Tastemakers Initiative

Presented by CEI, Sponsored by FocusMaine

The CEI Tastemakers Initiative helps established food and beverage companies expand and improve production capacity, create jobs, and meet targeted growth goals by offering funding for tailored consulting and access to financial resources and investor networking opportunities.

Tastemakers will be open for applications in early 2023.

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Tastemakers Funding of up to $10,000 will be awarded to fifteen to twenty companies to support the following areas:

  • Consulting to pursue a strategic growth opportunity and/or strategic adjustment to meet long term production and capacity goals.
  • Build local supply chains with Maine producers: Identify barriers to sourcing and distributing Maine local products, develop strategy to address and pilot solutions to build and expand on local supply chains.
  • Organizational development (job descriptions, goal setting & performance reviews, benefits analysis, training, etc.) & workforce attraction, and retention consulting
  • Facility design, site engineering, process improvement, licensing and permitting
  • Web platform development, e-commerce.


  • Priority will be given to underserved communities including businesses owned by: BIPOC, Women (more than 50% ownership) and  Veterans
  • Maine based and incorporated company
  • Companies will be required to report to CEI on job creation from projects funded 
  • Company sources from Maine agriculture, aquaculture, or fisheries
  • Company that produces food and beverages for human consumption. At this time, we cannot consider cannabis or hemp businesses for the Tastemakers initiative. Preference will be given to companies making everyday, healthy foods.             
  • Recipients of Tastemakers funds in 2021 are not eligible to apply for 2023 funding (must take one year off).
  • Preference will be given to ‘shovel ready’ projects.  All Tastemakers consulting projects must be completed by 12/31/2023.
  • Incomplete applications will not be considered

Participating companies will be selected through a competitive application process. All proposals will remain confidential.

Awards will be finalized during a project scoping meeting between the Tastemakers project team and applicants.