Three CEI Clients Win 2017 SBA Awards

April 14, 2017–Every year the Small Business Administration (SBA) recognizes exceptional small business owners in a variety of categories at the state and national level. This year, three CEI-nominated businesses are award winners. Joshua Broder, CEO of Tilson Technology Management, was named Maine and New England’s Veteran-Owned Small Business of the Year. The Minority-Owned Small Business of the Year award went to Naima Abdirhmon of ARWO Learning Center. Kate Beever of Maine Music & Health was recognized as Maine’s Micro-Enterprise of the Year.


Kate Beever, Founder of Maine Music & Health

“I am grateful to the SBA for this award,” said Ms. Beever.  “It feels good to have worked hard to create a business in an underrepresented field, and this recognition pushes me to keep going. I look forward to further collaborations with local arts and healthcare organizations in our beautiful state,” she added.

Read more about Kate, Josh and Naime in our Success Stories.

2016 Annual Impact Report

Every business that starts or grows—whether a Washington County farm, a New Mainer’s new business in Portland, a solar array in Massachusetts or a peanut processing facility in Georgia—generates a ripple effect of greater self-sufficiency, resilience and economic mobility. We are honored to share the economic journey of people and businesses in rural regions, and to help create jobs, environmental sustainability, and shared prosperity. We welcome your engagement in, and support for, our work.

CEI’s 2016 Impact Report is available now! Take a look and be in touch.

New Video: Broadband in Maine

“For the past two years we have been interested in how CEI can stimulate more local broadband development in Maine. We heard from the Maine Broadband Coalition that many people don’t see why high speed and quality broadband is important for their future.”

– Carla Dickstein, Senior Vice President, Research and Policy Development, CEI

The Maine Broadband Coalition supports the expansion of broadband to communities throughout Maine as a bridge to the future.Broadband helps make valuable connections for business people, patients, students, and families.

Watch a new film produced by CEI  for the Maine Broadband Coalition with support from NeighborWorks America.Thanks to Gabe Souza for capturing this important story.

Please share the video widely.

Tom Dolan Selected as Presidential Leadership Scholar

January 30, 2017 — The Presidential Leadership Scholars program, a unique leadership development initiative that draws upon the resources of the presidential centers of George W. Bush, William J. Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and Lyndon B. Johnson, today announced that Tom Dolan has been selected to participate. Dolan, Chief Operating Officer of CEI Capital Management LLC, is one of 60 Scholars chosen for the program’s third annual class.

The third cohort was selected after a rigorous application and review process. Scholars were selected based on their leadership growth potential and the strength of their personal leadership projects aimed at improving the civic or social good by addressing a problem or need in a community, profession, or organization.

Over the course of several months, Scholars will travel to each participating presidential center to learn from former presidents, key administration officials, and leading academics. They will study and put into practice varying approaches to leadership, develop a network of peers, and exchange ideas with mentors and others who can help them make an impact in their communities.

The program kicks off in Washington, D.C. on February 7th, where Scholars will visit the National Archives and Records Administration, Mount Vernon, and the White House Historical Association and explore personal and professional development areas including core values and civility.

The latest class joins the alumni network of 121 Scholars in the program. They include individuals from diverse backgrounds and geographies, coming from a variety of sectors, including private, public, non-profit, military, and academia.

2017 Scholars include:

Michael Addis, Litigation Associate, Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP, New York, NY;

Chike Aguh, Chief Executive Officer, EveryoneOn, Beltsville, MD;

Gabriel Albornoz, Director, Department of Recreation, Montgomery County Government, Kensington, MD;

Lisa Atherton, Executive Vice President, Military Business, Bell Helicopter, Keller, TX;

Vidya Ayyr, Community Relations Specialist, Parkland Hospital, Plano, TX;

Hazami Barmada, Strategy Consultant, Social Entreprenur, and Social Impact Activist, United Nations, Cambridge, MA;

Brian Barnes, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, TandemEd LLC, Memphis, TN;

Anurima Bhargava, Fellow, Institute of Politics, Harvard University, Chicago, IL;

Dana Bolden, Group Director, Public Affairs and Communications, The Coca-Cola Company, Atlanta, GA;

Zachary Bongiovanni, Head of Infrastructure Expansion, Google, San Francisco, CA;

Sheila Colclasure, Vice President, Global CPO and Public Policy Executive, Acxiom Corporation, Little Rock, AR;

Marta Colon, Chief Performance and Attitude Strategist, Buena Gente, San Juan, PR;

Rory Diamond, Chief Executive Officer, K9s For Warriors, Neptune Beach, FL;

