From Farms to Main Streets to Working Waterfronts: CEI is Doing Its Part to Help Build an Economy That Works for Everyone

2017 results highlight the role that impact investments, coaching, and industry expertise play in creating good jobs, sustainable businesses and shared prosperity

(Brunswick, Maine – December 6, 2017) – Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI) today shared its annual impact for 2017, highlighting its progress advancing its mission to build an economy that works for everyone through a mix of impact investments, advisory services and policy advocacy.

In all, the CEI family of organizations deployed $51.7 million to 79 businesses in mostly rural regions across Maine and the U.S. Of that, CEI invested nearly $14.8 million in loans, microloans and equity in 62 small and medium sized businesses, and approximately $37 million in loans, equity, and tax credits in 17 businesses and projects through its subsidiaries.

These investments created or preserved approximately 2,000 direct jobs across industries including sustainable agriculture, food systems, aquaculture and fisheries, renewable energy, manufacturing, downtown revitalization, and the arts. The impact of its investments was magnified by the advice and consulting provided by CEI’s staff to 2,820 entrepreneurs and business owners including women and immigrants, employers, farmers and fisheries entrepreneurs, and people seeking housing counseling and education. CEI also conducts a variety of local and federal policy work.

Of particular note, during this last fiscal year CEI and its subsidiaries:

  • Assisted almost 2,000 Maine entrepreneurs to grow their businesses, including Paul and Theresa Lancisi of Dove Tail Bats in Shirley Mills; Julie Swain of Dog Not Gone in Skowhegan; Jim Chattley of Meineke Topsham Car Care Center; Ten Ten Piè in Portland; and Corrin and Shirley Conforte of Kindred Farms Market and Bakery in Casco;
  • Helped to finance the completion of eight historic redevelopment projects, injecting economic vitality in Maine’s downtowns from Biddeford to Waterville;
  • Made a first-in-the-nation loan from the innovative USDA Community Facilities Relending Program to support the expansion of a YMCA in Central Lincoln County, ME;
  • Supported the design and commercialization of innovative technologies at companies such as Pemaquid Mussel Farms and Ocean Renewable Power Company;
  • Successfully exited an equity investment in the software company Certify.

“CEI was founded 40 years ago to expand options for Mainers to earn a decent livelihood in the face of a changing economy,” said CEI CEO Betsy Biemann. “We are building on our legacy, revitalizing our rural regions and gateway cities by making the kind of investments that impact people with low incomes—expanding the numbers of good jobs, and ultimately, increasing shared prosperity.”

Since 1977, CEI has had a consistent presence in Maine, financing business after business, and helping people seek and accomplish their dreams of a livelihood, home ownership, living in a safe neighborhood, quality childcare, and a way of life connected to our abundant natural resources. CEI’s for-profit subsidiaries bring additional investment dollars to Maine and rural regions across the country, and add financing capacity through venture capital, New Markets Tax Credits, and an SBA lending license. Together, over time, the CEI family has invested in 2,724 businesses and projects that are changing Maine’s employment landscape.

“Our 2017 performance reflects CEI’s commitment to Maine and rural regions in other states, with a team that is passionate about tackling the challenges that our country is facing right now,” said CEI President Keith Bisson. “Our team’s experience and know-how position us to take a risk on early stage innovators that conventional lenders and investors won’t, calculating good jobs and environmental benefits as core to return on investment.”

CEI’s full portfolio will be honored during CEI’s 40th Anniversary Celebration to be held on April 25, 2018.

Maine’s first Beginning Farmer Conference coming to 2018 Maine Agricultural Trades Show

*CEI is on the leadership council for the Beginning Farmer Resource Network. 

New and aspiring farmers will be focus of in-depth workshops

Augusta (Dec. 1, 2017) – Since nearly a third of Maine’s farmers identify as “beginning farmers,” a coalition of agricultural agencies is stepping forward in 2018 to help them succeed in new agricultural enterprises.

The Beginning Farmer Resource Network (BFRN) will host a series of workshops and talks to help new and aspiring farmers in Maine navigate the various programs and services available to them, during the Maine Agricultural Trades Show at the Augusta Civic Center, January 9-11, 2018.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), “a beginning farmer is someone who has operated a farm for ten years or less.” Since this definition is used for all USDA beginning farmer loan programs, it has become the most commonly accepted definition.

According to the latest USDA Agricultural Census, nearly one third of the farmers in Maine reported having 10 years or less of experience on their present farm.

“Starting a farm is not an easy or clear process, so we hope to really make the path much more simple and streamlined for Mainers who are still within their first decade of farming,” says Tori Jackson, UMaine Extension Educator and BFRN chair. “The Beginning Farmer Resource Network of Maine is made up of twenty-five agricultural agencies and organizations who embrace that mission. We work together to expedite the opportunities for aspiring and beginning farmers, and help them connect to resources for farm business success.”

