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November 8, 2012 | last updated November 8, 2012 11:23 am

CEI to give $700K boost to textile industry

Coastal Enterprises Inc. in Wiscasset has been awarded $700,000 over three years from the Federal Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Community Services for a revolving loan fund that will assist Maine-based textile companies that have growing employment and capital needs.

CEI will finance three to four "high performance" Maine textile companies that are creating or designing innovative textile-based products and processes, according to a press release announcing the award.

As a condition of the award, the manufacturers are to create at least 40 full-time jobs, 75% of which will be targeted to low-income people.

"Advanced and high performance textile companies in Maine are growing at a rate of about 10% in jobs and sales," said Lisa Martin, executive director of Manufacturers Association of Maine, which is partnering with CEI on the initiative.

Textiles defined as "high performance" are engineered for specific uses that require exceptional strength, stiffness, heat resistance, or chemical resistance.

Besides providing access to loan and investment capital, the manufacturing association will provide training opportunities and other assistance to growing Maine textile businesses.

CEI is a nonprofit organization that provides rural business financing, technical assistance and policy advocacy for small and medium sized companies. It has provided financing to more than 2,000 businesses and manages more than $800 million of invested capital.

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