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.