WATERVILLE — Central Maine Growth Council has been selected by the U.S. Small Business Administration, in partnership with the National Science and Technology Council’s Lab-to-Market subcommittee, to receive a $25,000 grant to support Dirigo Labs. CMGC was one of more than 160 applicants from across the United States and the only recipient in New England.

Submitted under the ‘Visionary’ category, the competition purse was awarded to applicants who demonstrated the most inventive and actionable ideas toward creating a more inclusive R&D innovation ecosystem for the future. The competition’s goal is to encourage entrepreneurship and sustainable growth by developing and commercializing technology to improve access to resources. The SBA, in partnership with the National Science and Technology Council’s Lab-to-Market subcommittee, awarded $330,000 in prizes to the winners of the Lab-to-Market Inclusive Innovation Ecosystem Prize Competition. On Thursday, Feb. 18, CMGC and other L2M grant recipients will be recognized by the SBA in a virtual awards ceremony. The ceremony will also spotlight current Federal efforts toward advancing entrepreneurship and improving the transfer of federally funded research into the marketplace.

“Connectivity and coordination across R&D innovation ecosystems are even more critical today to support recovery from potential COVID-19 impacts on high growth startups,” said Diane Sturgeon, acting district director of SBA’s Maine District Office, “Ensuring that access to resources and capital are available to all Americans is essential in creating a robust and dynamic workforce with inclusive growth, and ensuring that the benefits of entrepreneurship accrue across the nation. By investing in local organizations, the SBA is providing resources to those who understand their communities best and are able to leverage their knowledge on behalf of Maine’s entrepreneurs.”

Dirigo Labs, an initiative and regional technology accelerator program designed by CMGC, was previously selected to receive approximately $600,000 from the Economic Development Agency’s Build-to Scale Venture Challenge in 2020 as part of Dirigo Labs’ 1.2M project budget. The EDA investment will assist in fostering innovation and collaboratively support Maine-based entrepreneurs to stimulate the establishment and growth of technology-based start-ups in mid-Maine.

“We are honored to be recognized by the national Lab-to-Market competition for our commitments to Maine-based entrepreneurs, small businesses, and the state’s innovation landscape,” says Garvan Donegan, director of planning, innovation & economic development at CMGC. “The Dirigo Labs initiative will support synergy between central Maine’s diverse educational assets and an increasing nexus of rural remote workers to build an associated network of resources for innovation fellows, entrepreneurs, and startup companies.”

Dirigo Labs will focus on Maine-based, high-growth industry sectors, including bioeconomy, information technology, financial services, and innovation within Maine’s legacy industries of precision manufacturing and blue economy jobs, which extends to emerging environmental technologies in marine and aquaculture clusters.