landing campus, focused on bioscience companies and small scale manufacturers.  To learn more contact Kristine Schuman, KristineS@mrra.us.

Linking Maine to Boston Innovation: Capturing the Opportunity in Biopharmaceuticals feasibility project, Focus Maine (Foundation for a Strong Maine Economy, fiscal agent). This feasibility project emerged from the Focus Maine initiative’s goal to accelerate the creation of quality jobs within a few select, traded sectors that have high growth potential, based on global growth projections and Maine’s competitive advantages in those sectors. The project will explore Maine’s connections to the regional biopharmaceutical cluster centered in Boston to understand manufacturing opportunities for Maine. To learn more contact Sarah Hach, sarah@anchorconsultingmaine.com.

Boatbuilding and Related Industries; Advanced Materials

*Composites Engineering Research Lab (CERL), Maine Composites Alliance. The lab was established with cluster support to create a world class polymer characterization applied research facility in Maine.  CERL, located in TechPlace in Brunswick provide services to the composites and advanced materials industries in Maine and beyond with capabilities that include applied engineering expertise for manufacturing, process development and optimization; complete, advanced analytical services, to include a variety of non-destructive testing techniques; focused educational training; and prototype manufacturing. The industries presently served by CERL include marine composites, construction and structural composites, aerospace and avionics composites, wind and hydrokinetics composites, transportation composites, polymer resins development, thermoplastic and thermoset resin manufacturers and processors, electronics packaging and semiconductors, and other consumer composites. To learn more contact Andrew Schoenberg, aschoenberg@mainecompositesalliance.org

Forestry and Forest Products

Northern Forest Products Cluster Development feasibility and planning award, Northern Maine Development Commission. MTI planning funds were used to establish an action plan  for support the forest products cluster, primarily in Northern Maine, and a wood products analysis  of the region. To learn more contact Alain Ouellette, aouellette@nmdc.org.

Saving the Old Town Pilot Plant for the Forest-Based Economy Cluster, University of Maine’s Forest Bioproducts Research Institute. MTI provided funding to relocate the pilot plant infrastructure from the Old Town paper mill to the Forest Bioproducts Research Institute to keep the infrastructure available to Maine’s forest products industry. To learn more contact Hemant Pendse, HPendse@umche.maine.edu.

Twin Rivers R&D Center at Target Technology Center. MTI’s funds are used to match federal dollars associated with relocating Twin Rivers Paper Company’s research and development (R&D) facility to Maine. To learn more contact Brian McAlary, brian.mcalary@twinriverspaper.com.

Battelle also found additional clusters that were critical enablers of the larger and/or more robust clusters and therefore necessary to support, such as:

Information Technology Services

Building a Center of Excellence in Healthcare Informatics feasibility study, Growing Portland. Growing Portland completed a planning and feasibility project surveying companies working in the area of healthcare informatics with an MTI Cluster Initiative Program award. To learn more contact John Spritz, jspritz@maine.rr.com.

*Union River Center for Innovation, City of Ellsworth. Support for planning and early implementation phase of a startup business incubator and co-working space focused on biotechnology and information technology companies in Ellsworth.  To learn more contact Micki Sumpter, msumpter@ellsworthmaine.gov

In the last three years, MTI has also supported projects that cross over clusters to address needs common to multiple clusters such as:

Maine’s business incubation system and Top Gun entrepreneurship acceleration program expansion, Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development and University of Maine. MTI provided funding to support programs developed and expanded under the Blackstone Accelerates Growth collaboration.

Scratchpad Accelerator pilot, University of Maine.  MTI and the University of Maine piloted an accelerator to support Bangor area entrepreneurs in their efforts to accelerate their business growth. MTI funds supported the accelerator program and the company participants. This was an opportunity for MTI and the University to experiment with a new program to learn from the process. To learn more contact Jason Harkins, Jason.harkins@maine.edu

Seed challenge grant for Maine Accelerates Growth Fund at Maine Community Foundation. To learn more contact Jess Knox, jess.knox@maineacceleratesgrowth.com

*project applicable to more than one cluster