Maine Technology Institute announces changes to funding programs, access & is moving

MTI moving to Brunswick Landing

BY RAMONA DU HOUX

September 12th, 2011 

The Maine Technology Institute (MTI) announced changes to its core funding program for business innovation in Maine. MTI stated that their goal is to create greater access to coaching and capital for growing businesses from Maine’s traditional industries such as precision manufacturing, forestry and agriculture as well as emerging industries such as biotechnology and information technology. MTI is also relocating to Brunswick Landing and offering advise days in Orono.

“Along with the updates to our funding, we are increasing access to MTI both online and across the state to insure that eligible businesses know about their funding options and can apply to MTI easily,” said Betsy Biemann, MTI president. “The environment facing Maine companies has changed. Accessing growth capital is even more competitive and investors require certain characteristics and milestones in both early-stage and later-stage businesses before investing… Maine has globally competitive technology and MTI’s funding and support can help entrepreneurs and businesses build on these assets and take those innovations to the market.”

While continuing to require a 1:1 match for funding and to participate in a competitive application process, MTI’s Business Innovation Program will now offer:
a. A NEW TechStart Grant for up to $5000 which will be awarded on a monthly basis for concept planning, market research and tech transfer exploration

b. A REVISED Seed Grant that will make grants of up to $25,000 will now be available every four months for early-stage R&D activity

c. A REVISED Development Loan that will lend up to $500,000 as a conditional loan for later stage R&D activity

d. A NEW Business Acceleration Grant for activities that will increase a company’s chance of success such as business planning, strengthening financial management capacity, developing strategies to secure key customers, strategic partners and investors and entrepreneurship training for management. Eligible Maine companies will be those that have received federal Small Business Innovation Research grants and first-time entrepreneurs who win an MTI Development Loan

e. EXPANDED Equity Capital that makes investments up to $200,000 available to selected MTI companies who need to achieve specific milestones to secure follow-on private investment

Beginning September 8, MTI will hold monthly office days on the first Thursday of each month at the Target Technology Center in Orono.

“Establishing scheduled Orono office days will give businesses throughout Central Eastern and Northern Maine a regular opportunity and a shorter drive to meet with MTI staff,” explained Biemann. “In the last 10 years, we have funded start-up companies and significant research projects in northern and eastern Maine. We know that if you’re in Bar Harbor, Eastport or Presque Isle, or even here in Orono/Bangor area, it simply takes valuable time and resources away from your business to travel extensively.”

Later in September, MTI will move its main office to the Brunswick Landing, the new Maine Center for Innovation and former home of the Brunswick Naval Air Station.

“Relocating our main office to Brunswick creates several new opportunities,” said Biemann. “Brunswick Landing seeks to attract new technology-intensive businesses to Maine and by locating MTI there, we will be able to contribute to Maine’s business attraction success by introducing these new businesses to Maine’s statewide innovation assets and MTI funding programs. In addition, our move enables us to lower our overall costs of operation and increases access for businesses.”

MTI is a publicly financed, private nonprofit organization created by the Legislature to stimulate research and development activity leading to the commercialization of new products, processes and services in the state’s seven technology-intensive sectors.