The “Beginning Farmer Conference” will kick off with a free, half-day conference the morning of Wednesday, Jan. 10 at the Ag Trades Show titled, “What Does it Mean to be a ‘Beginning Farmer’ from 2018 to 2028.” A panel of farmers and service providers will discuss the typical challenges and growth phases of the first 10 years of any farm business, followed by a talk from author and farmer Lucie B. Amundsen, of Locally Laid Egg Company, a family-run, mission-based farm in Wrenshall, Minn.

This will be followed by seven different “hands-on” workshops; three on Wednesday afternoon, two on Thursday morning and two on Thursday afternoon, covering topics like “How to Start a Specialty Food Business in Maine” and “Accessing Farm Capital.”  Participants should bring laptops, notebooks, and farm records to work on projects specific to their farms.

As part of this beginning farmer initiative, up to 60 beginning farmers and service providers may register to attend the luncheon and keynote at the Maine Federation of Farmers’ Markets (MFFM) 10th Annual Convention at the Civic Center on Thursday, January 11th. The cost is $18. Those wishing to attend should email Lynne Hazelton at to pre-register.

While the BFRN conference and workshops focus on the needs of aspiring and beginning farmers, they are open to all who are interested in attending.

For more information visit the BFRN website or contact Tori Jackson: (207) 353-5550 or Stephanie Gilbert: (207) 287-7520.

CEI Ventures’ Coastal Ventures IV LP Fund Earns CDFI Certification from U.S. Treasury

Financial Resources Aimed at Funding Good Job Growth and Environmentally Sustainable Enterprises


October 16, 2017 — BRUNSWICK, ME — Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI) today announced that the venture capital fund, Coastal Ventures IV Limited Partnership, established by its for-profit venture capital subsidiary CEI Ventures, Inc. (CVI), has been certified by the U.S. Treasury as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI).

This designation is given by the CDFI Fund to specialized organizations that provide financial services in low income communities and to people who lack access to financing. Similar to its three predecessors, the CEI Ventures’ Coastal Ventures IV fund seeks to make investments in businesses that provide good jobs, focus on environmental sustainability and foster shared prosperity. This certification applies to targeted venture capital investments in Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont and New York.

“We are honored and pleased to have been recognized as a trusted financial resource for individuals and organizations working hard to create new opportunities for people in our community to reach their full potential,” said Nathaniel Henshaw, president of CEI Ventures. “The CDFI Certification not only validates what we have been able to accomplish in the past, it emboldens us to set our sights even higher to a place where sustainable enterprises thrive and shared prosperity is the norm.”

Across the United States, more than 1,100 mission-driven certified CDFIs are focused on providing financial services to meet the needs of economically disadvantaged individuals within underserved communities. CEI Ventures builds upon the CDFI model by raising private capital and investing directly in companies that match that mission through operations, products or services.

“Regional, localized CDFIs such as CEI Ventures are vital to helping Americans start and expand businesses and create jobs,” says Tanya McInnis, Acting Manager of the Office of Certification, Compliance Monitoring and Evaluation, CDFI Fund. “Specifically, it’s the CDFIs ability to identify, examine and finance affordable housing, small businesses, schools, community facilities and many other types of investments that sparks sustainable growth in communities across America.”

CEI Business Advising Client Willie Wags is an SBA 2017 Finalist of InnovateHER Business Challenge

Jamie Clark of The WIllie Wags Will Take Part in Pitch Competition Along with Nine Other Finalists Before an Expert Panel of Judges

WASHINGTONAdministrator Linda McMahon, the head of the U.S. Small Business Administration, today announced the 2017 finalists of the SBA’s InnovateHER Business Challenge, the nationwide competition highlighting innovative products, services or technology developed by visionary entrepreneurs that have a measurable impact on the lives of women and families, and in the marketplace.

“To have a small business from Bangor, Maine recognized on the national level is truly a credit to the hard work of Ms. Clark,” said Amy Bassett, SBA’s Maine District Director.  “What sets The Willie Wags apart is its guiding principle of working collaboratively with other women owned businesses, providing an example for all small business owners across the country.”

“The Willie Wags stood out among a competitive field of InnovateHER submissions because of their business model of supporting and promoting other women owned businesses,” said Sarah Guerette, Director of the Women’s Business Center at CEI, which nominated Clark as the local competition winner. “By donating a portion of proceeds from each box to help fund growth opportunities for female small business owners, The Willie Wags amplifies its impact and fulfills a critical tenant of the InnovateHER competition by empowering women and their families.”

