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MCED’s Collaboration with FocusMaine and Strategic Partners Announced

FocusMaine Announces Transition to Implementation  of  Job Growth Plan, Alfond Foundation Grant, Partners and President

Initial 3-year phase to build a foundation for job growth begins this month 

PORTLAND, MAINE -- FocusMaine is pleased to announce it is pursuing the full scope of its 10-year implementation plan to create quality Maine jobs and increase worker capacity in Maine. This month marks the start of the organization’s initial three-year phase of implementation. During this phase, FocusMaine aims to build the necessary foundation for sustained job creation in the three traded sectors FocusMaine has identified as having high potential for accelerated job growth: agriculture, aquaculture, and biopharmaceuticals, as well as to build systems to retain and attract knowledge workers for Maine businesses and their selected sectors. A generous $4.9 million three-year matching grant from The Harold Alfond ® Foundation has helped launch the transition to this implementation phase.

“FocusMaine is excited to have begun working with our partner organizations on the full scope of our plan, beginning in the early years with building the foundation necessary for creating meaningful jobs and accelerating growth in our signature sectors,” said Michael Dubyak, co-chair of FocusMaine. “We are confident our leadership, vision, collaboration with our partners, and long-term commitment to seeing this 10-year effort succeed, which really differentiates FocusMaine, will result in increased economic opportunity for Maine.” 

“Entering this implementation phase is the transition from research and planning into action, which is the critical step to achieving our long-term mission,” said FocusMaine co- chair Andrea Cianchette Maker. “We greatly appreciate The Harold Alfond ® Foundation’s generous support and their confidence in our ability to execute our research-supported plans to create sustainable, quality jobs and secure workers needed for Maine’s economy.”

FocusMaine works closely with its partner organizations, which include the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, Maine Aquaculture Association, Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development, Coastal Enterprises Inc., and Maine & Company, who have been instrumental in developing and now executing strategies within the selected sectors to accelerate quality job growth in Maine. The services, programs and resources they will provide to businesses in the selected sectors through FocusMaine will include strategies to attract, recruit and support new investment, address growth barriers, and improve access to growth capital. They also will provide accelerator and mentorship programs, and develop management  and analytical tools to aid businesses in the identified sectors. (Please see overview attached for more information on each partner’s role.)  

To lead this multi-partner collaboration, FocusMaine has hired an experienced executive to serve as its first president. Kimberly A. Hamilton, PhD, who grew up in North Yarmouth, Maine, was most recently Chief Impact Officer at Feeding America, the nation’s largest hunger-relief organization. Previously, Kim served in a variety of senior roles at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and other policy and research organizations. She will start her new role in late October.

The $4.9 million Harold Alfond ® Foundation matching grant, an earlier grant from the Maine Technology Institute, and other donations bring FocusMaine’s implementation phase fundraising total to date close to the $6.6 million it needs to complete the first three- year phase of the organization’s implementation plan. FocusMaine is working to secure additional commitments by early 2018 to reach that goal.

FocusMaine aims to stimulate the growth of between 5,000 to 12,000 direct traded jobs (primarily engaging in exports from Maine) and 14,000 to 32,000 indirect jobs (supplier and supports) in its signature sectors over the course of the next ten years. FocusMaine, through its Knowledge Worker Initiative, is committed to fostering, growing, and attracting the talent critical to support the workforce requirements of these traded sectors, as well as increasing Maine’s overall workforce capacity.

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About FocusMaine:

Founded in 2014, FocusMaine’s mission is to strengthen and revitalize opportunity and prosperity in Maine by accelerating the growth of jobs in select signature industries that have high potential to create Maine jobs on a sustainable basis. In collaboration with multiple partners, FocusMaine will coordinate and oversee the execution of programs designed to accelerate business growth and business attraction in its selected sectors, as well as increase Maine’s workforce capacity. FocusMaine was founded by a group of proven, private-sector Maine leaders, and in partnership with industry-specific subject matter experts, advisers, economists and partnering organizations, is using a fact-based, disciplined approach to sector selection and industry development. FocusMaine acts as a catalyst for the accelerated and sustainable growth and business confidence that energizes Maine’s economy. For more information visit www.focusmaine.org.

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