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December 19, 2023

12 Months of Impact: Investing in a More Just, Vibrant and Climate-Resilient Future

For Immediate Release

Brunswick, Maine – December 19, 2023Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI) is proud to share the impact data from its 2023 fiscal year, highlighting its significant achievements towards building a more just, vibrant, and climate-resilient future for people and communities in Maine and beyond.

Increasing Access to Capital & Opportunity

CEI redefines “risk” in lending and investing by looking beyond traditional metrics and biases, and prioritizing people and communities overlooked by other mainstream finance providers. In FY23, CEI’s impact included:

  • $21.9 million invested in 106 unique businesses, 99 of them Maine-based, including 45 “Wicked Fast” quick-decision microloans totaling $807,000 and two equity investments.
  • 71% of loans to businesses under-served or not served at all by mainstream financial institutions, including 13% to entrepreneurs of color, immigrants or refugees, 37% to businesses with owners who have low incomes, and 47% to woman-owned businesses.
  • $2.95 million of loans issued to 12 child care providers.
  • 1,022 jobs were created or retained by businesses receiving CEI funding.
  •  99 businesses received coaching on Good Jobs strategies.

OystHERs Raw Bar & Bubbly, a new oyster bar in Bath, Maine, demonstrates the need for mission-based lenders like CEI. Twice denied loans by traditional banks due to their lack of business experience, OystHERs turned to CEI and received the funding they needed. Sadia & Lauren Crosby, the co-owners, credit CEI’s support for their success: “Everyone wanted to see us succeed. CEI is just a great experience.”

Supporting Economic Agency & Stability

CEI empowers individuals to take charge of their economic future through business development and financial education. In FY23:

  • 2,850 people, 70% of whom were women, and 64% were from low-income households, accessed CEI’s free business development one-on-one advising and training programs.
  • 1,008 people accessed homebuyer/homeowner education, housing counseling, or credit and financial counseling.
  • CEI Child Care Business Lab participants who opened in fall 2023 reported that 44% of parents of children attending these new child care businesses said they were able to start a new job.

Nasser Husain, a refugee from Jordan, got valuable advice from CEI when he purchased the EZ Wash laundromat in Lewiston, Maine and quickly realized that the equipment was outdated and energy inefficient. Nasser reached out to StartSmart, CEI’s business advising program for immigrants and refugees. A CEI advisor helped Nasser develop projections and obtain quotes for modern and efficient washers and dryers. In doing so, Nasser was able to make an informed decision to purchase and replace the old dryers with all new ones that use half the natural gas and work much more quickly. Now, his business is saving money, using less energy, and providing better customer service.

Investing in a Shared Climate-Resilient Future

Recognizing the urgency of climate action, CEI supports businesses and individuals building a more resilient future. In FY23:

  • 22% of CEI’s loans went to businesses with environmentally sustainable products or services in addition to nine loans to small businesses and farms for solar installations that will generate 307,455 kWhs of renewable energy annually, enough to power 28 homes.
  • 39% of loans supported sea and land farmers, harvesters, producers, and distributors, strengthening the local food system.
  • CEI advocated for LD 1670 – An Act to Fund the Maine’s Agriculture, Food and Forest Products Investment Fund, which passed unanimously with a $500,000 appropriation to support infrastructure investments in Maine’s natural resource-based sectors.
  • 100 people learned how to diversify and stabilize their income by farming planet-friendly species like oysters and kelp in Aquaculture in Shared Waters, a program offered by CEI and several partners.

Precipice Coffee, a zero-emissions coffee roaster in Ellsworth, Maine, used a low-cost solar loan from CEI to install an 8.1 kW photovoltaic system and make their dream of fully solar-powered roasting a reality. “We’re proud to use solar energy to power our coffee roaster and cottage workshop,” says owner Maggie Iannuzzi. “This provides high-quality beans that are better for the planet.”

Maine Roots, National Impact

CEI’s subsidiaries also made impactful investments in Maine and communities with low incomes across the country.

  • 30 Federal Street Investments leveraged $13 million in Maine Historic Tax Credit financing to support the rehabilitation of three new projects in Maine, creating 46 affordable housing units, with several other properties under construction.
  • CEI Ventures, Inc. placed $4.5 million of equity investment 5 new and 6 portfolio businesses in Maine and New England, supporting an estimated 515 jobs.
  • CEI-Boulos Capital Management placed $32 million of investments in three high-impact real estate developments across the country that will create an estimated 561 jobs and 509 units of affordable housing.
  • CEI Capital Management placed $17 million of New Markets Tax Credit financing in two projects nationwide that supports an estimated 327 jobs.

CEI’s 12 Months of Impact demonstrate the organization’s unwavering commitment to building a more equitable, vibrant, and climate-resilient future for Maine and beyond. Through its innovative financing, business development, and educational programs, CEI empowers people and communities to thrive, creating a ripple effect of positive change across the region.

To learn more about CEI’s impact and how you can get involved, visit


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