“The Willie Wags is honored to have been tapped to move on to the national round of SBA’s 2017 InnovateHER Business Challenge. Not only does this afford us the opportunity to expand our network and customer base, but that of the female entrepreneurs we partner with,” said Jamie Clark, owner of The Willie Wags. “We are honored to be in such amazing and talented company in the top ten and look forward to pitching for grant money that could truly change the face of our business going forward.”

The 10 finalists were selected through a rigorous nationwide competition held by host organizations, including universities, accelerators, and SBA Resource Partners that ran local area competitions through June 3, 2017.  Next, an executive committee of SBA officials evaluated more than 120 semi-finalist nominations and chose 10 finalists to participate in the National Pitch Competition, whose products and services best meet the competition criteria and present the greatest potential for success.

The InnovateHER Business Challenge finalists are invited to conduct a marketing pitch before a team of expert judges at the National Pitch Competition held on October 26, 2017, in Washington, D.C., as they compete for the top three awards totaling $70,000 in prize money, provided by the Sara Blakely Foundation.

For details on the competition, visit  This site will be updated as more information regarding the event is made available.



  • Afreen Allam with SiNON Therapeutics, Raleigh, N.C. – SiNON Therapeutics is dedicated to improving the lives of women and families who suffer from neurological diseases by refining drug-localization of medicine to the brain.
  • Alexa Jones with TheraB Medical, East Lansing, Mich.  – TheraB Medical is a startup working to launch its first product, SnugLit a wearable, portable solution to infant jaundice that promotes maternal-infant bonding and breastfeeding while covering nearly twice the surface area of traditional methods.
  • Crystal Harris with Brauxiliary, LLC, Charlotte, N.C. – The Brauxiliary Hands-Free Pumping Band is a bra attachment that turns any bra into a hands free pumping bra.
  • Marna Pacheco and Susan Hickok with CapeAble Sensory Products, Fort Wayne, Ind. – CapeAble Sensory Products, LLC manufactures and sells weighted blankets, weighted wearables, and sensory enrichment tools.
  • Bianca Cerqueira and Lauren Cornell with Novo Thelium, San Antonio, Texas – NovoThelium enables women to regenerate a nipple made from their own cells after a mastectomy.
  • Zayira Jordan with GuardDV, Guaynabo, Puerto Rico – GuardDV seeks to help enforce court-issued restraining orders in favor of domestic violence survivors. The system integrates RFID and GPS technologies to track the aggressor and warn the potential victim and the corresponding law enforcement organizations about the physical proximity of the aggressor.
  • Jenna Ryan with Uqora, LLC, San Diego, Calif. – Uqora™ gives women the defense they need against bacteria that causes urinary tract infections (UTIs), keeping them out of the doctor’s office and off antibiotics.
  • Jamelah Tucker with EasyPeasie, LLC, Jacksonville, Fla. – Easy Peasie, LLC is committed to providing families simple, natural, convenient, and fun ways to improve every meal with added vegetable nutrition.
  • Jessica Dehn with Dino Drop In, Bozeman, Mont. – Dino Drop-In is childcare built to fit the lifestyle of busy families and ever-changing work schedules.
  • Jamie Clark with The Willie Wags, Bangor, Maine – The Willie Wags is a quirky and fun subscription service that supports female entrepreneurs and women-owned small businesses.


AWBC Announces Award Winners at the 2017 Women’s Business Center Leadership Conference

Alexandria, VA – The Association of Women’s Business Centers (AWBC) is proud to announce the award winners, who were recognized last week at AWBC’s 2017 Women’s Business Centers Leadership Conference for their outstanding accomplishments in volunteerism and advocacy on behalf of women’s business centers and women entrepreneurs. The “Volunteer Award” was presented to Amy Fletcher of Women’s Economic Ventures (California), Julann Jatczak of WWBIC (Wisconsin), and Nancy McLain of WESST (New Mexico). The “Advocacy Award” was presented to Monica Braun of REAP WBC (Nebraska), Emily Susanin Kessinger of Iowa WBC, and Jennifer Sporzynski of WBC at CEI Maine.

Jennifer Sporzynski receives the Advocacy Award from the Association of Women’s Business Centers (AWCA)

“Amy, Julann, Nancy, Monica, Emily, and Jennifer exemplify the very best that the women’s business center program has to offer,” said AWBC CEO Antonella Pianalto. “Their commitments to the program through volunteerism and advocacy are yet another reminder of the ongoing contribution of the leaders of Women’s Business Centers to women’s entrepreneurship. We are so proud to award them this year and to honor their efforts.”

The Association of Women’s Business Centers (AWBC) annual Women’s Business Centers Leadership Conference took place from September 12th to 14th in Alexandria, Virginia and Washington D.C. The event included keynote speeches from SBA Administrator Linda McMahon, Rep. Stephanie Murphy (FL-7), Rep. Steven Knight (CA-25) and numerous women business leaders and entrepreneurs. In addition to three days of seminars, Women’s Business Center (WBC) leaders visited Capitol Hill to meet with their respective Members of Congress and to talk about the profound impact that WBCs are having on the local economy in each district.

