YORK COUNTY — Several area companies have been announced as recipients of grants from the Maine Technology Institute under a special bond program approved by voters last year.

The grants were made from the Maine Technology Asset Fund 2.0 program, which was financed by a $45 million bond approved by voters in June 2017 and managed by MTI on behalf of residents of the State of Maine.

Projects awarded these grants are intended to spark economic expansion and create jobs for Maine residents.

Hyperlite Mountain Gear received an award of $177,670 to be used for a production automation and efficiency projects that will help further commercialize manufacturability and market competitiveness of their high-tech, high-quality, high-performance gear line.

The Biddeford-based company manufactures ultralight outdoor equipment using components made entirely in the United States.

Featuring high-tech material technologies and designs, Hyperlite Mountain Gear products allow a wide range of hardcore outdoor adventurers to weekend outdoor enthusiasts an opportunity to increase their performance, efficiency and enjoyment in the outdoors.

Ready Seafood Company received an award of $2.25 million to to develop a Maine Lobster Full Utilization Campus in Saco.

The project’s goal is intended to maximize the value of Maine’s lobster resources through collaboration with the state’s top lobster scientists to develop holding methods to ensure that more of Maine’s lobster harvest can be shipped and processed to meet the demands of growing markets.  

The company’s new Saco facility is expected to create 40 new fulltime positions and generate tens of millions of dollars in additional revenue.

Ready’s new campus will include an innovative lobster holding mechanism, a new lobster processing plant, a research lab, a lobster shell dehydration plant and a logistics hub.

Ready Seafood’s mission is to solidify the future of Maine’s lobster industry and supports collaborative research projects focusing on improving lobster quality, value and sustainability.

Maine Technology Institute is a publicly financed, private, nonprofit organization created by the Maine Legislature in 1999 to stimulate research and development activity leading to the commercialization of new products, processes and services in the state’s seven targeted technology sectors. 

Through loans, equity investments, or grants designed to enhance the competitive position of business sectors, the program aims to increase the likelihood that one or more of these sectors will support clusters of industrial activity and create quality jobs across Maine.

The Maine Technology Asset Fund is a state-approved bond fund investment in research, development and commercialization in Maine and is used for infrastructure, equipment and technology upgrades that enable organizations to gain and hold market share, to increase revenues and to expand employment or preserve jobs for Maine people, to be awarded through a competitive process to Maine-based public and private entities, leveraging other funds in a one-to-one ratio.

“These decisions have been extremely challenging given the breadth of the quality project proposals that we received,” said Brian Whitney, MTI president. ” I commend MTI’s staff and board for its efforts in vetting and assessing these proposals and making decisions that maximize economic impact across Maine.” 

Projects approved went through extensive due diligence by MTI, with primary focus on the stated desired economic outputs of growth or retention of market share, increased revenues, expanded employment and retained jobs, and the feasibility of the proposed projects to achieve their projected outputs. 

Requests were ranked against standard criteria and then against each other in terms of meeting the guiding principles established for the program. 

Whitney said that during the application period, MTI received 183 Maine Technology Asset Fund 2.0 (MTAF2.0) proposals seeking, in aggregate, close to $381 million for the $45 million bond-funded program.

Proposals came from all 16 Maine counties and from companies of all maturity levels, from startups to mature enterprises. 

He said additionally, MTI received proposals from companies it has never engaged with previously and even from out-of-state and out-of-country enterprises looking to establish a base of operations in Maine.

— Executive Editor Ed Pierce can be reached at 282-1535 ext. 326 or by email at [email protected]

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