AUGUSTA — Gov. Paul LePage and Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner George Gervais announced the first round communities today that have earned the designation “business-friendly.”

The nine communities earning the designation were Augusta, Bath, Biddeford, Saco, Brewer, Bucksport, Guilford, Lincoln and Sanford.

In a Cabinet Room ceremony, LePage said these cities and towns have found ways to speed up the regulatory process.

“The No. 1 focus of our administration is to create prosperity for the state of Maine,” he said.

Although 19 cities and towns applied for the designation, nine were named “certified business-friendly.”

They will receive road signs so they can tout the award.

Portland and Bangor did not apply to the program, Gervais said.

Falmouth, Gorham, Cumberland, Houlton, Kennebunk, Pittsfield, Presque Isle, Rumford, South Portland and Waterboro all applied, but were denied the certification.