CEI Names Seven Businesses to its 2020 Cohort for Maine Tastemakers Initiative

February 24, 2020 (Brunswick, ME) – CEI has selected the 2020 cohort for its Tastemakers Initiative, providing financial resources, market analysis, specialized consulting and investor networking opportunities for emerging food and beverage companies. The companies are Maine Cap N Stem; Ocean Approved, Inc. (DBA Atlantic Sea Farms); Glidden Point Oyster Co.; Wilbur’s of Maine Chocolate Confections; Commonwealth Poultry; Bigelow Brewing Company; and Aurora Mills and Farm, LLC.

“That Maine’s local food movement is leading the pack is no secret to those of us who love the amazing products grown, harvested, and produced here,” said Gray Harris, Senior Vice President of Food System at CEI. “These are businesses poised to grow, access catalytic capital and innovate to reach new markets. The Tastemakers Initiative enables these businesses to engage technical experts, including our partners at Maine Center for Entrepreneurs, to provide tailored business assistance to help them scale, create good jobs and reach new customers.”

As part of the Tastemaker offerings, cohort members can access:

  • Up to $15,000 per company for consulting to pursue a strategic growth opportunity
  • Up to $5,000 per company to coordinate supply chain planning with Maine producers
  • 30 Hours of organizational development & workforce attraction and retention consulting from CEI’s Workforce Development team.
  • Up to $8,000 per company for facility design, engineering, and permitting 
  • An opportunity to showcase products in Boston at Maine Tastemakers Showcase in June

This is the third year of a partnership between CEI and FocusMaine to support the growth of Maine’s food economy.  The Tastemaker initiative is a central component of this work.

With 42 years’ experience providing financing and business advice to Maine companies, CEI is keenly aware of challenges that businesses face. They include overcoming barriers in transportation, connections, and scaling production to reach new markets; having access to production facilities with cold storage, commercial kitchens and production space; finding workers in a tight labor market; and the everyday realities of running a business, from financial management to marketing.

“FocusMaine recognizes Maine’s food economy as one of the most promising sectors for future job growth. Across the state, we see an inspiring cadre of growth-oriented entrepreneurs, makers and businesses eager to sell more of their products outside Maine,” said Kimberly Hamilton, PhD, President of FocusMaine. “Our programs help support their passion and bring more good Maine food to the rest of the country. Working with terrific partners like CEI, the Maine Center for Entrepreneurs and others, we’re seeing real impact from these programs we’ve helped build.”

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. Find out more at www.ceimaine.org.

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