CEI is an expert in rural business funding, development and financing. A private, nonprofit Community Development Corporation (CDC) and Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) based in Wiscasset, Maine, CEI was founded in 1977 to develop job-creating natural resources and small business ventures in rural regions of Maine, and has grown to serve business funding all of Maine, its primary market, and areas of northern New England and upstate New York. With its New Markets Tax Credit Program, CEI is able to invest in projects throughout rural America.
CEI does its work by funding, lending and investing in small and medium sized businesses, and providing business support and technical counseling services to those who need them. A pioneer in its field, CEI is one of the nation’s premiere rural CDC/CDFIs.
CEI has subsidiaries and affiliates that enable it to expand its programs and services, such as:
- CEI Capital Management, LLC manages CEI’s $683 million allocation under the New Markets Tax Credit program
- CEI Investment Notes, Inc., which provides a way for individuals and institutions to invest in the local economy in order to reap social, environmental and economic benefits, and
- CEI Ventures, Inc. and CEI Community Ventures, Inc., which invest venture capital in promising job-generating businesses
CEI embraces a comprehensive approach to building assets, linking business financing to job creation, entrepreneurship, sustainable development, policy advocacy and research. The organization operates in primarily rural markets where financial returns are not sufficient to attract traditional investment, but where CEI’s goal of achieving economic, social and environmental benefits can be satisfied.
Ron Phillips, President of CEI, speaks on public television’s “Conversations with Maine.”
Our mission is to help create economically and environmentally healthy communities in which all people, especially those with low incomes, can reach their full potential.
Vision of CEI: 2012
CEI in 2012 is a Maine-based organization with strategic expansions outside of Maine, serving more rural communities directly or through alliances and having an ever greater impact on poverty, which is documented with data. The organization has a high financial sustainability ratio, thanks to new and expanded sources of funds through private giving, public funds, and income from funds and venture capital.
CEI has a metric for looking at the balance of the 3 Es—economy, equity and environment—through all initiatives, and has a group in place measuring impact, scanning for opportunities, and developing policy. The board is broader, reflects CEI’s initiatives and geography, and is being used effectively.
CEI is innovative and entrepreneurial, leveraging its competencies for maximum impact on the targeted population: people and communities in poverty, left out of the economic mainstream, the underserved and at-risk populations.
CEI has a clear brand identity and has activated businesses and communities for policy development and fund-raising.
Justice – the right to political, economic, social and environmental justice
Diversity – enrichment of cultural, ethnic and racial representation from work, customers and partners
Entrepreneurship – an innovative, risk-taking culture
Collaboration – partnerships with stakeholders
Customer service – continually improve quality of service
Professional development – support growth of board and staff