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 R. Trafton
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Mark's Business Tip of the Month:
Mark Ouellette, Office of Business Development Director.
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
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.
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
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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
TechMaine, the bill's benefits include:
the availability of funding for innovative companies
the State's venture capital (VC) culture and infrastructure
the number of jobs in high-growth, knowledge businesses
the profile of innovative Maine companies
a competitive investment market in the state
investment funds through syndication
commercialization of R&D efforts
to State economy
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.
Company Collaborates to
Create Clean Energy
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.
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
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.
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.
information, visit www.fluidimaging.com.
Office of Community Development Awards $1.5 Million in Community Development Block Grant
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
- 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.
Enterprise funding for
business facades, micro-enterprise grants
$123,000 to Sanford
$42,000 to Dexter
These funds allow great flexibility for downtown community
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
Taste of Maine
Chris Davis of the Pemaquid Oyster Company serves a guest at the Taste of Maine event.
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.
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!