With the recent Thanksgiving holiday in mind, I want to take a moment to express well-earned gratitude to the Maine Technology Institute (MTI) team and Board for their many contributions to the organization over the past year. As you know, MTI’s core mission is to diversify and grow Maine’s economy by encouraging, promoting, stimulating, and supporting innovation and its transformation into new products, processes, and companies, leading to the creation of quality jobs for Maine people.
It has certainly been another busy year for MTI. Between our core innovation fund, and the Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan (MJRP) programs we administered (Forestry Recovery Initiative and the Seafood Dealers & Processors Program), we deployed over $28.5 million across nearly 450 Maine entities in FY22. Almost an equivalent amount of funding was deployed in early FY23 (July) in Pandemic Recovery for an Innovative Maine Economy (PRIME) funding. And, since then, we’ve opened and closed a second phase of the Forestry Recovery Initiative, as well as a PRIME Fund program aimed specifically at entrepreneurial support organizations.
Additionally, we also created a new MTI program of support – the Maine Entrepreneurial Resource Corps (MERC), won a Federal and State Technology (FAST) Partnership Program grant from the federal Small Business Administration (SBA) to promote the Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) programs, and added new staff to the team (Abby Osei and Emily Braley), as well as two new contractors (Ben Chesler and Colleen McCracken).
So, given all that’s been achieved this past year, I want to use this month’s blog to personally thank the entire MTI team for their tremendous efforts.
MTI’s professional staff is comprised of exceptionally talented individuals who are passionate about their work. You can view all their biographies here. I marvel daily at the level of knowledge, commitment, and dedication that each brings to the MTI team, and I want to commend them all for their efforts. Thank you, Greg Lee, Barb Ford, Lou Simms, Bianca Kowal, Scott Bursey, Abby Osei, Shane Beckim, Wanda McNeil, Tom Kittredge, Emily Braley, and Joe Migliaccio.
The staff and organization are guided by an impressive Board of Directors, made up of private and public-sector representatives, who freely give of their time, talents, and expertise to make funding decisions, guide the strategic direction of MTI, and shape the delivery of the organization’s programs. Capably led by our Chair Donna Cassese, the biographies of each of the Directors can be found here. My profound appreciation goes out to each of the current members: Chip Kelley, Sarah Curran, Jake Ward, Heather Johnson, Sebastian Belle, Dan Belyea, Rick Ganong, Meredith Mendelson, Ian Swanberg, Rosaire Pelletier, and Donna Cassese.
I also want to recognize and thank the amazing contractors that assist MTI and our portfolio companies. The talented contractors include Krystal Williams and her work on MTI’s diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives; our accomplished E-Residents Matt Hoffner, John Pavan, Colleen McCracken, John Eldredge, Ben Chesler and John Karp; and our amazing technical assistance team including Karen West Morgan, Suzanne Hamlin, Stan Gavitt, Jo Anne Goodnight, Jan Knight, Joshua Tracey and Tobin McGregor, that help Maine companies and entrepreneurs develop competitive federal funding proposals. It’s an impressive group that serves as a tremendous resource for Maine entrepreneurs and innovators.
As you know, the Maine Technology Institute invests its funds in Maine’s seven targeted technology sectors. Each of those sectors is assigned a board of volunteer subject matter experts within the sector who evaluate MTI’s funding proposals. There are over 100 Tech Board members advising MTI currently and I want to take this opportunity to express my gratitude them.
Finally, I want to acknowledge and convey my appreciation to our many valued partners. Our partners do a wonderful job of providing services, mentoring, and funding to our state’s entrepreneurs and small businesses to ensure that we have a complementary system of supports in place.
Again, due to the conscientious efforts of the entire team, it’s been another productive year of growing and diversifying Maine’s economy through MTI’s catalytic investments and support to innovative organizations across the state.