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Maine Economic Development Reports, History

A Background Paper Prepared by The Maine Development Foundation for the
Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program in support of its larger project, “Charting Maine’s Future: An Action Plan for Promoting Sustainable Prosperity and Quality Places







Maine Legislature charters a nonprofit organization, appropriates funds to the organization to encourage research in government sanctioned industry, which uses the money to give grants to private businesses selected for success by state capitalism."

TechMaine, the Technology Association of Maine, is the statewide trade association for Maine's technology industries. TechMaine enhances the technology sectors through programs designed to increase awareness of the industry, develop community, industry perception and workforce development. Since 1992, TechMaine has been an advocate and a resource base for Maine's technology industry. As an advocate, TechMaine has succeeded in passing legislation to assist the industry. As a resource, TechMaine supplies information, educational programs and services for its members. TechMaine is dedicated to growing the industry by creating a constructive and stimulating environment

Organizational Timeline
Founded as the Maine Software Developers Association – MESDA

Directed the effort to eliminate the sales tax on custom technology development

Worked extensively with the State Legislature to create the Maine Technology Institute and testified to enable all emerging technology organizations to compete for Maine Technology Institute grants

1999 Maine Technology institute- a nonprofit corporation is chartered by an unconstitutional special act of legislation. The legislation does not mention how the non-profit corporation is to be funded..

The annual reports are available on line

While MTI cannot address every area for improvement in Maine’s economy, there is a very specific void that MTI seeks to fill. MTI’s primary objective is to make direct investments in promising technologies at a time when capital is very difficult to obtain. The investments are for very early stage development that traditional sources of capital are unlikely to fund. All new product development passes through several phases. MTI supports those stages after an idea is conceived, but before the product or service is on the market (Appendix B). Commercialization may be only months or several years away. Success depends on having a sound, unique technology, meeting a critical market need and having quality management. MTI will develop several programs to address specific business and industry needs within this applied research and development phase.

MTI is a private, non-profit (501(c)3) organization. It receives a direct appropriation from the Legislature through the Department of Economic and Community Development. $9,600,000 were appropriated to MTI for the 1999-2000 and 2000-2001 biennium. MTI is limited to using up to 7% of the appropriation for administrative costs. MTI is governed by its By-Laws (Appendix C), consistent with the word and intent of the legislation.

Maine MEP was awarded an MTI grant to develop a pilot program to increase the research and development capacity of Maine companies by actively partnering them with facilities and expertise in the federal laboratories

MTI has entered a cooperative agreement with Maine MEP, at no cost to MTI, whereby Maine MEP serves as the fiscal agent to disburse MTI grant monies in a timely manner, as directed by MTI, and to assist Maine companies with commercialization needs, including advice on applying to MTI’s programs (Appendix I). Through this mutually beneficial agreement, MEP increases its own deal flow and company interactions while improving the interest in and quality of proposals submitted for MTI funding. In the coming year, MTI will actively seek additional partnerships and alliances that offer such mutual benefit.

Maine Manufacturing Extension Partnership

We are an organization with a culture of innovation that leverages MEP resources in the application of new ideas to clients, products and processes in pursuit of profits.

The Maine MEP is part of a nationwide network of technical, manufacturing and business specialists linked together by the U.S. Department of Commerce and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST); the Maine MEP is a unique resource for manufacturing in Maine.

Return on Investment:
Based on company reported impact data, as a direct result of the
Maine MEP services, every $1 of services rendered by Maine MEP
returned $103 in increased or retained sales plus $14.23 in cost savings.
Increased sales and cost savings both affect the bottom-line.
( MTI annual report)Changes in the MTI legislation in 2000 added administration of a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Award outreach and assistance program to the goals of MTI. The federal SBIR program offers competitive grants for research development, with objectives similar to those of MTI
The MTI will continue to focus on its primary objective of making direct investments in businesses for research and development leading to commercialization.

It is important to note that future product development awards will include payback provisions. While MTI will continue to make early stage investments, successful development will trigger a return of funds to MTI for use in subsequent granting programs. Due to the high-risk nature of early stage investing, it is not expected that significant returns to MTI will be realized for several years. The MTI Board continues to learn from other state’s successful programs, and apply their lessons in Maine when appropriate. The structure of MTI’s future investment programs is an
area of active consideration by the Board. MTI will continue to strive for the most effective, responsible use of Maine State taxpayer’s dollars for the creation of new, sustainable jobs for Maine people, by making

MTI accomplishes its purpose by cost-sharing R&D and industry cluster-building
projects with Maine businesses and organizations through competitive award programs
and by helping Maine companies secure Federal funds for research and development
projects. Per its legislative mandate (5MRSA §15302), MTI’s funding programs target
seven technology sectors designated by the State of Maine:
Advanced technologies for forestry and
Aquaculture and marine technology
Composite materials technology
Environmental technology
Information technology
Precision manufacturing technology

The Institute is a private nonprofit corporation, governed by a private-sector led Board of Directors (Appendix A). The president of the Institute is appointed by the Governor,
confirmed by the Senate, and reports to the Commissioner of the Department of
Economic and Community Development via the Director of the Office of Innovation.

For utility scale production, Maine has the highest concentration of Class 5 and above wind resources. The Government of the State of Maine is a dynamic and ambitious partner in driving wind project development. The State has set goals of installing 2000 MW of wind power capacity by 2015, 3000 MW by 2020, and 5000 MW by 2030.

VIII. STATE GOVERNMENT THAT SUPPORTS DEVELOPMENT The government of the State of Maine has set a renewable energy goal of sustaining 5 Gigawatts of onshore and offshore renewable energy in the next 10 years. Maine is also committed to growing a diverse, vibrant ocean energy related economy. Backed by an ambitious congressional delegation, the State is focused on the importance of its natural assets and has committed resources to both the development of offshore test facilities and simplifying permitting and regulation. The Governor’s Ocean Energy Task Force, appointed in late 2008, has been examining all facets of this sector. Its mission is to recommend strategies to meet or exceed the goals established in the Maine Wind Energy Act: to install at least 2,000 megawatts of wind capacity by 2015 and at least 3,000 megawatts by 2020, 300 of which could be located in coastal waters. • In mid-2009, the Ocean Energy Task Force drafted and secured passage of legislation creating a 60 day Department of Environmental Protection General Permit for the testing and demonstration of emerging renewable ocean energy technologies, especially deepwater floating wind turbines, in sites that the state must identify by year’s end as appropriate for such testing. A task force outreach subgroup is currently working on identifying those sites. For more information go to:


The wind may be free but the magnets required to make electricity from the whirling blades of a windmill are any thing but free. As we have seen previously in these pages, each giant turbine’s set of magnets contains some 700 pounds of rare earth metals. Ninety-seven percent of the world’s supply of rare earth metals comes from China

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