CEI Receives President’s Award in Financial Structuring from National Development Council

May 15, 2015 (Wiscasset, ME)—Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI) is the winner of the National Development Council (NDC) Academy 2015 President’s Award in Financial Structuring, presented in Washington, D.C., this week. The 2015 Academy Awards honor innovative economic and community development projects and individuals that make a significantly impact in their communities.

Robert W. Davenport, President of NDC, selected CEI for the inaugural President’s Award for Financial Structuring for its role as the lead lender and organizer of the financing consortium that enabled 45 employees to purchase three stores on Deer Isle, ME, and establish the Island Employee Cooperative. CEI also provided significant technical support for the transaction through three of its programmatic arms: agriculture and food, workforce development, and business advising.

“Employees organized a cooperative to purchase three stores, establishing themselves as Maine’s largest worker co-op and second largest in New England,” said Mr. Davenport. “This is a forward thinking model of how small businesses can stay in business and save and create jobs in their communities.”

A team of financial institutions, service providers, and technical assistance providers, including CEI, Independent Retailers Shared Services Cooperative, Cooperative Development Institute, and Cooperative Fund of New England, worked over 2,800 hours to complete the conversion and purchase in 12 months, a short timeline for the complex $5.6 million project. It is now a national model for worker co-op conversions, grocery store succession planning, and creative financing.

“This financial transaction represents the best kind of collaboration to build wealth and opportunities in Maine’s rural communities,” said CEI Loan and Investment Officer Cole Palmer. “It is a clear example of what defines sustaining community.”

“We were honored to be recognized out of a pool of 90 submissions from communities across the country for this award,” said Daniel Wallace, CEI Program Developer, Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems. “In truth, our award is for the Island Employee Cooperative and all of the partners who worked so hard with us to keep jobs and local food access in rural Maine.”

About Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI)
Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI), one of the nation’s premier Community Development Corporations (CDCs) and Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), specializes in rural business development and financing. Founded in 1977 in Wiscasset, Maine, CEI helps create economically and environmentally healthy communities in which all people, especially those with low incomes, can reach their full potential. CEI provides financing and technical assistance to small and medium-sized businesses, natural resource-based industries including the farm, fish and forest sectors, community facilities, renewable energy, commercial real estate and affordable housing. CEI serves communities in Maine, New England, and rural regions throughout the U.S. Find out more at

About The NDC Academy The NDC Academy is a biennial conference of the National Development Council, which brings together economic and community development professionals from around the nation with policy makers, advocates and elected officials for high impact training, learning and networking. Former Governor of Michigan and president of the Business Roundtable, John Engler and Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Intergovernmental affairs at the White House, Jerry Abramson as keynote speakers.  John Engler welcomed the 400 plus participants at the event’s Keynote Lunch on the opening day, while Deputy Assistant Abramson addressed attendees during the Awards Luncheon held the final day of the conference. For more information on the NDC Academy, please visit:

About the National Development Council (NDC) NDC is a nonprofit that was established in 1969 to operate as one of the nation’s first socially motivated investment bank and community development advisors. We connect the nation’s vast financial resources to Main Street investment across America and create financial efficiency by leveraging the impact of every public dollar invested in overlooked communities across the nation that are home to millions of small businesses and middle class Americans working to achieve a good job and homeownership. NDC acts as a teacher, advisor, investor, developer and lender all in one, working tirelessly to increase the flow of investment capital, spur job creation and bring community development to America’s economically forgotten areas. NDC stands for quality of opportunity through Homes, Jobs and Communities. For more information about NDC, please visit:


CEI Launches New Mission-Oriented Small Business Lending Company

CEI 7(a) Financing LLC Offers Loans of up to $5 Million Throughout Contiguous U.S.

May 12, 2015 (Portland, ME)—Maine-based Community Development Finance Institution (CDFI) Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI) recently expanded its extensive range of financial and development services for small businesses by launching a new national Small Business Lending Company – one of a small number of non-bank lenders qualified to participate in the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA’s) flagship 7(a) lending program.

