June 22, 2018
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Maine venture capital fund changes name, hands out awards

By Whit Richardson, BDN Staff

NEWPORT, Maine — Maine’s venture capital fund last week announced a name change and handed out awards to three of its portfolio companies at its annual CEO recognition dinner.

During the Sept. 19 event at the Inn at Brunswick Station, the Small Enterprise Growth Fund announced it has officially changed its name to the Maine Venture Fund.

“It’s exciting news. We’re changing the name of the fund at long last,” John Burns, manager of the fund, told the Bangor Daily News Wednesday. “It’s always been more than a mouthful, and people never remembered it.”

The new name also better reflects the fund’s mission, which is to invest in early-stage companies from Maine.

“There’s a school of thought that says if you’re Joe’s Laundry, just say you’re Joe’s Laundry,” Burns said. “We’re not changing our mission, we’re just doing this to make clearer what the fund is and make it easier for entrepreneurs and small scalable companies to find us.”

The fund also plans to launch a new website in a few weeks, Burns said.

As for the awards, the Leadership Team of the Year award went to Coast of Maine Organic Products Inc., led by CEO Carlos Quijano. The Portland-based company, which sells premium organic soils and fertilizers, was recognized for its strong financial and marketplace position and for key strategic decisions made in the areas of capital expenditures and strategic partnerships, according to a news release from the fund.

Harbor Technologies LLC, led by CEO Rob Fuller, walked away with the Achievement Award for successfully restructuring the company to better position it for greater success and margin improvement. The Brunswick-based company manufactures composite beams and pilings for the transportation and maritime sectors.

The Public Benefit Award went to Cerahelix Inc., led by CEO Susan MacKay, for its contribution to Maine’s economy. The Orono-based company, which is a leader in the nanofiltration technology sector, uses DNA to produce high-purity ceramic filters. Its economic contributions include attracting federal research dollars, forming international strategic partnerships that bring attention and resources to Maine, and for its active utilization of resources available at the University of Maine.

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