Renee DiResta, Founder and Director of Marketing, Haven, San Francisco, CA;

David Dixon, Major, United States Marine Corps, New Orleans, LA;

Thomas Dolan, Chief Operating Officer, CEI Capital Management LLC, Cape Elizabeth, ME;

Rodolfo Fernandez, Chief of Staff to the President and Vice President for Government Affairs, University of Miami, Miami, FL;

Josh Goldberg, Director of Strategy, Boulder Crest Retreat for Military and Veteran Wellness, Bluemont, VA;

Carlos Gutierrez, Jr., Senior Government Affairs Advisor, Clark Hill, Washington, DC;

Yasaman Hadjibashi, Group Chief Creation Officer, Barclays Africa Group, Barclays PLC, Johannesburg, South Africa;

Tracey Henry, Assistant Professor of Medicine and Assistant Health Director, Emory University School of Medicine, Powder Springs, GA;

Jane Henzerling, Founder and Head of School, The Mission Preparatory School, San Francisco, CA;

Wade Hinton, Chief Legal Officer and City Attorney, City of Chattanooga, Tennessee, Chattanooga, TN;

Gerardo Interiano, Head of External Affairs, Southwest U.S., Google, Austin, TX;

Brad Israel, Chief Leadership and Chief Operating Officer, 68 Ventures, Mobile, AL;

Kristin Ito, Physician of the Department of Family Medicine and Director of the Hillside Wellness Center, Lincoln Community Health Center, Durham, NC;

Kristin Judge, Director of Special Projects, National Cyber Security Alliance, Ann Arbor, MI;

Lenore Karafa, Partner, McChrystal Group, Alexandria, VA;

Hannibal Williams II Kemerer, Senior Attorney, Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLP, Reisterstown, MD;

Basim Khan, Executive Director, Neighborhood Health, Arlington, VA;

Mansi Kotwal, Pediatrician, Children’s National Medical Center, Washington, DC;

SreyRam Kuy, Chief Medical Officer, Louisiana Medicaid, Louisiana Department of Health, Baton Rouge, LA;

Lucy Lang, Assistant District Attorney, New York County District Attorney’s Office, New York, NY;

Francisco Martin-Rayo, Expert, Boston Consulting Group, Arlington, VA;

Katie McNerney, Founder and Partner, LeaderFit, Washington, DC;

Mariam Memarsadeghi , Co-Founder and Co-Director, E-Collaborative for Civic Education, Bethesda, MD;

Hollis Meminger, Camera Operator, Cinematographer and Producer, SELF, Brooklyn, NY;

Neha Misra, Co-Founder and Chief Collaboration Officer, Solar Sister, Silver Spring, MD;

Michael Monre, Chief of Staff, North America’s Building Trades Unions, Washington, DC;

Griffin Myers, Co-Founder and Chief Medical Officer, Oak Street Health, Chicago, IL;

Nitikaji Nautiyal, Executive Director, Chicago Anchors for a Strong Economy, World Business Chicago, Chicago, IL;

Sarah Cotton Nelson, Chief Philanthropy Officer, Communities Foundation of Texas, Dallas, TX;

Scott Nolen, Director, Drug Addiction Treatment, Open Society Foundations, Silver Spring, MD;

Elizabeth Northcutt, Founder and Executive Director, City Living NY, Brooklyn, NY;

Meghan Ogilvie, Chief Executive Officer, Dog Tag Inc., Washington, DC;

Manuel Pelaez-Prada, Attorney, Pelaez Prada, PLLC, San Antonio, TX;

Daniel Presley, Chief of Police, Webster Police Department, League City, TX;

Natasha Quiroga, PREP Manager and Senior Counsel, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Washington, DC;

Michael Reeves, Managing Director and Head of Marketing, Investor Relations, and Business Development, Greylock Capital Management LLC, New York, NY;

Christina Rosenthal, Dentist and Chief Executive Officer, Paradigm Dental Center, LLC, Collierville, TN;

Byron Sanders, Vice President and Private Client Advisor, U.S. Trust, Addison, TX;

Jenifer Sarver, Principal, Sarver Strategies, Austin, TX;

Scott Schlegel, District Court Judge, 24th Judicial District Court, Parish of Jefferson, State of Louisiana, Metairie, LA;

Jamie Scott, Executive Director, Pulaski County Youth Services, Pulaski County, North Little Rock, AR;

Prabhjot Singh, Chair, Department of Health System Design & Global Health, Mount Sinai Health System, Pelham, NY;

Shoeb Sitafalwalla, Medical Director, South Asian Cardiovascular Center, Advocate Health Care, Chicago, IL;

