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May 03, 2017

CEI Receives Grant from Hearst Foundation for Microenterprise Development Initiative

May 3, 2017 – Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI) is honored announce a $100,000 grant award from the William Randolph Hearst Foundation, based in New York and San Francisco, to help support its Microenterprise Development Initiative. The initiative will provide one-on-one business advising and training to microenterprises, primarily in rural communities throughout Maine, with an emphasis on serving low income individuals, women, new immigrants, child care providers and natural resource-based industries.

“Funding from the Hearst Foundation will help CEI address Maine’s need for alternative economic options for its residents, particularly low income people in rural areas,” said Jennifer Sporzynski, Senior Program Director for CEI’s Business Development Services. “As a small and microbusiness state, Maine’s economic future depends, in part, on its ability to nurture the entrepreneurial aspirations of its residents, particularly in rural regions.” Over the next year, CEI anticipates providing workshops, individual business consultation and networking opportunities to 2,000 aspiring and existing entrepreneurs across Maine.

Given the difficulty of finding living wage jobs, many Mainers create their own through microenterprises, accounting for 22.3 percent of the state’s employment and in certain rural counties 43.3 percent (a growing trend). CEI’s business advising services take a comprehensive approach to not only address the needs of individual entrepreneurs but also strengthen Maine’s entrepreneurial ecosystem as a whole. CEI offers entrepreneurship education, access to entrepreneurial networks, and coordinated training, management assistance and access to capital. Support for enterprise development is an effective strategy for building economically healthy communities and increasing family assets and stability.

CEI’s 13 professional business advisors work throughout the state, and are housed within three different programs: the Maine Small Business Development Centers at CEI (SBDC) provides general business assistance; the Women’s Business Center at CEI (WBC) delivers targeted services for aspiring and existing women business owners; and StartSmart offers microenterprise support for refugees and immigrants. The project will be carried out with existing staff in each of these programs.

About 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

About the William Randolph Hearst Foundations

The Hearst Foundations are national philanthropic resources for organizations working in the fields of culture, education, health and social services. The Hearst Foundations identify and fund outstanding nonprofits to ensure that people of all backgrounds in the United States have the opportunity to build healthy, productive and inspiring lives.

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