About AWBC: The AWBC ( is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization founded in 1998 to support the national network of Women’s Business Centers (WBCs) with programming and advocacy. Each year, our members leverage WBC grants to operate more than 150 locations throughout the United States. WBCs have nearly 30 years of success in providing business training, counseling, mentoring, and access to capital to over 145,000 women entrepreneurs each year. The WBC program is a public-private partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Treasury Guarantees $245 Million in Bond Funding for Projects in Low-Income Communities

September 27,2017 – Washington, DC – U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund) announced today that Treasury issued two guarantees totaling $245 million under the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Bond Guarantee Program. The guarantees were issued on behalf of nine Eligible CDFIs under the fiscal year (FY) 2017 round of the program. Over $1.36 billion has been guaranteed since the inception of the CDFI Bond Guarantee Program, which provides long-term, fixed-rate capital for projects in low-income urban, rural, and Native communities.

“The Bond Guarantee Program is an effective tool for connecting distressed communities to the investment capital they need to grow and prosper. I am excited to announce the 2017 program participants,” said Director Donovan.

The FY 2017 program participants include:

Community Reinvestment Fund, USA issued a $100 million bond on behalf of Aura Mortgage Advisors, LLC (Aura), an affiliate of Boston Community Capital and part of its Stabilizing Urban Neighborhoods (SUN) Initiative. SUN helps low-income families facing foreclosure repurchase their homes with fixed rate mortgages they can afford, stabilizing families and communities.

Opportunity Finance Network issued $145 million in bonds on behalf of the following eight Eligible CDFIs:

  • Building Hope, headquartered in Washington, DC, received a $25 million bond loan to finance charter schools in low-income communities.
  • Coastal Enterprises, Inc., headquartered in Brunswick, ME, received a $20 million bond loan to finance community and small business solar power generation projects that impact low income communities across the country, including rural communities.
  • Community First Fund, headquartered in Lancaster, PA, received a $10 million bond loan to provide financing for commercial real estate, not-for-profit organizations and affordable housing in underserved urban and rural communities.
  • Florida Community Loan Fund, headquartered in Orlando, FL, received a $30 million bond loan to finance affordable rental housing and commercial real estate projects in low-income communities.
  • Greater Minnesota Housing Fund, headquartered in St. Paul, MN, received a $10 million bond loan to finance affordable rental housing projects in Minnesota’s underserved communities.
  • Homewise, Inc., headquartered in Santa Fe, NM, received a $15 million bond loan to finance or refinance affordable single-family mortgages.
  • Housing Trust Silicon Valley, headquartered in San Jose, CA, received a $25 million bond loan to expand investment in and access to affordable multifamily rental housing.
  • Impact Seven, headquartered in Rice Lake, WI, received a $10 million bond loan to finance affordable rental housing, senior living facilities, small businesses, and commercial real estate projects.

Established by the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, the CDFI Bond Guarantee Program responds to a critical market need—low-cost capital to spur economic growth and jump start community revitalization. Under the program, Qualified Issuers (CDFIs or their designees) apply to the CDFI Fund for authorization to issue guaranteed bonds worth a minimum of $100 million in total. The bonds provide CDFIs with access to substantial long-term, fixed-rate capital to reignite the economies of distressed communities.

The program enables CDFIs to execute large-scale projects, including the development of commercial real estate, housing units, charter schools, daycare or healthcare centers, and rural infrastructure projects, among other asset classes. As of August 31, 2017, $505 million in bond proceeds has been disbursed in 16 states and the District of Columbia.

For the first time, a private foundation provided a guarantee in support of an Eligible CDFI’s Bond Loan application, demonstrating strong collaboration between the public and private sector.  The Kresge Foundation’s limited payment guarantee to Aura Mortgage Advisors showcases how CDFIs and foundations can leverage social investments to extend their impact through the CDFI Bond Guarantee Program. The Kresge Foundation has a $350 million commitment to social investing through 2020, including $150 million in guarantees.

About the CDFI Fund

Since its creation in 1994, the CDFI Fund has awarded more than $2.3 billion to CDFIs, community development organizations, and financial institutions through the Community Development Financial Institutions Program, the Native American CDFI Assistance Program, and the BEA Program.  In addition, the CDFI Fund has allocated $50.5 billion in tax credit allocation authority to Community Development Entities through the New Markets Tax Credit Program, guaranteed $1.36 billion in bonds through the CDFI Bond Guarantee Program, and awarded more than $171 million through the Capital Magnet Fund.

To learn more about the CDFI Fund and its programs, please view the Fact Sheet or visit the CDFI Fund’s website at

FocusMaine Announces Launch of Implementation Plan with CEI, Gulf of Maine Research Institute, Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development, Maine Aquaculture Association, Maine & Co.