Elizabeth Smith, Chair of the Board, Raphael House, San Francisco, CA;

Joseph Stenger, Chief Executive Officer, Flying Scarfs Inc and F-35A Instructor Pilot, U.S. Air Force, Goodyear, AZ;

Brintha Vasagar, Associate Program Director, Tidelands Health MUSC Family Medicine Residency Program, Medical University of South Carolina, Surfside Beach, SC;

Antonio Williams, Senior Director of External and Government Affairs, Comcast NBCUniversal, Washington, DC

To learn more about the Presidential Leadership Scholars program, visit For updates about the Presidential Leadership Scholars, use #PresidentialScholars or follow @PLSprogram on Twitter and Medium.

For questions about the program, please contact:

Brittney Bain, 214-200-4309,

Sara Horowitz, 212-348-0360,

Helping to Diversify Maine’s Fishing Economies

For several generations, a small family owned wharf in the fishing village of Tenants Harbor, Maine, has grown and expanded, driving economic activity and spurring innovation.  What once was a tidal facility fished by only a few family members is now a robust commercial fishing wharf, protected by the Working Waterfront Access Program, with all tide access, 4 hoists and an innovative vertically integrated fisherman’s co-op. Landings have nearly doubled in recent years, and the fishermen at the Tenants Harbor Fisherman’s Co-op are beginning to expand into aquaculture. CEI has been there for over a decade, providing financing for the expanded wharf operations and guidance on the working waterfront program.

Our Commitment to the Communities We Serve

CEI invests in enterprises and people in order to promote a more just, inclusive, productive, and sustainable society. We are proud and honored to work with people from every corner of Maine, in rural regions across the United States, and with individuals and families who have immigrated to our country from around the world. We serve Americans from all backgrounds and belief systems, and we believe that our communities are strongest when all people have equality of opportunity. CEI stands with all of our clients, including our immigrant and refugee clients and their families, who are working hard to establish their lives here and contribute to our society. Immigrants have helped to build our country and they will play a vital role in our economic future. We oppose discrimination based on race, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, country of origin, age, and/or disability. For CEI, economic empowerment is a matter of social justice.

CEI Teams up with Local Organizations Helping Veterans Access VA Loans

January 19, 2017 — The Veterans Home Buying Collaboration is hosting a free seminar on February 11, 2017 to help veterans understand VA Loans. The event will be held from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm in Room 133 of USM’s Wishcamper Center at 34 Bedford Street, Portland, ME 04101. Online registration is available at

Lenders across the county are able to provide service members, veterans, and eligible surviving spouses with loans guaranteed by the US Department of Veterans Affairs. VA loans have the reputation of being difficult to qualify for and understand. According a Veterans United study, only 13% of the country’s 25 million veterans have used their VA loan benefit, and 33% are not even aware that the benefit exists. In reality, VA loans are not more complicated than regular mortgages.

Chris Kotch, outreach specialist at the Portland Vet Center, says, “The VA home loan guaranty is one of the underutilized benefits our veterans have…if they go in well informed with the most current information, they’ll find it is a lot easier than they think and will save thousands compared to traditional mortgages.” In many cases, they are the best mortgage product for veterans who want to buy a home because they have no down payment requirement, no annual mortgage insurance fee, and lower interest rates than many mainstream mortgages.

About the Veterans Home Buyer Collaborative

The Veterans Home Buying Collaborative is a group of local non-profit, lending, and realty organizations including Avesta, CEI, and Pine Tree Legal, dedicated to explaining the loan process so that veterans feel empowered to make the home buying choice that is best for them. Its goal is to educate veterans about VA guaranteed loans and the process of obtaining one, without pressuring them to buy.

CEI Ventures Closes Fourth Fund with $20 Million Under Management

January 17, 2017 (Brunswick, Maine) – CEI Ventures today announced the final closing on its fourth Venture Capital fund, Coastal Ventures IV, LP, at just under $10 million. This new fund will provide much needed growth equity capital to small businesses in Maine and the Northeast.

Currently, CEI Ventures is actively investing from two funds with $20 million under management. Coastal Ventures IV, like prior funds, seeks to create quality jobs and promote socially responsible products and services, particularly those improving the environment.

Coastal Ventures IV was capitalized by 17 local and regional banks as well as eight individual investors.  Parent company, Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI), provided an anchor investment of $1.5 million in the new fund.

“We want to thank our returning and new investors for their help in carrying out the important work of community and environmental impact investing.”

-Nathaniel Henshaw, President of CEI Ventures, Inc.

