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Maine Connections   May 2010
Thaxter Trafton

Greetings from DECD!

Recently Mark Ouellette and I went to Downeast Maine, the City of Eastport to be precise, and we saw some great economic activity and exciting new job creation. We were part of a group touring the City's port expansion, growing aquaculture industry and new tidal energy venture.

We learned about the Port's possible expansion which would take advantage of the City's deep port in Cobscook Bay and we visited the salmon farms at Cooke Aquaculture to check in on the region's aquaculture. We also saw Ocean Renewable Power's pilot tidal turbine generator (which was detailed in last month's issue of Connections).

It was exciting to see firsthand how Eastport is embracing economic opportunities and bringing new jobs to the area. Mainer's innovative spirit and our exemplary work ethic are drawing attention from around the world, and right now, Eastport is making headlines.

I look forward to sharing other news from across the State with you and hope you enjoy this issue's articles.

All the best,

Thaxter Trafton signature
Thaxter R. Trafton

In This Issue
Mark's Business Tip
Maine Film Office incentives
Trade Mission to Turkey
Innovation Gets Capital
FlowCAM Biofuel project
New CDBG funds
Taste of Maine
Upcoming Events
DECD assistance programs
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Mark's Business Tip of the Month:
Mark Ouellette, Office of Business Development Director.
Mark Ouellette

Get to know your local Business Development Specialist. The BDS folks are your regional source for business assistance. They understand the ins-and-outs of Maine's economic development programs, like Pine Tree Zone certification and other tax incentives, and can help you navigate the many programs available to help your business grow and succeed. They are located strategically throughout the state and work hard to make doing business in Maine simple. To find your area's specialist, click here!


  New Incentives to Grow Maine's Film Industry


Everyone who lives in Maine knows how beautiful it is year-round and now we may get to share our state's beauty will many more on the silver screen. On April 14, friends and members of Maine's film industry gathered in Governor Baldacci's Office where he held a ceremony to celebrate the signing of LD 1449, "An Act To Expand Tax Incentives for Visual Media Productions." The new tax incentives makes changes to incentives to encourage Maine production companies to use Maine for their projects, helping our film industry and economy grow. Film production grows Maine's economy through direct spending, new jobs, skills training and tourism.


Film, television and commercial production companies that spend $75,000 or more in Maine may take advantage of the Maine Visual Media Incentive Plan. They can receive tax rebates equal to 12% of qualified wages paid to Maine residents working on a certified production and 10% of nonresident wages, plus 5% tax credit for non wage production spending. Tax incentives like these help make Maine more competitive and appealing to out-of-state film production companies looking to film here as well. 

"In all the productions I've seen with footage shot here, Maine plays a starring role; the scenes just 'pop'," says Lea Girardin, director of the Maine Film Office. "These incentives will encourage the growth of Maine's production industry and attract other projects to Maine."

The legislation the Governor signed ensures that eligible productions must be certified by the Department of Economic and Community Development.


The bill also calls for the Maine State Film Office to report annually to the Legislature on the implementation of the credit and reimbursement program.

Governor Baldacci and friends of Maine's Film Industry gather to celebrate the signing of LD 1449 including Representatives Tom Watson and Linda Valentino of the Taxation Committee and Lea Girardin, director of the Maine Film Office.
MFo Bill signing


 Trade Mission to Turkey Highlights

The Eastern Trade Council (ETC) led a Business Trade Mission to Turkey from March 15-18, 2010. ETC is a regional export promotion collaboration and its member states are Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Puerto Rico. The Maine International Trade Center was very involved with the organization of the Mission as Zeynep Turk, a Senior Trade Specialist at the Trade Center is a native of Turkey. 


The emphasis for this mission was on customized matchmaking meetings. Delegates also met with key contacts from Turkish businesses, U.S. executives already successfully operating in Turkey, government officials, trade specialists, and others. This mission provided delegates with important networking opportunities and market intelligence to help them successfully expand into this dynamic market.  The delegation had business matchmaking meetings in Istanbul and Ankara and participated in networking receptions at the residences of the Consul General in Istanbul and the Ambassador in Ankara.


The businesses that participated from Maine were: SPX Dielectric, Lee Academy and Maine Central Institute.  The mission comprised of 7 businesses in a variety of sectors such as interior decorating, industrial gas production, education, defense, telecommunications, and planetarium technologies. 


Turkey is the 15th largest economy in the world, and the 7th in European Union. Turkey's population is approximately 77 million and has the youngest median age in Europe. Istanbul, the largest city in Turkey, is located both in Europe and Asia, and is separated by the Bosporus Strait.  Istanbul's population is approximately 16 million people. 


This photo of the ETC delegation is taken at the U.S. Istanbul Council General's residence, you can see the Bosporus and Bosporus Bridge (connecting the two continents) in the background. 


If you are interested in getting more information on trade with Turkey, please contact Zeynep Turk at turk@mitc.com.

Maine Approves $20 Million Program to Invest in Innovation


LD 1, "An Act To Stimulate Capital Investment for Innovative Businesses in Maine" was signed into law on April 14. A new Innovation Finance Program will invest in high-quality, professionally managed venture firms who have made a commitment to consider equity investments in businesses located within the state. The program will provide needed capital that will build a pool of private equity investment in emerging technology start-ups and ideas, thereby helping Maine to secure a competitive advantage in New England.

