The Maine International Trade Center has been selected for an $812,823 federal grant to attract foreign investment to Maine.

The U.S. Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration announced Wednesday in a news release that the grant will be issued to MITC and the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development to establish a statewide “Invest in Maine” program to attract foreign direct investment to the state.

MITC recently conducted a two-year pilot program to engage international companies and will use the grant to build on the interest generated by the program.

“Promoting trade, increasing exports and attracting foreign investment to the United States is a major focus for the Department of Commerce and EDA,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Jay Williams. “The EDA investment announced today will help infuse Maine’s economy with new jobs and industries to create a stronger, more sustainable economy.”

The loss of traditional manufacturing jobs and an aging population of workers made the state suitable for the grant. Specifically, the EDA’s investment is intended to build capacity and enable a workforce assessment, research, lead generation, marketing and promotional activities to bring foreign companies and investment to Maine. That kind of investment should provide access to capital for Maine companies and encourage job growth and business expansion in manufacturing, including the development of supply chains, and promote innovation in science and health care, according to the release.

In its pilot project focusing on the advanced materials sector, MITC connected with 112 international companies, resulting in 12 visits to Maine and 12 proposals. MITC expects to double this conversion rate in the sectors of renewable energy, aerospace, food production and life sciences as a result of the Invest in Maine program.

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