CEI 7(a) Financing LLC (C7a), a wholly-owned subsidiary of CEI, will make loans of up to $5 million to qualified small business borrowers. The 7(a) program’s purpose is to make loans available to viable small businesses – particularly in rural regions – that cannot otherwise obtain loans at reasonable terms from conventional sources.

C7a’s lending focus extends CEI’s mission to help create economically and environmentally healthy communities in which all people, especially those with low incomes, can reach their full potential. It expands CEI’s national portfolio, which includes a New Markets Tax Credit practice, venture capital funds, sustainable agriculture, fisheries, and forestry work, and policy initiatives focused on the Triple Bottom Line return on investment – economy, equity, environment.

“As one of the country’s leading and rural economic development practitioners, for over three decades CEI has sought innovative ways to move capital into communities that lack access to traditional business financing and community development resources,” said Ron Phillips, President and CEO of CEI. “Our model continues to evolve with new tools and strategies to help provide opportunity for all Americans in the 21st century.”

C7a’s lending activities enhance the existing financing programs and activities of CEI and economic development practitioners in other states. Its collaborative business model is based on providing complementary loan products and building an extensive referral and support network through partnerships with other economic developers, mission-based lenders, and business and industry consultants.

“There is clear demand and need for ethical, non-bank, small business lending capacity,” said Rob Wilson, C7a’s CEO. “The businesses that our economic development partners are referring to us as potential borrowers are seeking the loan product that C7a brings to the market.”

Chris Sikes, President and CEO of Western Massachusetts-based Common Capital, commented, “C7a understands the needs of small businesses as well as the opportunities to work with smaller, community-based, nonprofit lenders like us. C7a also extends CEI’s knowledge and willingness to collaborate in technically complex, large-scale national financing programs.”

C7a’s loans complement most CDFI’s existing loan products. With a range between $400,000 and $5,000,000, C7a’s loans are generally in excess of CDFI’s normal capacity or lending limits. The 7(a) program’s goal of providing affordable credit to businesses that cannot obtain it elsewhere, e.g. from a typical bank or commercial lender, allows C7a to finance viable businesses that fall short of bank credit criteria. Early stage companies seeking growth capital, principals pursuing acquisitions, successful operators with limited collateral, and experienced management repositioning companies have all benefited from the 7(a) program. Uses of loan proceeds are flexible and can include owner-occupied real estate acquisition, construction, or rehab, equipment purchase, long-term working capital, business acquisition (including good will) and working capital financing.

MTI and CEI Announce Collaborative Federal Grantee Loan Program

April 21, 2015 (Brunswick, Maine)–The Maine Technology Institute (MTI) and Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI) have created a collaborative loan program to provide lines of credit to Maine companies that win federal grant awards. Termed the Federal Grantee Loan Program, this initiative will provide bridge capital from CEI for those who receive federal awards to perform specific research and development work for a particular federal agency. The new loan program addresses challenging cash flow issues encountered with the various payment standards from the federal agencies. Future awardees of the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grants as well as the recipients of Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) awards will be able to arrange streamlined financing that helps to maintain cash and credit balances without the risk of high debt.

Eleven federal agencies participate in the SBIR/ STTR program and some agencies use the BAA process for early stage research and development. According to Karen West, MTI’s Technical Assistance Program Consultant, Maine businesses receive approximately $5 to 6 million in total SBIR/STTR awards annually. The size of the individual federal grants can range from under $100,000 to $1 million. BAA awards can be even larger, at several million dollars or more.

MTI, a private, non-profit organization that stimulates business investment in technology development across Maine’s seven key technology sectors, regularly works with Maine entrepreneurs and small businesses to help them qualify and apply for the grants. In the case of sizeable awards, the shortfall of operating cash threatens the success of the companies’ efforts, and they often seek financing from unconventional sources, such as credit cards.

“Entrepreneurs need ready access to cash while executing their projects, and this new Federal Grantee Loan Program from CEI helps fill that need. We are excited to partner with Coastal Enterprises on this vital effort,” states Brian Whitney, MTI’s Director.

