As I mentioned previously, since March the Maine Technology Institute has been actively implementing measures to ensure that Maine’s innovators and startup businesses are getting the support and assistance they need to get through this challenging time. With the support of MTI’s Board of Directors, we altered our funding process in March to allow us to be more responsive and helpful to bolster innovative Maine companies.
We liberally offered loan deferments and restructures to existing clients and infused new funding and investments into Maine entities. We also expedited decisioning related to COVID-19 mitigation solutions so that those innovations could get to market rapidly. Many MTI companies have made amazing operational pivots in response to the pandemic, shifting production to make personal protective gear, hand and surface sanitizer, face masks, and even toilet tissue.
To demonstrate the impacts of those measures, MTI experienced another strong year of investing in Maine businesses and entrepreneurs. In FY20, which ended on June 30, MTI deployed $9.6 million across 140 distinct projects throughout Maine. That’s up from $9.3 million in FY19.
Nearly half of the money we deployed in FY20 went out when Maine businesses needed it most, from March to the end of June. During that period, MTI awarded $4.67 million to support innovative Maine companies – – including those that pivoted to offer COVID-19-mitigation solutions – – and that funding has been matched by almost $22 million in private sector matching funds.
In just a couple of weeks, MTI will issue another $2 million in funding to support applicants that submitted proposals for our Maine Technology Asset Fund 2.5 (MTAF2.5) program. The semi-finalists for that funding, accounting for approximately $7 million in requests, have all proposed impressive and, most importantly, impactful projects that will create and retain jobs, increase revenues, and help them capture greater market share.
As I mentioned in my May blog, Maine’s entrepreneurial, technology-based companies are well-positioned to lead Maine’s economic recovery post-COVID-19. Those technology-based companies make up approximately $65 billion of Maine’s gross regional product, which accounts for a full 20% of our gross regional product. With the support of MTI, the State of Maine, the angel investing community, and institutional lenders and investors, these tech-based ventures will inevitably help Maine regain its economic footing.
In closing, in recognition of the state’s bicentennial, I want to direct you to MTI’s website where you can find a short documentary we produced on the history of innovation and entrepreneurship in Maine. This video titled, “What Greatness Looks Like,” profiles some of the state’s most notable innovators and features exclusive interviews with entrepreneurs in Maine who are continuing that legacy. It’s an uplifting and inspirational video. I encourage you to check it out by clicking here.
Have a wonderful August.