WISCASSET – Coastal Enterprises Inc., which provides funding and business support to small and mid-sized businesses, was awarded $700,000 over three years to fund Maine companies that are creating or designing innovative textile-based products and processes.

The money, awarded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Community Services, will target companies with growing employment and capital needs, Coastal Enterprises said.

Non-profit Coastal Enterprises said it will finance three to four companies in greater Biddeford and Lewiston, areas formerly known for their vibrant textile industries. The companies will create at least 40 full-time jobs, 75 percent of which will be targeted to low-income people. The project will help by creating new jobs and providing training.

Coastal Enterprises’ partner, the Manufacturers Association of Maine, identified the performance textile sector as an innovative sector with high-growth potential.

“Advanced and high performance textile companies in Maine are growing at a rate of about 10 percent in jobs and sales. This is an exciting collaboration with CEI to assist in growth of Maine’s textile sector,” said Lisa Martin, executive director of the manufacturers association.

Claudia Raessler, business coordinator at the Saco River Dye House, said the money helped fund the business, while Coastal Enterprises’ Workforce Solutions team helped it create a hiring plan and training curriculum. The program also helped it identify other resources around the state, such as the Department of Labor’s apprentice program to the Goodwill Career Center. The Saco River Dye House will be located in the former Pepperell Mill in Biddeford.

Coastal Enterprises provides rural business financing, technical assistance and policy advocacy for small and medium-sized companies.