CEI, a Maine non-profit Community Development Financial Institution, makes loans and equity investments in small and medium size businesses. “When we learned of the financing needs of Maine entrepreneurs through our special relationship with MTI, we saw an opportunity to provide capital to facilitate innovation by Maine businesses that have been awarded federal monies,” states Dick Clime, a CEI Development Specialist. “We now solve the cash flow problems that often go along with winning the awards and performing the work. This small initiative can provide a needed boost for start-up technology firms.” Additional information about the Federal Grantee Loans is available by contacting Karen West at MTI ( or Dick Clime at CEI (

About MTI
The Maine Technology Institute (MTI) is an industry-led, publicly-funded, nonprofit corporation that offers early-stage capital and commercialization assistance in the form of competitive grants, loans and equity investment for the research, development and application of technologies that create new products, processes and services, generating high-quality jobs across Maine.

The Maine Technology Institute was established by the Maine State Legislature in 1999. MTI, working with partners across the state, “shall encourage, promote, stimulate and support research and development activity leading to the commercialization of new products and services in the State’s technology-intensive industrial sectors to enhance the competitive position of those sectors and increase the likelihood that one or more of the sectors will support clusters of industrial activity and to create new jobs for Maine people.”

About CEI
Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI), one of the nation’s premier Community Development Corporations (CDCs) and Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), specializes in rural business development and financing. Founded in 1977 in Wiscasset, Maine, CEI creates economically and environmentally healthy communities in which all people, especially those with low incomes, can reach their full potential. CEI provides financing and technical assistance to small and medium-sized businesses, natural resource-based industries including the farm, fish and forest sectors, community facilities, renewable energy, commercial real estate and affordable housing. CEI serves communities in Maine, New England, and rural regions throughout the U.S. Find out more at


Local Startup Heads to National InnovateHER Business Competition

April 17, 2015 (Wiscasset, ME)—Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI) congratulates Bitzy Baby® co-founders Whitney and Seabren Reeves of Brunswick, Maine, who were selected this week by the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA’s) Office of Women Business Ownership and the InnovateHER team as finalists in the SBA’s 2015 InnovateHER Business Challenge. As finalists, the Bitzy Baby® founders will compete for the top three awards and a total of $30,000 in prize money during a live pitch competition in Washington, D.C. on May 8th as part of SBA’s National Small Business Week.

“We are honored by such incredible support networks that understand of the importance of creating products focused on improving life for all people, from generation to generation, with positive and measurable impact on women and families,” said Whitney and Seabren Reeves, co-founders of Bitzy Baby®. “We are excited to be representing Maine and continuing our goal to make safer infant sleeping environments, because we all begin bitzy.”

The Women’s Business Center at CEI hosted a local InnovateHER Business Challenge as part of Southern Maine Community College’s Launch or Grow Small Business Success Conference in March. Bitzy Baby® was selected by a panel of judges as the winner of that challenge. The company then moved on to become a semi-finalist in the SBA’s national InnovateHER competition.

Bitzy Baby® is a parent company founded by Whitney & Seabren Reeves, who invented and utility patented the successfully commercialized Bitzy Bumper® a JPMA Innovation Award Finalist. In 2014, the company was selected to participate in ScaleUp Portland, part of the SBA’s nation-wide business development pilot program ScaleUp America. The Reeves are thought leaders in the juvenile products industry, and have served on the ASTM International (American Society for Testing and Materials) Infant Bedding Sub-Committee since 2011.

“We are very excited that Bitzy Baby® was chosen as one of 15 national finalists out of a pool of 75 semi-finalist businesses from around the country to compete at the national level as part of the SBA’s National Small Business Week,” said Sarah Guerette of CEI’s Women’s Business Center, organizer of the Maine InnovateHER Business Challenge. “The quality and safety of their products positively impact women and families, one of the major goals of InnovateHER.”

About CEI
Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI), one of the nation’s premier Community Development Corporations (CDCs) and Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), specializes in rural business development and financing. Founded in 1977 in Wiscasset, Maine, CEI creates economically and environmentally healthy communities in which all people, especially those with low incomes, can reach their full potential. CEI provides financing and technical assistance to small and medium-sized businesses, natural resource-based industries including the farm, fish and forest sectors, community facilities, renewable energy, commercial real estate and affordable housing. CEI serves communities in Maine, New England, and rural regions throughout the U.S. Find out more at

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New Coalition Advocates for “Ultra Fast” Internet in Maine

Multi-year effort begins with “flood of broadband bills” in Augusta

April 16, 2015 (Rockport, Maine)–Maine may have experienced a crucial turning point last summer, when a commentator for Bloomberg Television in New York City compared the state to a “developing nation,” citing in particular the poor quality and speed of its Internet services.

