Blackstone Charitable Foundation Awards $3 Million to Help Stimulate Economic Growth in Maine

The New York City-based Blackstone Charitable Foundation has announced the launch of a ten-year, $3 million initiative that will support economic innovation and sustainable growth in Maine.

With the goal of creating more than ten thousand quality jobs in the state over the next decade, Blackstone Accelerates Growth will establish regional hubs of innovation and entrepreneurship that help new and existing businesses expand and achieve greater profitability and will work with the state to address the challenges associated with its largely rural geography and a historically slow growth rate. The foundation expects the initiative to generate an additional $664 million in revenue for Maine's economy over its ten-year lifespan.

Partner organizations include the Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development, which will use funds provided by the initiative to launch a venture development and mentorship program for early stage start-ups; the University of Maine, which will offer coaching services and a cadre of student interns who have studied an innovation curriculum; and the Maine Technology Institute, an early stage capital and commercialization assistance provider that will provide project management and oversight.

The grant is part of the foundation's five-year, $50 million commitment to foster entrepreneurship in places with high unemployment.

"The Blackstone Charitable Foundation is pleased to become a partner in Maine's transition towards an innovation economy that creates jobs," said Blackstone chairman and CEO Stephen A. Schwarzman. "Blackstone Accelerates Growth will supercharge the efforts of talented local partners and public servants that have shown success in fostering entrepreneurship, and will launch a new state-wide approach that directly tackles the challenges of a rural economy. New hubs of innovation will help start-ups get off the ground and existing companies increase profitability by connecting entrepreneurs who are focused on developing markets, innovating technologies, and growing access to capital."

"Blackstone Charitable Foundation Commits $3 Million to Accelerate Growth in Maine." Blackstone Charitable Foundation Press Release 10/11/2011.