This legislation allows the Maine Public Employees Retirement System to invest $20 million of its pension funds into venture capital funds - a much needed boost for Maine's innovation. The Finance Authority of Maine is authorized to approve refundable tax credits equal to up to 80 percent of investments.

"This is an extremely important piece of legislation for the innovation community. We need to increase the amount of venture capital in the state to support the commercialization of new ideas," says Dr. Catherine Renault, director of the Office of Innovation. "This legislation is also another way to increase investments in a sector that produces high paying jobs."

The Innovation Finance Program was initiated by TechMaine which has worked over the past several legislative sessions to bring Maine state legislators and government executives together with venture capital partners and other successful Fund managers to develop legislation for Maine. 

According to TechMaine, the bill's benefits include:

  • Stimulates the availability of funding for innovative companies
  • Increases the State's venture capital (VC) culture and infrastructure
  • Increases the number of jobs in high-growth, knowledge businesses
  • Elevates the profile of innovative Maine companies
  • Creates a competitive investment market in the state
  • Leverages investment funds through syndication
  • Supports commercialization of R&D efforts
  • Matched to State economy

The Maine Public Employees Retirement System already invests in venture capital funds, but not those in Maine. The passage of the bill creates an incentive for Maine's worker's funds to work for Maine innovation.

MTI-funded Company Collaborates to Create Clean Energy



Turn algae from the sea into fuel? It's true! A Maine-made instrument that counts, categorizes and produces high resolution images of microscopic particles found in fluids will now be used as an important component in a groundbreaking algae-to-biofuel research project. The state-of-the-art FlowCAM®, produced by Fluid Imaging Technologies of Yarmouth, will monitor the performance of BioMarine Fuels' proprietary SolarMagnatron™, an algae biomass reactor that efficiently propagates lipid-containing algae to be processed into biodiesel and other high market value bio-fuels and chemicals.


Fluid Imaging's CEO, Kent Peterson, commented, "The FlowCAM was originally developed for algal analysis, so it is optimally suited to serve in this burgeoning, global market. What's more, it is rewarding for Fluid Imaging to participate as part of an environmentally friendly solution to the growing problem of fossil fuel shortages and excessive carbon emissions, in that algae actually sequesters carbon as part of its life cycle to produce an oil content known as lipids."


Fluid Imaging has received a number of MTI awards to help develop the
The FlowCAM
company's FlowCAM technology. The technology has gained international attention in the oceanography, water monitoring and industrial markets. Most recently, Fluid Imaging was awarded the 2010 Maine International Trade and Investment  Award as Exporter of the Year.


Founded in 1999 as a spinoff from Bigelow Laboratory, Fluid Imaging manufactures FlowCAM desktop, portable and submersible instrumentation for rapid characterization, imaging and monitoring of particles and cells in fluids. The instrument is used in oceanographic research, as well as for monitoring municipal water supplies, food and beverages, pharmaceutical formulations, biofuels, chemicals, plastics and other industrial applications.


For more information, visit www.fluidimaging.com.

  Office of Community Development Awards $1.5 Million in Community Development Block Grant Funding 


The Office of Community Development has announced grant awards totaling $1,515,000 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding. The CDBG program is an important resource for Maine communities to maintain public services and strengthen local infrastructures.

The funding falls under the Downtown Revitalization and Community Enterprise  programs. These programs are designed to enhance downtown and village areas of Maine communities and promote economic opportunities.

Downtown Revitalization funding:

  • Rockland has been granted $600,000 for downtown improvements. Rockland is a Main Street Maine community and has been actively improving the inner city area for several years.

Community Enterprise funding for business facades, micro-enterprise grants and streetscapes:

  • $150,000 to Ellsworth

  • $150,000 to Cherryfield

  • $150,000 to Skowhegan

  • $150,000 to Madawaska

  • $150,000 to Monson

  • $123,000 to Sanford

  • $115,000 to Kennebunk

  • $42,000 to Dexter 

These funds allow great flexibility for downtown community based improvements.


Funding for the CDBG program is provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development through an annual allocation to Office of Community Development.  For more information call Michael Baran at 624-9816 or Terry Ann Stevens at 624-9814.

Taste of Maine

Chris Davis of the Pemaquid Oyster Company serves a guest at the Taste of Maine event.
Taste of Maine

On April 27, two dozen Maine companies gathered in New York City to collaboratively promote Maine to New York area media. This annual event, the Taste of Maine Media Marketplace, provides an opportunity for Maine companies of all sizes to showcase what they think is special about the state and their product, from lobster to resort hotels. Hosted by the Maine Office of Tourism, the Taste of Maine invites pre-screened and qualified media contacts to attend the show and visit with the companies to educate them on what's new and exciting in Maine, enticing them to visit Maine and write about their experience. This year, attendees included editors and writers from the Today Show, O - The Oprah Magazine, Travel + Leisure and The Martha Stewart Show.

Upcoming Events:

June: Maine International Trade Day - June 3, 2010, The Samoset Resort in Rockport. Maine International Trade Day is the state's premier international business event with more than 250 leading professionals from Maine, New England, and Canada discussing the latest experiences, opportunities, and challenges for international trade.

Registration Deadline is May 26 - click here to register now!