The critique reverberated loudly around the region, and today a collection of Maine businesses, municipalities and non-profit organizations responded by announcing that they have formed the Maine Broadband Coalition (MBC). Their goal is to help state policy leaders map out a sensible solution to the problem.

The group has established a web site (, and published its first YouTube video ( Supporters of the coalition testified on several bills last week in front of the legislature’s Joint Committee on Energy, Utilities and Technology. According to its web site, “An important goal of the MBC is to assemble cogent, fact-based information to help public policy makers and Maine citizens make the best choices about building a robust and productive information technology infrastructure — decisions we are all facing right now. We welcome one and all to this effort.”

Some legislators have marveled at the number of broadband bills — well more than thirty — that have been introduced during the current legislative session. But Alan Caron, President of Envision Maine (, said he’s not surprised by the “flood of broadband bills” that the legislature and the governor’s staff are studying.

“More and more people are seeing that if we build ultra-fast Internet networks, all across the state, more people will come here,” Caron said. “More young people will stay and our entrepreneurs and businesses will compete with anyone in the world. If we don’t make those investments now, we’re going to continue to pay the price with a weak economy, falling further behind.“

Carla Dickstein is the senior VP for research and policy development at CEI ( an organization founded in Wiscasset that bills itself as “a national leader in rural business development.” Dickstein said MBC has been organizing for several months, but is not limiting its lifespan to the current legislative session.

“This group has come together very quickly, and in the end I expect it to be very broad, diverse, and to endure for several years. Building a world-class infrastructure for Maine is truly comparable to what rural electrification was in the 1920s and 1930s; it’s a monumental undertaking,” Dickstein said.

Dickstein said MBC is recruiting supporters from municipalities, business and industry, research labs, social justice organizations, educational institutions, libraries, healthcare and agriculture.

The “founding supporters” of the Maine Broadband Coalition include AARP Maine, The Aroostook Partnership for Progress, Axiom Technologies, Blue Marble Geographics, CEI, Cornerstone Communications, Dream Local Digital, Envision Maine, Full Circle America, Grow Smart Maine, GWI, Health Info Net, The Island Institute, Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development, Maine Farmland Trust, Maine Fiber Company, Maine Mayors’ Coalition, Maine Media Workshops + College, Mobilize Maine, NBT Solutions, Networkmaine, Northern Maine Development Commission, Pioneer Broadband, Piscataquis County Economic Development Council, Sanford Regional Economic Growth Council, Small Business Advocate (ME Secretary of State), Town of Isleboro, Town of Orono, Town of Rockport, City of South Portland, and the Washington County Fiber Initiative.

Maine Broadband Coalition (MBC) is an informal federation of public policy professionals, educational institutions, businesses, non-profit organizations and individuals who care deeply about Maine’s economic future. For more information visit


State says 80 percent of Mainers ‘unserved’ by broadband,” Whit Richardson, Portland Press Herald:

Maine’s Big Problem: Why Is Internet Service So Bad?” Bloomberg Television:

Maine’s Slow Internet Service Rivaling Developing Nations,” Bloomberg Television:




Three CEI Clients are SBA 2015 Award Winners

April 9, 2015, Wiscasset, Maine–Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet, the head of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), announced today this year’s Small Business Person of the Year winners from the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Heidi V. Neal, Owner of the Loyal Biscuit Co. of Rockland, Camden, Belfast, and Waterville, Maine, was nominated by CEI and named Small Business Person of the Year for Maine. A panel is currently reviewing all the packages and a national winner and two runners-up will be selected and announced at a future date.  The national winner will be recognized as the 2015 National Small Business Person of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration this year in Washington, D.C., May 8.

The SBA also named Kate McAleer, CEO & Co-Owner of Bixby & Co., LLC as Maine’s Young Entrepreneur of the Year, and Paula and Stephen Farrar, Owners of Done Roving Yarns, as Home-Based Business Champions for Maine and New England. The three business owners were also nominated by CEI.

