In This Issue
Funding and Research Announcements
Company News
Policy, Research & Resources
Funding & Research Announcements
   

MTI Grant Programs to Boost Tech Business Opportunities
 
The Maine Technology Institute (MTI) announced that Maine's nonprofit research organizations and higher education institutions will now be able to apply for funding that will aid in the commercialization of their research through the Seed Grant and Development Award programs. Previously, these programs were primarily available to private, for-profit companies based in Maine.

The Seed Grants, which are awarded six times annually and offer support of up to $12,500, can now be used by Maine university and nonprofit researchers for technology transfer activities, or those projects that help bring a product or process from an academic or research setting to the commercial marketplace. These may include development of a prototype, field testing or market analysis.  

Development Awards will now include conditional loans awarded three times a year that can provide university and nonprofit researchers with up to $100,000 for larger technology transfer efforts, with repayment coming from license fees.  Both programs continue to require at least a one-to-one dollar match of cash, salaries, staff time or equipment and in-kind contributions from the award recipient or other outside funders.
 

Legislative Update
 
Maine Innovation Economy Advisory Board
Recommendations for the 124th Legislature
 
Maintain the budgets of the key R&D investments including the Office of Innovation, Maine Technology Institute (including the Cluster funding), Maine Economic Improvement Fund, the Patent Program and the Technology Centers.

Support a R&D bond using the same competitive model as the 2007 initiative, but at the level originally recommended by the Council on Jobs, Innovation and the Economy, that is $150,000,000 over three years.
 
Expand our investment in innovation and entrepreneurship
 
Support a bond for $10,000,000 to recapitalize the Small Enterprise Growth Fund, Maine's venture capital fund.  SEGF is approaching full-investment and can support more high-growth Maine companies with new capitalization.
 
Support the revitalization of the Technology Centers program to support high-growth entrepreneurs, the source of all net job creation according to the Small Business Administration.  The Office of Innovation has proposed legislation to amend the program to better serve these clients.
 
Enhance the Seed Capital Tax Credit to create incentives for investors to put their funds into Maine companies and Maine venture funds by extending the 60% credit to all eligible investments.

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Maine Office of Innovation
MARCH Newsletter
 
Welcome to the March issue of Mainely Innovations. We encourage you to contribute your news and highlights by submitting information to jennifer.dechant@maine.gov.
Company News
Information on how companies and research institutions are moving Maine forward. 
 
 
Maine Center for Enterprise Development welcomes Campus Ventures sponsorship
 
KeyBank is this year's first sponsor of MCED's Campus Ventures, a program created to provide technical assistance, market development and technology commercialization expertise to start-up student and faculty created ventures.  The donation is the second of a three year commitment.
 
The Campus Ventures Program funds business counseling assistance directed to campus-created companies by the MCED. Approximately 25% of MCED's overall client base started their venture on a college campus.
 
 
International partnership formed for scientific software
 
BioAnalyte, Inc. of Portland and CovalX AG of Switzerland have entered into a co-development agreement that will lead to the release of new software for discovering how proteins interact in large complexes. Protein complexes are the basis of both disease and wellness.
 
CovalX, the second instrument company in the past year to retain BioAnalyte for data reduction and analysis, will use BioAnalyte to extend the capabilities of its ComplexTracker(TM) data reduction and analysis software to the rapidliy growing application space.
 
 
The Maine Institute for Human Genetics and Health welcomes new Managing Director
 
Claire Deselle, a former president and CEO of a start-up cancer diagnostic company in Indianapolis, Indiana, has joined MIHGH as the new managing director. Deselle offers more than 20 years of business and biopharmaceutical experience.  As Managing Director of Business Affairs, Deselle will be instrumental in the Institute's fiscal development, focusing on implementing collaboration and licensing strategies as well as developing a strong philanthropy program. 
Notes from the
Director of Office of Innovation

Catherine Renault highlights networking opportunities and underscores

Office of Innovation activities.
  
Recently the Governor released his investment strategy that includes making critical investments in energy independence, innovation and the environment. Acknowledging that the national recovery package cannot address all of Maine's needs, Governor Baldacci's bond package is designed to be a complement to the Recovery Act.
 
Some of the funding priorities identified last summer by the Maine Innovation Economy Advisory Board are included in the bond package. Specifically, this package included $45 million for research and development to be distributed by the Maine Technology Institute under the Maine Technology Asset Fund, and a $5 million bond for the recapitalization of the Small Enterprise Growth Fund.  
 
Public hearings on the bonds are scheduled for Wednesday, March 11, and we are sure that discussions will continue for some time - bonds require a two-thirds majority to pass. If enacted, Governor Baldacci's investment package will go to voters in two rounds of voting, with $265 million on the November ballot and $40.4 mill on the June 2010.
 
We are also tracking the budget which has some significant cuts to MTI, and a number of other bills of interest to the research and development community. Stay tuned.
 
Policy, Resources & Reports
Check for information on federal resources and research that will impact Maine and could impact your work in science and technology.
 
 
Business Incubators Are Best Investment of Public Dollars, Study Says
 
The White House Office of Management and Budget released "A New Era of Responsibility," President Barack Obama's budget outline for the fiscal year that will begin Oct. 1, 2009. That budget includes $50 million for the Department of Commerce to create "a nationwide network of public-private business incubators to encourage entrepreneurial activity in economically distressed areas." According to a research study conducted for the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration, business incubators provide communities with significantly greater results at less cost than do any other type of public works infrastructure project.


Complacency is a dangerous presumption
 
A new Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) report finds U.S. ranks last among 40 nations and regions in progress toward an innovation-based economy. The report uses 16 indicators in six key areas-human capital, innovation capacity, entrepreneurship, IT infrastructure, economic policy factors and economic performance-to assess the extent to which nations are able to compete on the basis of innovation. 
 
The report argues that the prevailing view among many Washington policymakers is that the United States has been number 1 for so long it will continue to be number 1. Given this situation, the thinking goes, there is no real need for the United States to develop and implement a national economic development or competitiveness strategy.   But this report finds that not only is the U.S. not number 1, but that its position is slipping rapidly.  Absent a coherent national innovation strategy, the U.S. position will likely continue to slip, and with it, relative U.S. living standards.
 
If the US hopes to use its innovation and entrepreneurial capacity as one pathway out of the current recession, it cannot simply assume innovations will simply emerge out of thin air. Instead, the report recommends a new innovation agenda that will help the US revitalize its entrepreneurial heritage, rebuild key institutions, and spark the next generation of global innovators.
Each newsletter will present information relevant to Company News, Funding & Research Announcements, Policy, Research & Resources along with Legislative Updates. Please feel free to contribute news and information relevant to your work. Forward your  information to jennifer.dechant@maine.gov.
 

Maine Office of Innovation

The Office of Innovation (click for more information) was established in 2004 by the Maine Legislature (5MRSA 13105) to "encourage and coordinate the State's research and development activities to foster collaboration among the State's higher education and nonprofit research institutes and the business community." The Maine Office of Innovation is a division within the Department of Economic and Community Development, Commissioner John G. Richardson.