September 19, 2017 — PORTLAND, MAINE — FocusMaine is pleased to announce it is pursuing the full scope of its 10-year implementation plan to create quality Maine jobs and increase worker capacity in Maine. This month marks the start of the organization’s initial three-year phase of implementation. During this phase, FocusMaine aims to build the necessary foundation for sustained job creation in the three traded sectors FocusMaine has identified as having high potential for accelerated job growth: agriculture, aquaculture, and biopharmaceuticals, as well as to build systems to retain and attract knowledge workers for Maine businesses and their selected sectors.

A generous $4.9 million three-year matching grant from The Harold Alfond ® Foundation has helped launch the transition to this implementation phase.

“FocusMaine is excited to have begun working with our partner organizations on the full scope of our plan, beginning in the early years with building the foundation necessary for creating meaningful jobs and accelerating growth in our signature sectors,” said Michael Dubyak, co-chair of FocusMaine. “We are confident our leadership, vision, collaboration with our partners, and long-term commitment to seeing this 10-year effort succeed, which really differentiates FocusMaine, will result in increased economic opportunity for Maine.”

“Entering this implementation phase is the transition from research and planning into action, which is the critical step to achieving our long-term mission,” said FocusMaine cochair Andrea Cianchette Maker. “We greatly appreciate The Harold Alfond ® Foundation’s generous support and their confidence in our ability to execute our research-supported plans to create sustainable, quality jobs and secure workers needed for Maine’s economy.”

FocusMaine works closely with its partner organizations, which include the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, Maine Aquaculture Association, Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development, Coastal Enterprises Inc., and Maine & Company, who have been instrumental in developing and now executing strategies within the selected sectors to accelerate quality job growth in Maine. The services, programs and resources they will provide to businesses in the selected sectors through FocusMaine will include strategies to attract, recruit and support new investment, address growth barriers, and improve access to growth capital. They also will provide accelerator and mentorship programs, and develop management and analytical tools to aid businesses in the identified sectors.

To lead this multi-partner collaboration, FocusMaine has hired an experienced executive to serve as its first president. Kimberly A. Hamilton, PhD, who grew up in North Yarmouth, Maine, was most recently Chief Impact Officer at Feeding America, the nation’s largest hunger-relief organization. Previously, Kim served in a variety of senior roles at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and other policy and research organizations. She will start her new role in late October.

The $4.9 million Harold Alfond ® Foundation matching grant, an earlier grant from the Maine Technology Institute, and other donations bring FocusMaine’s implementation phase fundraising total to date close to the $6.6 million it needs to complete the first three year phase of the organization’s implementation plan. FocusMaine is working to secure additional commitments by early 2018 to reach that goal.

FocusMaine aims to stimulate the growth of between 5,000 to 12,000 direct traded jobs (primarily engaging in exports from Maine) and 14,000 to 32,000 indirect jobs (supplier and supports) in its signature sectors over the course of the next ten years. FocusMaine, through its Knowledge Worker Initiative, is committed to fostering, growing, and attracting the talent critical to support the workforce requirements of these traded sectors, as well as increasing Maine’s overall workforce capacity.

About FocusMaine:
Founded in 2014, FocusMaine’s mission is to strengthen and revitalize opportunity and prosperity in Maine by accelerating the growth of jobs in select signature industries that have high potential to create Maine jobs on a sustainable basis. In collaboration with multiple partners, FocusMaine will coordinate and oversee the execution of programs designed to accelerate business growth and business attraction in its selected sectors, as well as increase Maine’s workforce capacity. FocusMaine was founded by a group of proven, private-sector Maine leaders, and in partnership with industry-specific subject matter experts, advisers, economists and partnering organizations, is using a fact-based, disciplined approach to sector selection and industry development. FocusMaine acts as a catalyst for the accelerated and sustainable growth and business confidence that energizes Maine’s economy. For more information visit

Overview of FocusMaine Program Partners
Agriculture Strategies
Coastal Enterprises Inc. (CEI)
Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI) helps to grow good jobs, environmentally-sustainable enterprises, and shared prosperity in Maine and in rural regions across the country by integrating financing, business and industry expertise, and policy solutions. CEI envisions a world in which communities are economically and environmentally healthy, enabling all people, especially those with low incomes, to reach their full potential. For more information, visit

CEI will work with FocusMaine on two projects to grow Maine’s agriculture and food industry and create quality jobs and economic opportunity across the state. First, CEI will help attract new investment in Maine’s food industry by hosting forums where investors will meet Maine’s investment-ready food and beverage entrepreneurs poised for significant growth. Second, CEI will work with industry leaders to accelerate the development of several promising food and beverage sectors to meet growing consumer demand for premium products. These initiatives will support businesses with growth goals that are focused on expanding markets inside and outside of Maine.

Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development (MCED)
Founded twenty years ago, MCED is Maine’s premier business incubator program launched to serve both Portland and three rural areas around Maine. MCED delivers intensive entrepreneurship training in coordination with strategic partner organizations and the Maine Mentor Network, a cadre of 140 volunteer business specialists. To date, 171 startup companies have graduated from MCED programs, and hundreds of individual entrepreneurs have benefited from one-on-one coaching. MCED is leveraging its experience and networks to launch the FocusMaine sponsored Food, Beverage and Agriculture Accelerator. The new Accelerator will work with ten established small food companies, farms or beverage companies each year to assist in scaling their businesses to the next level. These companies will come together as a Cohort to learn from MCED subject matter experts, and each other, as they grow scalable businesses and diversify the Maine economy.

Aquaculture Strategies
Gulf of Maine Research Institute (GMRI)
The Gulf of Maine Research Institute pioneers collaborative solutions to global ocean challenges. Located in Portland, ME, GMRI is dedicated to the resilience of the Gulf of Maine ecosystem and the communities that depend on it. For more information, visit

Our Role with FocusMaine: Partnering with FocusMaine is an important piece of GMRI’s broader aquaculture objectives. The Gulf of Maine Research Institute’s Aquaculture Program aims to grow aquaculture in the Gulf of Maine (GOM) to support and diversify working waterfront economies. We are working collaboratively with industry leaders, farmers, researchers, the business community, and other nonprofits to identify and pursue opportunities to expand aquaculture. Our aquaculture strategy focuses on providing systematic support, where outcomes impact the industry as a whole and complement other efforts to grow aquaculture in the GOM (e.g. tech transfer, research, training).

As part of the FocusMaine initiative, GMRI, the Maine Aquaculture Association (MAA) and FocusMaine have formed a partnership to accelerate growth of Maine’s aquaculture industry over the next 10 years. In 2016, the partners convened a group of industry leaders with expertise in business, aquaculture, and finance for an intensive 9-month strategic planning process that produced three broad strategies to enable growth of Maine’s aquaculture industry: 1) address growth barriers and provide resources that support new business success and growth of established small businesses, 2) recruit new large aquaculture businesses to Maine, and 3) improve access to startup and growth capital Within the partnership, GMRI will spearhead initiatives to sponsor growth-ready aquaculture businesses through scale-up and mentoring programs; facilitate a gap analysis of aquaculture workforce training programs; develop a small business resource that provides stepwise instructions (including available resources and how and when to utilize them) for navigating the entire aquaculture business lifecycle, from startup through scale up; and create and maintain a webpage detailing financing and risk management programs available to aquaculture businesses.

In cooperation with the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development, Maine Aquaculture Association and Maine & Company, GMRI will support the establishment of an aquaculture investment recruitment program. This program will seek to attract and support new investment into the state’s aquaculture sector from outside the state and country. The recruitment program will serve as a one stop shop for companies and investors wishing to understand why Maine is the best place to locate their operations.

Maine Aquaculture Association (MAA)
Founded in 1976, the Maine Aquaculture Association (MAA) is the country’s oldest state aquaculture association. MAA serves as the center of a dynamic and fast-growing cluster of farms, service providers and researchers that comprise the state’s aquaculture sector. Maine has over 190 commercial
aquaculture farms that grow finfish, shellfish and seaweed. These farms employ over 650 people using a
wide variety of production methods and generating over $100 million in sales annually. Recognized as world leaders in the development of sustainable, aquatic farming methods, MAA members continually strive to innovate, reduce their ecological footprint and provide the highest quality, healthy seafood.

MAA is cooperating with FocusMaine to develop innovative, new farm management and analytical tools
for the farming, financing and investment communities. MAA will develop a series of species and production method specific economic benchmarking studies. These studies will assist the financing and investment communities in understanding what normal operating costs and returns on investment should be for five different types of production. The benchmarking studies will also serve as metrics against which existing farms can measure their own performance compared to industry averages.

MAA is also developing a series of generic, species and production method specific, business plans with linked production plans. The production plans will allow farmers to vary some basic assumptions and project production levels and harvest timing based on these variables. The production plans will be linked to the overarching business plans, thus allowing farmers to examine the impacts of different production plans on their business plans, cash flow and returns on investment. The business and production plans are targeted to assist new farmers who have little financial or farm management training.

Join Us for a Free Food & Beverage Entrepreneur Coaching Event!

