As you know, the Maine Technology Institute (MTI) is our state-funded, public-private partnership that helps drive innovation in Maine. MTI offers early-stage capital and commercialization assistance in the form of grants, loans, and equity investments, as well as entrepreneurial guidance and mentorship to Maine organizations.
It was created by the Legislature and Governor in 1999 to help encourage, promote, stimulate and support innovation and its transformation into new products, services and companies, leading to the creation and retention of quality jobs in Maine. Since that time, MTI has disbursed over $270 million across 2,800 distinct projects throughout the State of Maine and that funding has leveraged well over $1 billion in private sector matching investment. In the past two fiscal years alone, the impact of MTI investments has been immense. In FY18, MTI invested over $57 million in 175 different projects across Maine. That funding leveraged $240 million in private sector matching funds and, according to an independent economic impact analysis, will generate 5,350 jobs and $1.4 billion in economic impact over the next three years. In this most recent fiscal year (ending June 30), MTI disbursed over $9.3 million across 191 different projects and that funding leveraged almost $33 million in private sector matching investment.
On October 7th, MTI will celebrate its 20th anniversary at the Hilton Garden Inn in Freeport. The event is scheduled to begin at 5 PM and will run until 8 PM. This occasion provides us an opportunity to bring together Maine policy-makers, entrepreneurs, portfolio companies, investors and innovators for a unique networking opportunity and celebration of 20 years of “innovation appreciation” in our state.
As we all know, Maine workers and entrepreneurs enjoy a well-deserved reputation for originality and possess an unrivaled and legendary work ethic. MTI has helped foster and facilitate that creativity by funding innovations developed by Maine inventors in garages all the way up to large public companies, world renowned research organizations and academic institutions. Those innovations include diverse projects leading to innovations in gene sequencing and ocean microbial systems, oyster and algae production up and down Maine’s coast, lobster processing, fuel from waste wood, guitar and surf board manufacturing, the distillation of vodka from Maine potatoes, and the production of melting furnaces for reactive and refractive metal alloys in Oxford.
Whether it’s 50 jobs at STARC Systems or 1,200 positions at Maine’s newest publicly-traded company, Covetrus – – or jobs and infrastructure at Kepware, Immucell, Molnlycke, CLYNK, HistoryIT, Elmet Technologies, Bigelow Labs, JAX, Front Street Shipyard, Hyperlite Mountain Gear, Cold River Vodka, Bourgeois Guitar, Mook Sea Farms, AmpFins, Arcast, Pleasant River Lumber, Verso, etc., etc. – – MTI’s investments have left an indelible imprint on Maine’s economy. The foresight and vision that lawmakers demonstrated in 1999 when they created MTI was extraordinary. Twenty years later, I think it’s safe to say that it has exceeded all expectations, is a sterling part of many legislative legacies, and it continues to be strongly supported today. It is truly a beacon for economic optimism in the State of Maine.
I look forward to using the 20th anniversary opportunity to say thanks to the many people who help MTI achieve its core mission each day. From our talented 15-member Board of Directors, to our amazing staff and contractors, to our incredible subject matter experts who so selflessly volunteer their time to review and evaluate proposals, to our many partners and resource providers, there are a great number of people to thank for the success MTI has achieved over the past two decades. Additionally, I look forward to networking with representatives from our amazing portfolio companies to convey my appreciation for the risks they’ve taken, the sweat and toil they have endured, and the challenges they’ve overcome, to launch innovative new products and enterprises and to provide quality employment opportunities for Maine people.
I hope you will join us on October 7th to celebrate the past 20 years with an eye towards the next 20. Find out more about the event.