A Leader in Rural Business Development, Financing, Investment and Policy

Agricultural Infrastructure Investment Program (AIIP) Now Accepting Applications!

The Department of Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry (DACF) has allocated approximately $20MM in federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding for the new Agricultural Infrastructure Investment Program (AIIP). The AIIP will provide critical funding for Maine farms and agricultural food processors pursuing infrastructure upgrades that will:

  1. mitigate the adverse effects of COVID-19,
  2. increase capacity, enhance supply chain resilience, and address market disruptions, and
  3. drive growth within the Maine agricultural and food economy while providing more locally available foods to Mainers.

The Department has partnered with Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI) to serve as Third-Party Administrator for the program.

Child Care Business Lab Now Accepting Applications!

Have you ever wanted to start a child care business and weren’t sure how?

Do you have a passion for helping children learn & grow — and do you want to learn more about the business details of running a child care? Are you wondering how to make sure your child care business is profitable? Would you like to be coached through the licensing process?

At the CEI Child Care Business Lab, we help people just like you start new, quality child care businesses here in Maine. We work with moms of young children who want a good job for themselves and start a home-based child care business for 6 or 8 kids. We work with grandparents whose adult children struggle to keep full-time jobs due to lack of child care – so they start a small child care business in a vacant building in their town. We work with nonprofit organizations with an unused room in communities short on child care options. We work with friends and relatives who decide to partner or create a cooperative child care.

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Putting financing, business expertise and policy solutions to work

Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit and leading community development financial institution (CDFI). CEI uses its combined economic development tools to help create good jobs, environmentally sustainable enterprises and more broadly shared prosperity in Maine and rural regions throughout the U.S.

Our Focus

Flexible, Accessible Financing Across the Business Life Cycle

CEI and its subsidiaries offer business and project financing for a wide range of purposes including working capital, equipment purchases, facilities expansion, construction, and mixed use and affordable housing real estate development.

CEI is committed to serving people and communities unable to access financing from traditional sources–and we don’t stop there. Our lenders, investors, business and workforce advisors, and food system experts lend their expertise, connections, and hands-on support, whatever it takes to make sure you succeed.

CEI is here to support Maine’s small businesses throughout challenging times with COVID-19 relief resources and grants.

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Education and Advice for Businesses and Individuals

CEI offers a wide range of assistance to emerging and existing business owners. Through one-on-one consultation, training, workshops, seminars, peer networks and other services, CEI helps individuals across the state get the information they need to start or expand their business. Our one-on-one consultation is tailored to meet your needs and our training and workshops cover a range of key issues.

In addition to providing general business assistance, CEI has programs for women; marine, farms and food businesses; child care providers; and refugees and immigrants.

CEI helps individuals build a pathway to home ownership and a more secure economic future. As a HUD-certified housing counseling agency, CEI provides credit building, debt reduction and student loan counseling in addition to first-time homebuyer education, reverse mortgage counseling, and foreclosure prevention services.

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A CEI Business Advisor meets with an advising client

CEI offers workshops, webinars, in-depth courses and one-on-one advising.

Advancing state and federal policies that support greater equity and sustainability

CEI works to advance state and federal policies that expand resources for rural communities, natural resource-based industries, business ownership, workforce development, and the expansion of clean energy.

CEI works with legislators from all parties, community organizations and other stakeholders to create broader government support for new initiatives and demonstration programs in addition to ongoing efforts to boost economic and community development.

CEI supports and conducts research in specialized industries and regions to help support future policy and program development.

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CEI uses policy to expand access to broadband services, renewable energy, child care and small business capital.

Our offices remain closed to the public, but we are hard at work!