“Done Roving Yarn won the New England competition because of its staying power, innovativeness and ability to respond to adversity,” said Seth Goodall, SBA New England Regional Administrator in a press release. “SBA is pleased to have supported this impressive rural business with a guaranteed loan in participation with Camden National Bank.”

“Done Roving Yarns was reborn from a business that failed in 2005 due to the aftermath following a freak catastrophic event, which left them faced with staggering medical bills, rebuilding a business and plummeting credit scores,” said Ruth Cash-Smith of the Women’s Business Center, who nominated the Farrars for this award. “The turnaround this business has undergone in the past four years is truly remarkable and the Farrars are ever so deserving of this award.”

Of Kate McAleer, Marilyn Geroux, SBA District Director for Maine, said, “It is always wonderful to see the creativity and determination that young entrepreneurs like Kate bring to their businesses. It is a particular pleasure to select a business that has decided to relocate to Maine, as Bixby has done.

Bixby & Co. LLC is located in Rockland. The company was started in 2011 by Ms. McAleer as an organic producer of chocolate bars. In 2013, the company moved to Maine from New York state. Since the move, Ms. McAleer has participated in numerous entrepreneurial development opportunities, such as Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development’s “Top Gun” program, Gorham Savings Bank’s “Launchpad” competition, and the Women’s Business Center at CEI.

“Always on the lookout for opportunities for growth, Kate has steered this ever-growing family-owned company into national distribution in an amazingly short amount of time,” said Ruth Cash-Smith of the Women’s Business Center, who nominated Ms. McAleer for this award. “No longer an untried newcomer to the complex and difficult world of wholesale chocolate manufacturing, Bixby & Co. is now ably navigating new waters in terms of determining how best to strategically grow their company, according to their own values and mission” she added.

The Maine Awardees will be honored at an SBA reception on May 5th, 2015 at the Augusta Country Club in Manchester.



CEI Sponsors Fish 2.0 Competition, Connects Seafood Businesses with Investors

April 9, 2015, Wiscasset, Maine – New England fisheries and aquaculture businesses are invited to apply to participate in Fish 2.0, an innovative business competition designed to advance sustainable seafood businesses and connect them with investors. Maine-based Community Development Finance Institution (CDFI) Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI) is a sponsor of the competition, which gives seafood businesses an opportunity to gain visibility, find strategic partners and, ultimately, garner new investments in the range of $100,000 to over $10 million. Investors gain early access to new deals and learn how sustainable seafood can help build their portfolios. The deadline for businesses to sign up for the competition is April 27. Businesses can apply at

In this year’s competition, businesses from around the world will vie for over $180,000 in cash and service prizes, along with direct connections to industry leaders. During the competition finals at Stanford University in November, 36 finalists will present their ideas to investors. Fish 2.0 is open to both established companies and early-stage enterprises, and there is no fee to enter. Maine’s Acadia Harvest was a runner-up in the Fish 2.0 finals last year.

“CEI has a 35-year history of investing in fisheries and aquaculture, and we’ve seen both financial and impact performance from these deals,” says Dick Clime CEI’s Working Waterfront Project Developer, who served as a competition advisor last year. “Fish 2.0 draws a large number of new, quality businesses to the attention of investors, and also enables them to develop their business plans and access needed capital.”

This year, more than 15 corporate industry leaders, investors and philanthropists, including CEI, Pentair, Google Oceans Program and RSF Social Finance, have joined together to support the Fish 2.0 competition. The breadth of sponsors reflects a growing interest in the seafood sector among investors with expertise in technology, supply chain operations and food systems.

“Investors see rising demand for sustainable seafood products and an industry that is ripe for innovation,” says Monica Jain, Fish 2.0 founder. “Many in the seafood sector see these opportunities, too. They have plans to grow their businesses and reach new markets—but they struggle to identify the right investors. Fish 2.0 connects these groups.”

