March 24, 2019
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Maine energy, entrepreneur groups score $50,000 in federal awards

PORTLAND, Maine — A center that runs trainings for entrepreneurs and a clean energy industry group each will receive $50,000 awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration that could expand their operations in the state.

The Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development and the Environmental and Energy Technology Council of Maine, or E2Tech, were among eight groups in New England awarded grants through the SBA’s Growth Accelerator Fund Competition.

The SBA picked 80 similar entities across the country aimed at helping startup businesses get off the ground.

“Small businesses are the backbone of Maine’s economy, and accelerating the growth of these small firms is essential to driving innovation and creating good-paying new jobs,” Seth Goodall, SBA regional administrator for New England, said in a news release.

Portland-based E2Tech said in a statement about the award, announced Tuesday, that it plans to use the money for industry studies, a fall conference on clean technology and reaching out to more clean technology entrepreneurs in the northern and Down East regions of the state.

Don Gooding, executive director of MCED, said in his group’s pitch video that the money would help it plan for the next year and is working on a fourth location, in Lewiston-Auburn, for its Top Gun training program, which offers online and in-person courses to people seeking to start or grow an early-stage business.

The group has locations in Portland, Bangor and Rockland and received seed funding from the Blackstone Accelerates Growth Initiative, for which funding is expected to run out in Maine later this year.

Gooding said the funding from the SBA “will help ensure that the momentum we’ve built with our Top Gun accelerator continues well beyond the success enabled through Blackstone Accelerates Growth seed funding over the past four years.”

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