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MTI Blog

11/10/09 - Excellence in innovation can provide the fuel for growth in a challenging economy

It’s no secret that times are tough for businesses and families in the current economic downturn. But especially in these tough times, innovation drives success. Innovation in products, services and processes can all contribute to a positive bottom line. Firms that invest in technology and innovation come out ahead, and by creating new jobs, new products and new markets, they lead to more economic prosperity. Several MTI awardees have been bucking the economic trends by continuing to grow their revenues and their employment. FHC, Inc. is a company in Bowdoin that develops and markets highly specialized neurosurgical instruments used in leading hospitals and research institutions around the world. And Ocean Renewable Power Company is one of the first companies in the United States testing cutting edge ocean and river basin tidal power systems to generate renewable energy. Both companies have created good jobs for Mainers over the past year; FHC has expanded its Maine workforce by more than 10%, while ORPC has secured external capital in this challenging investment climate and doubled its employment in Portland and Eastport to 20-22 workers.

These are just two of the many Maine companies which have received awards from MTI that are growing during this down economy and whose sto¬ries show how their focus on innovation and excellence is driving their success. There are other examples as well. Brunswick-based Harbor Technologies’ cutting edge marine pilings have been driven into dense lava rock to protect the Navy’s docking submarines as well as storm retaining walls in North Carolina. Its quality products and innovations, fueled by increased market for infrastructure projects, have helped this company to continue to grow its operations and its workforce by 12 employees during the past year. Know Technology’s excellence has led to being awarded Microsoft’s prestigious Partnership Award for Networking Infrastructure Solutions and an expansion of its workforce from 14 to 17. Cash Star, a recent start-up, has added 17 employees and secured $5 million of private investment in the last year. It is a first mover in an online gift card market that has signed on major players like Travelocity, Home Depot and CVS. In all of these cases, these companies are developing and adapting innovative, high-value products and services that are meeting growing market demand and building on specialized knowledge in Maine’s workforce.

At MTI, we’re fortunate to have a front-row seat to learn about the technologies driving Maine’s innovation economy. From seed grants that foster early-stage development for projects including new wind turbine construction and novel ways to manufacture carbon fiber, to develop¬ment awards that support creation of web-based learning systems for grades 7-12 and next gen¬eration diagnostic kits for agricultural testing, MTI is investing in our future business successes. Every dollar that MTI awards leverages more than $14 in additional public and private investment driving innovation and creating and sustaining good jobs across the state. These companies are only a small number of the Maine businesses proving that technology and innovation pave the way for new growth, new jobs and new opportunities. Excellence in innovation can provide the fuel for growth in a challenging economy.

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