On Wednesday, October 4th, Samuel Adams is bringing its popular Brewing the American Dream (BTAD) Speed Coaching event to Portland, ME for the first time. Brewing the American Dream, Sam Adams’ core philanthropic initiative, connects passionate food and beverage entrepreneurs with seasoned industry experts and is designed to provide expert, personalized business advice. The events are hosted in partnership with Accion, the nation’s largest nonprofit small business lending network and the Portland event is in partnership with Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI), a mission-driven lender and investor specializing in rural economic development as well as the Maine Brewers Guild, Greater Portland Council of Governments, Food Fork Lab and ScaleUp.

During the free Speed Coaching event, food and beverage business owners receive counseling from business experts to generate new ideas and strategies to help their businesses grow and succeed. Each attendee will participate in up to six, 20-minute personalized coaching sessions with local small business specialists, food and beverage veterans and experts from Sam Adams, Accion and CEI. From sales and distribution to packaging, finance, e-commerce and more, no small business subject is off-limits.

Attendees can expect a fun evening of learning, networking and comradery over a pint of Sam Adams OctoberFest. Attendees will also receive a copy of the book Quench Your Own Thirst: Business Lessons Learned Over a Beer or Two by Sam Adams brewer and founder, Jim Koch.  

RSVP:                    The Speed Coaching event in Portland is free to attend and is open to all entrepreneurs in food, beverage and craft brewing. Business owners interested in participating can register on Eventbrite at 

WHEN:                 Wednesday, October 4th, 2017, 5:30 – 8:30 PM EDT 

WHERE:               O’Maine Studios, 54 Danforth St., Portland, Maine 04101 

WHY:                    Jim Koch started Samuel Adams in his kitchen in 1984, and after 33 years of brewing success, he never forgot how difficult it was to start and run a successful small business. Jim created Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream in 2008 to provide support to business owners in two areas he wishes he had help with when launching Sam Adams: real-world business advice and a loan.

NATIONAL IMPACT: Since the BTAD program began in 2008, Sam Adams has supported Accion in providing more than 1,300 loans totaling $18.9 million to food and beverage businesses across the country who have then created or retained over 5,400 jobs. Just as important, the program has coached or mentored over 8,000 small businesses through events like BTAD Speed Coaching.

NEW ENGLAND IMPACT: In the New England region, Sam Adams Brewing the American Dream has supported Accion in providing over 120 loans totaling nearly $1.4 million and helping some of the most passionate food and beverage entrepreneurs across the region support approximately 495 jobs and counting.

MEDIA RSVP:     If interested in attending, media must RVSP to at

Betsy Biemann Named Aspen Institute Job Quality Fellow

September 7, 2017–With support from The Prudential Foundation and Ford Foundation, the Aspen Institute’s Job Quality Fellowship aims to support and strengthen the work of leaders dedicated to expanding access to and availability of better quality jobs in our economy.

“Now is the time to focus on making better quality jobs,” said Maureen Conway, vice president for policy programs and executive director of the Economic Opportunities Program at the Aspen Institute. “That’s why we’re launching the Job Quality Fellowship. It is our direct engagement with an impressive range of innovators already leading the way toward expanded opportunity and improved job quality.”

Over the next year, Aspen Job Quality Fellows will work together on these crucial issues. The 2017-18 Job Quality Fellows are:

  • Emylene Aspilla, Director, Social Responsibility & Community Sustainability, San Francisco International Airport, San Francisco, CA
  • Betsy Biemann, CEO, Coastal Enterprises Inc, Brunswick, ME
  • Laphonza Butler, President, SEIU 2015, Los Angeles, CA
  • Amanda Cage, Chief Program Officer, Chicago-Cook County Workforce Partnership, Chicago, IL
  • Mary Jo Cook, President & CEO, Pacific Community Ventures, San Francisco, CA
  • Jose Corona, Director, Equity & Strategic Partnerships, Office of the Mayor, Oakland, CA
  • Christine Curella, Director, Business Initiatives & Job Quality, Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development, New York, NY
  • Jess Kutch, Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director,, Washington, DC
  • J.D. LaRock, President & CEO, Commonwealth Corporation, Boston, MA
  • Sean Daniel Murphy, CEO, ICA Fund Good Jobs, Oakland, CA
  • Jenny Riggenbach, Workforce Director, Incourage, Wisconsin Rapids, WI
  • Liddy Romero, Managing Director, WorkLab Innovation, Denver, CO
  • Anjali Sakaria, Senior Community Development Analyst, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, Boston, MA
  • Palak Shah, Social Innovations Director, National Domestic Workers Alliance, New York, NY
  • Lara Shock, Senior Director, Associate Choice Initiatives, Walmart, Bentonville, AR
  • Walt Tobin, President, Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College, Orangeburg, SC

“People need stable, quality jobs that are safe, pay enough to live on, and offer essential benefits. There are not enough of these jobs, particularly for low-income, underserved populations,” said Sarah Keh, director of corporate giving, Prudential Financial, Inc., in a webinar discussing the Fellowship. “Low quality jobs can be a core driver of inequality because everything is intertwined in today’s economy. Businesses succeed when individuals, families, and communities are thriving too.”

