All of us at the Maine Technology Institute (MTI) were honored and excited to learn recently that MTI has been named the Small Business Administration’s 2019 Maine Financial Services Champion of the Year. Some of the criteria for the award include “the amount and quality of assistance given to small businesses to obtain financing, advocacy for changes to assist small companies, encouragement of the flow of investment capital to small ventures, and measurable accomplishments to advance small business interests.”
MTI was nominated for this award by Steve Levesque of the Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority and we deeply appreciate his support and advocacy. The Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority (MRRA), for those who don’t know, is the entity tasked with redeveloping the closed Naval Air Station in Brunswick. Recognized as a national model for success, MRRA has – – since 2011 – – transformed the former Navy base into a vibrant center for innovation, business, education and recreation with over 1,800 jobs created across more than 120 businesses. Steve Levesque has led the redevelopment effort since the very beginning and has done an incredible job along with his dedicated staff and board.
Prior to his terrific work at MRRA, Levesque also served as Commissioner of the Maine Department of Economic & Community Development under then-Governor Angus King. It was there that Steve played a pivotal role, along with Governor King, State Planning Office Director Evan Richert, former Senate President Mark Lawrence and former Speakers Libby Mitchell and Steve Rowe, in creating the Maine Technology Institute.
Now in its 20th year of operation, MTI has invested over $260 million across 2,500 distinct projects throughout Maine and those investments have helped leverage over $1 billion in private sector matching funds. In the past fiscal year alone, MTI’s most impactful year to date, over $57 million was put to work across Maine through investments in 175 innovative projects. According to an independent economic impact analysis, those investments will create 5,350 jobs and generate approximately $1.4 billion in economic impact over the next three years.
Again, MTI is so pleased to be recognized by the SBA as its 2019 Maine Financial Services Champion of the Year. Consistent with their award criteria, it is evident that MTI has, among other things, demonstrated “measurable accomplishments to advance small business interests.” In his nomination letter, Steve Leveque noted that it is personally gratifying for him to see what MTI has become. He goes on to state that the unique public-private partnership has exceeded all original expectations.
On behalf of MTI’s staff and Board, I want to convey my heartfelt thanks to Steve Leveque and all those who played an integral role in MTI’s creation 20 years ago and, of course, want to thank the Small Business Administration and its District Office Director Amy Bassett for the thoughtful recognition. We look forward to celebrating with the other award winners at the SBA’s annual event on May 15th at the Hilton Garden Inn in Freeport. We hope to see you there. For more information on the SBA awards and celebratory event, please visit their website.