Investors come to Fish 2.0 with a variety of interests, ranging from supply chain logistics to community development. (They may sign up as competition advisors and judges via

“Fish 2.0 is the best thing I’ve ever done in the context of my business,” says Dane Chauvel of Organic Ocean Seafood, a 2013 competition finalist. “We exceeded revenue projections by 10 percent last year and are on track to realize a 30 percent year-over-year increase in revenue this year. This wouldn’t have happened in the absence of Fish 2.0—it accelerated our path and provided a networking opportunity that we never would have gained otherwise.”

“We believe sustainable aquaculture will play a big role in the future of food production globally,” says Todd Gleason, senior vice president of growth for Pentair, a global company with $7 billion in revenue that is also a sponsor. “We’re excited to support the growth of innovation in the sector.”

During the 2013 competition,160 businesses applied and 21 finalists presented to a room of over 100 investors. Many of these companies report great growth in the past year. As Jain explains, “In 2013, we were simply showing people that there were great business opportunities in sustainable seafood; now we’re showing people the breadth and depth of the sector—we’re excited for more businesses and investors to join us in 2015.”

CEI Names David Wedick as New Chief Financial Officer

Wiscasset, Maine—Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI) has hired David Wedick of South Portland, Maine, to become its new CFO, starting May 18th. Since 2009, David has worked at MicroVest Capital Management, most recently as Director of Strategic Operations and Business Development. MicroVest is an asset management group headquartered in Bethesda, MD, that invests private capital into under-banked emerging markets to increase access to capital for micro, small and medium enterprises.

“We landed an individual we believe has exceptional talent to help CEI in its growth and impact,” said Ron Phillips, CEI President and CEO.  “David’s range of analytic skills is applicable to CEI’s complex array of financial accounting, asset management, capital formation, and strategic modeling and forecasting. David has demonstrated a personal commitment to an underlying mission of creating access to finance for people, places and economic sectors aspiring to greater economic opportunity. He is a great communicator and we believe will firmly enhance both CEI’s internal financial management requirements as well as external relationships with funders and investors.”

David Wedick

David Wedick

David graduated with a Master’s degree in economics and mathematics from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. He is a CFA® charterholder and is a member of the CFA Society Maine. A native of the United Kingdom, David launched his career as an equity research analyst at J.P. Morgan in London, and was subsequently recruited by Trade Aid Tanzania to help establish a microfinance lending program in the rural southern region of Mtwara.  In Tanzania, he met his future American wife, originally from Fairfield, Maine, who was working as a Peace Corps volunteer in a neighboring village, and who is now a Masters in Public Health candidate at the University of Southern Maine. Prior to joining MicroVest, David was the general manager of E-Fulusi Africa, a mobile banking technology startup, also located in Tanzania.

“For the last eight years I have focused on building financial markets that work to serve low-income communities in a profitable, sustainable and ethical manner,” said David Wedick. “I am excited by the opportunity to join the CEI senior staff at a crucial juncture in the organization’s growth path and to directly contribute to preserving the integrity of both CEI’s financial strength and mission.”

CEI’s Board of Directors Elects New Leadership

March 24, 2015 – At its 37th Annual Meeting on March 10, 2015, CEI was pleased to announce the election of Ellen Seidman as the new Chair of its Board of Directors, Betsy Biemann as Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors, and Chip Newell as a new Member of the Board of Directors.

Ellen Seidman is currently a Senior Fellow at the Urban Institute, focusing on housing finance and community development. She is also a Research Fellow of the Filene Research Institute. In 2012, she was appointed to the Consumer Advisory Board of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Ms. Seidman directed the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Thrift Supervision from 1997 to 2001. From 2002 through 2010, Ms. Seidman held various positions at ShoreBank Corporation and its affiliates. Ms. Seidman has also been Senior Counsel to the Democratic Staff, House Financial Services Committee (2001-02), Special Assistant to the President for Economic Policy (1993-1997), and has held senior positions at Fannie Mae, the Department of the Treasury and the Department of Transportation. She chairs the board of Aeris Insight , which is the assessment and ratings system for the Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) industry, is a founder and a member of the board of the Center for Financial Services Innovation, and is on the Board of City First Bank of DC, a CDFI bank. Ellen graduated with an A.B. from Radcliffe College, a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center, and an M.B.A. from George Washington University. She is a resident of Washington, D.C., and Spruce Head, Maine.