For over 25 years, EOP has aimed to expand opportunities for people to connect to quality work, build assets, and attain a stable economic standing. The new Job Quality Fellowship Program extends this ongoing mission. For more information about the Fellowship, visit

CEI One of Four New Issuers to Join ImpactUs Marketplace

September 13, 2017—Washington, D.C.—Financial technology provider ImpactUs today announced the onboarding of four additional issuers to its impact investing platform, ImpactUs Marketplace. The Marketplace is a community-driven  platform offering institutions, individuals and financial advisors an extensive range of private impact investing opportunities.

The four issuers* are mission-driven organizations dedicated to building strong, healthy and successful communities.

  • Coastal Enterprises, Inc.: A national leader in rural business development, CEI helps to grow good jobs, environmentally-sustainable enterprises, and shared prosperity in Maine and across the country.
  • Enterprise Community Investment, Inc.: Enterprise Community Investment, Inc., part of the Enterprise Community Partners family of companies, improves communities and lives by bringing capital to developments that make well-designed homes affordable.
  • Iroquois Valley Farms REIT: An early adopter of the ImpactUs Marketplace, Iroquois Valley Farms has added its REIT to the platform to enable investors to directly support the growth of the organic food movement by supporting regenerative organic farmers.
  • MicroVest Capital Management LLC: Founded in 2003, MicroVest applies a commercial framework to investing in unbanked and under-served markets to address financial inclusion by investing in financial intermediaries serving unbanked and underserved communities around the world.

*Some of these issuers’ offerings are only available to accredited investors. Investing in private investments requires high risk tolerance, low liquidity concerns, and long-term commitments. Investors must be able to afford to lose their entire investment.

“These four organizations are now part of the growing number of mission-driven institutions realizing the power that technology, coupled with formal investment administration services, can have in reaching broadening their reach to current and prospective impact investors,” said Reginald Stanley, President and CEO of ImpactUs.

“While ImpactUs Marketplace is the platform through which these issuers seek to receive investments, these organizations are central to furthering our mission of creating thriving communities,” said Liz Sessler, Vice President of ImpactUs. “The issuers allow investors to seek returns in the form of affordable housing and healthcare, employment, sustainable agriculture, microfinance and more.”

ImpactUs provides the technological infrastructure to seamlessly connect investors and advisors with mission-driven institutions, providing end-to-end transactional and capital management capabilities. As a broker dealer, ImpactUs harnesses technology to make impact investing more accessible.

ImpactUs Marketplace is open to investors looking to increase their purpose-driven investments. Those interested in learning about these investment opportunities and more can log onto to register.

The foundational support necessary to launch ImpactUs was provided by some of the leading organizations in the social impact sphere, including MacArthur Foundation, Ford Foundation, Kellogg Foundation, Enterprise Community Partners and City First Enterprises.

About ImpactUs
ImpactUs Marketplace simplifies the impact investing process. It provides investors, advisors, and impact organizations greater choice at accessible costs while directing more capital to funds and projects that seek to deliver community, societal, and environmental benefits. Every day, ImpactUs connects investors with purpose, creating more equitable and thriving communities.

The information contained in this press release does not constitute an offer or solicitation and may not be treated as an offer or solicitation (i) in any jurisdiction where such an offer or solicitation is against the law; (ii) to anyone to whom it is unlawful to make such an offer or solicitation; (iii) if the person making the offer or solicitation is not qualified to do so. The issuers named in this press release can only be marketed in certain jurisdictions only. 

All securities related activity is conducted through ImpactUs Marketplace LLC a registered broker-dealer and member FINRA/SIPC, located at 1875 Connecticut Ave., NW 10th Floor, Washington, DC 20009. ImpactUs does not make investment recommendations and this communication should not be construed as a recommendation for any security offering named in this press release. Private investments are only suitable for investors who are familiar with and willing to accept the high risk associated with private investments. Securities sold through private investments are not publicly traded and are intended for investors who do not have a need for a liquid investment.

Enterprise Community Investment, Inc. (“ECI”, together with its affiliates, “Enterprise”) is a Maryland corporation exempt from taxation under Section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”).  ECI’s business lines include, among other things, directly and through its affiliates, the syndication of Low Income Housing Tax Credits, multifamily mortgage financing and other structured finance products. ECI’s directors are appointed by Enterprise Community Partners, Inc. (“Partners”). 

Partners is a tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Code and is a founding member of ImpactUs Marketplace LLC, a Delaware limited liability company (“ImpactUs”), a registered broker-dealer and a member of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc.  ImpactUs’s Board of Directors (the “Board”) appointed a manager and CEO, who manages the company’s day to day affairs.