Founded in 1996, CEI Ventures was has raised over $45 million and invested in over 50 companies.  In turn, these companies have helped create over 2,000 net new jobs, the majority of which have benefited people with low to moderate incomes. Notable prior successful investments include Coast of Maine Organic Products, Innov-X-Systems, Cuddledown, Bar Harbor Foods, SmartPak Equine, RecruiterNet, eCopy, Beacon Analytical Systems, Soleras, Ltd, World Harbors Foods, Ektron Inc., and Avia Biosystems.

Current active portfolio investments demonstrating strong growth, employment, and environmental benefit include Pika Energy, Certify, Tilson Technology Management, BlueTarp Financial, Native Energy, Rustic Crust, Hyperlite Mountain Gear, Mingle Analytics, Maine Craft Distilling, and Gelato Fiasco.

CEI Ventures provides growth capital growing companies with innovative technologies or products and strong management. Initial investments are typically range from $250,000 to $750,000. Nat Henshaw and Chandler Jones serve as primary investment managers and Thao Duong is the Fund Administrator.  CEI Ventures is a wholly owned subsidiary of Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI), a 501c(3) Community Development Finance Institution (CDFI), located in Brunswick, Maine.

Goranson Farm: Tapping Renewable Energy to Boost Maple Syrup Production

Goranson Farm has just made a big commitment towards their sustainable energy needs by tapping the power of the sun for gains in maple syrup production.

The third generation organic farm located in Dresden, Maine, is owned and operated by Jan Goranson and Rob Johanson, and their two sons Carl and Goran. The farm sells its vegetables, meats, poultry and maple syrup through local stores, farmers markets and its own Community supported agriculture (CSA) program.

The farm produces about 400 gallons of maple syrup a year. The sap is currently heated and boiled down by means of simple evaporation using firewood. “It takes 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup and that’s a lot of boiling,” says Rob Johanson. In addition to installing a photovoltaic solar array, the farm is purchasing a reverse osmosis (RO) machine, which should reduce the farm’s current fire wood usage of 16 cords to about 6. “This machine will save us a lot of time, as well as money and energy.”

The solar array consists of four dual axis solar trackers. Each tracker is rigged with 24 solar panels and one DC to AC inverter. The American-made AllEarth Trackers track the sun throughout the day to maximize energy production. The trackers, manufactured in Williston,Vt. by AllEarth Renewables, are designed for residential and commercial-scale installations and can produce up to 45% more energy than a conventional solar installation.

The new solar array is anticipated to produce 47,000 Kwh’s a year off -setting the two utility meters at the farm almost 100%.

“We love working with farmers because we share a mutual and reliable partner,” says Kim Bleakly of All Earth Renewables. “They use the sun to grow their crops and we produce a product that makes electricity from the sun. As far as I’m concerned, that’s a match made in heaven.”

The solar project was designed and installed by Maine Energy Performance Solution (MEPS) of Washington Maine. Funding for the approximately $150,000 project, was helped with two grants from USDA and financing through Coastal Enterprise Inc. (CEI).

“We have been wanting to do this project for a number of years and Rich and his team at MEPS were really able to pull the pieces together to make it happen,” says Rob Johanson. “A lot of people buy organically grown foods because they like the idea of food being raised without the use of chemicals. For us, organic is a lot more than that. It’s really a way of life and honoring the trust our customers place in us. To be an organic farmer means to grow foods working with the land and the environment in a sustainable way for future generations and this project is an extension of that.”

WATCH: CEI’s 39th Annual Breakfast Meeting

March 14, 2017 — THANK YOU to the many brave souls who came out in the snow for our annual meeting this morning. It was wonderful to see you all.

Watch the event by clicking the link below.

The carbon emissions associated with this event have been intentionally offset by our sponsor, ReVision Energy, through renewable energy generation.

Maine Media Collective is the exclusive local magazine sponsor of the 39th Annual Meeting.

A sincere thank you to all of our sponsors.

Presenting Sponsors:

Meeting Sponsors:

Learn about Our Private Health Exchange


  • Developers Collaborative
  • FHLB Boston
  • Island Institute
  • Macpage
  • Maine Community Foundation
  • NBT Bank
  • Novogradac & Company LLC
  • Rapoza Associates
  • TD Bank
  • The Press Hotel


  • Androscoggin Bank
  • CWS Architecture
  • Eaton Peabody
  • First National Bank
  • Kennebec Savings Bank
  • Maine SBDC
  • Veris Wealth Partners


  • Bath Savings Institution
  • East Shore Studio and Print
  • Portland Financial Planning Group
  • ReVision Energy
  • Warren’s Office Supplies

Register today!