Betsy Biemann advises companies, nonprofit organizations, foundations and government agencies on strategies to drive innovation, growth and economic opportunity. She currently leads the Maine Food Cluster Project of the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government at Harvard University. From 2005 to 2012 she served as president of the Maine Technology Institute (MTI). Under her leadership, MTI’s focus shifted from investing in promising technologies to growing technology companies, and its portfolio of investments and grants expanded from $15M to $75M. Betsy joined MTI after serving as an associate director at The Rockefeller Foundation in New York City, where she managed a national grant and investment program aiming to increase employment in low-income communities. She also oversaw Rockefeller’s equity investments in community development venture capital funds and loans to social enterprises. Betsy joined Rockefeller’s staff in 1996, after working in international development, principally in Africa. Betsy serves on the CEI Investment Notes Advisory Board and on the Board of Directors of the Elmina B. Sewall Foundation and is a member of the Maine Angel network. Betsy graduated with a B.A. from Harvard University and an M.P.A from Princeton University. She lives in Brunswick, Maine, with her husband, Sean Callahan, and two children. Betsy joined the CEI board in 2012.

Chip Newell is a principal in The NewHeight Group, a real estate development and marketing consulting firm. Chip’s 35-year real estate career includes extensive experience from complex mixed-use urban projects to single-family homes. In the spring of 2015, NewHeight is completing development of 118 on Munjoy Hill, a 12-unit condominium building that is bringing a new level of building quality and energy efficiency to Portland, Maine’s multifamily market. Chip graduated with an A.B. from Bowdoin College in Economics and M.B.A in Finance and Accounting from Rutgers University. Chip is currently on the board and is Treasurer of Maine Center for Economic Development. He is also on the board of Community Housing of Maine, on the finance committee for the Boothbay Region Land Trust, and is on the Maine Community Foundation Cumberland County Committee, and the boards of Community Investments of Maine and CEI Investment Notes. Chip is a resident of Portland, Maine.

About CEI
Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI), one of the nation’s premier Community Development Corporations (CDCs) and Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), specializes in rural business development and financing. Founded in 1977 in Wiscasset, Maine, CEI creates economically and environmentally healthy communities in which all people, especially those with low incomes, can reach their full potential. CEI provides financing and technical assistance to small and medium-sized businesses, natural resource-based industries including the farm, fish and forest sectors, community facilities, renewable energy, commercial real estate and affordable housing. CEI serves communities in Maine, New England, and rural regions throughout the U.S. Find out more at

CEI’s Ellen Golden Inducted into the Maine Women’s Hall of Fame

March 19, 2015 — In observation of Women’s History Month, the Maine Women’s Hall of Fame honors two new inductees: Ellen F. Golden, Senior Vice President at CEI, Founder of the Women’s Business Center at CEI, and a Founding Board Member of the Maine Women’s Policy Center; and Dr. Barbara W. Woodlee of Vassalboro, longtime president of Kennebec Valley Community College, who has helped pave the way for women in higher education. The nomination of Ellen F. Golden was sponsored by Ronald L. Phillips, President and CEO of CEI. The nomination of Dr. Barbara W. Woodlee was sponsored by Dr. John Fitzsimmons, President of the Maine Community College System.

Ellen Golden, Managing Director, CEI Notes

Ellen Golden, Managing Director, CEI Notes

Ellen Golden, Senior Vice President at CEI, oversees CEI Investment Notes, LLC, a 501(c)(3) CEI affiliate that mobilizes capital from individual and institutional investors to support CEI’s financing activity. The struggle for the recognition and achievement of the rights of women has a dedicated champion in Ellen Golden. Her decision to make a positive difference in women’s rights comes from a lifetime commitment to social and economic justice and knowledge of the history and current conditions of women in our society. In both her personal and professional lives, Ellen has been an advocate for the needs and rights of women in general and for the needs and rights of women business owners in particular.

In the mid-1980s, with the aid and support of CEI, a private nonprofit community development corporation, Ellen found an ideal position from which to work on behalf of Maine’s women business owners. She discovered that although women were starting businesses at twice the rate of men, there was little information about their experiences. Her subsequent pioneering research helped to define the characteristics of and challenges facing Maine women entering a traditionally man’s world.

