KeyBank Foundation has donated $450,000 payable over three years to Coastal Enterprises Inc. to support small business growth and job creation in Maine’s rural counties, the financing organization said Thursday.

The grant, approved as part of KeyBank’s $16.5 billion National Community Benefits Plan, will provide new support for CEI’s small business lending and advisory services, and partnerships with local organizations to help grow economic opportunity and quality jobs in rural Maine, it said.

“We are grateful for KeyBank’s recognition of the challenges and opportunities that Maine’s rural regions face as they work to grow more – and better quality – jobs and environmentally sustainable enterprises,” said CEI CEO Betsy Biemann in a news release. “We are here to help business owners access the financial resources and business advice that they need to be a successful part of their local economy.”

With KeyBank’s investment of $150,000 per year for three years, CEI expects to provide lending and business advisory services to 1,400 aspiring and current small business owners and help create and retain 300 jobs in the region in the next three years, the release said.

In addition, CEI will pilot new work with local institutions and partners to grow entrepreneurship as a means to generate income and savings, particularly for individuals with low incomes in the area.

“Support to small business development and entrepreneurship is increasingly recognized as an effective strategy for growing community and increasing family assets and stability,” said KeyBank’s Maine market president and regional executive, Sterling Kozlowski. “In rural counties, where 88 percent of businesses have four or fewer employees, the continued growth of existing and new enterprises is essential to job creation and driving economic vitality in the region, and KeyBank is proud to support CEI’s transformational efforts.”


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