Action followed research. In collaboration with Maine technical college system, Ellen organized a statewide series of seminars for women business owners. For a more permanent resource, Ellen started the state’s first targeted business counseling program for women at CEI. Its Women’s Business Center, with funding from the US Small Business Administration (SBA), has helped over 15,000 Maine women start and manage their businesses. To ensure the continuity of this work, Ellen has hired and coached younger women who currently staff the WBC. Ellen has also promoted micro and small business financing—at CEI, in Maine and nationally—to increase financing for women business owners. As a result, more than 1,000 women entrepreneurs across the state have received over $46 million in capital from CEI.

Her tenure as a board member of the Maine Women’s Lobby illustrates her role as a volunteer. In the early 1990’s, she chaired an Economics Task Force which turned its attention to sexual harassment as a barrier to economic security. The result was first in the nation legislation mandating workplace training in sexual harassment. Ultimately, the task force led to the founding of the Maine Women’s Policy Center, the Lobby’s sister organization which improves the social, political and economic status of Maine women and girls through research, education and leadership development. When she returned to the Lobby Board in 2008, her experience with organizational development helped the Lobby through a leadership transition and prepared it to move forward as an important resource for Maine women and girls.

Dr. Barbara W. Woodlee’s long and successful career in education has been defined by her commitment to improving the lives of her students. At Kennebec Valley Community College in Fairfield, where she served as president for 28 years, the majority of those students were women, many of them low-income, many of them single mothers, who Barbara believed in and on whose behalf she worked tirelessly. Her goal: to help them achieve their educational goals and build a more secure future for themselves and their families.

Throughout her presidency, Dr. Woodlee sought to increase access to education for Maine women by designing and building programs—in health care and other fields—that met their needs and held the promise of good paying jobs. Many women from throughout Maine jump-started their lives and careers by earning a credential from Kennebec Valley Community College.

For over three decades, Dr. Woodlee has worked to remove barriers to higher education for Maine people. She has built numerous partnerships among colleges and worked to ease transfer between two- and four-year degree programs, not only for students from KVCC but for those enrolled in all of Maine’s community colleges. Again and again, she has taken strong stands on issues she believes to be in the best interest of students. She has been a strong advocate for low- and moderate-income students and has worked to keep tuition low, even when her college faced extremely challenging budget realities. Community college students from throughout the state have benefited from this advocacy for low tuition rates and greater financial assistance, and today, the Maine Community Colleges have the lowest tuition and fees in New England.

Dr. Woodlee holds the distinction of being the first woman president within the Maine Community College System, and she now serves as the System’s chief academic officer. By taking on these challenges (while raising four children), she has opened the door to other women to assume leadership positions within the System. To them, she has served as a mentor, a coach, and a supportive colleague.

Throughout her career, Dr. Barbara W. Woodlee has demonstrated that women can use the power of kindness, confidence, persistence and personal presence to lead and advance in their careers, to support the careers of others, and to fight for a cause. In addition to her work at KVCC, she has given her time and energy to improving the lives of others in her community and across the state, serving as Chair of the Board of MaineGeneral Health; on the inaugural Board of Displaced Homemakers (now Women, Work, and Community); and in volunteer leadership positions with the Maine Science and Technology Foundation, State Workforce Incentive Board, and Jobs for Maine’s Graduates. In the process, she has earned the deep respect and affection of those who have had the good fortunate to work with her.

Dr. Woodlee is a proven leader, reliable friend, and dedicated colleague, who has contributed significantly to the welfare of others, leaving an indelible mark on the State of Maine.

The Maine Federation of Business and Professional Women established the Maine Women’s Hall of Fame in 1990, to honor women who have made an outstanding contribution to improving opportunities for all Maine women. The BPW/Maine Futurama Foundation and the University of Maine at Augusta are co-sponsors of the Maine Women’s Hall of Fame.

The three criteria for selection to be included are (1) woman’s achievements have had a significant statewide impact, (2) woman’s achievements significantly improved the lives of women in Maine, and (3) woman’s contribution has enduring value for women.