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February 16, 2018

Four other Maine companies receive MTI 'challenge' grants

Photo / Tim Greenway
Photo / Tim Greenway
SaviLinx CEO Heather Blease, shown in this file photo, has been awarded $95,000 by Maine Technology Institute toward a $245,239 project Information Management System that will enable the delivery of enhanced professional services providing strategic information and analytics” to its clients. It is one of six companies receiving collectively $10.5 million from MTI in challenge grants funded by the $45 million R&D bond approved by voters last June.

In addition to awarding $4 million to Verso Corp. to upgrade and restart the Jay mill's idled No. 3 paper machine and $3 million to Montana-based SmartLam to support its plans to build a $23.5 million cross-laminated timber manufacturing plant in Maine, Maine Technology Institute approved four additional grant awards funded by the $45 million R&D bond approved by voters last June.

MTI manages for the state the Maine Technology Asset Fund 2.0 program financed by that bond. An independent economic impact analysis estimated the six projects receiving grants in this round of awards will collectively lead to 1,151 new jobs and a total economic impact of $379 million for Maine.

Here are the other recipients announced on Thursday in MTI's overall $10.5 million awarding of grants:

Ready Seafood Co., Portland, $2.25 million awarded toward a $6 million project.

MTI reported that Ready Seafood has recently purchased a 40-acre property to develop a Maine Lobster Full Utilization Campus. The goal of this project is to maximize the value of Maine's lobster resource by collaborating with Maine'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, MTI stated.

MTI reported that the new facility is expected to create 40 new full-time positions and generate tens of millions of dollars in additional revenue. The 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.

Sea Bags, Portland, $1 million awarded toward a $4 million project. Sea Bags has been handcrafting totes and accessories from recycled sails on Custom House Wharf in Portland since 1999. The company's MTAF 2.0 award will be used to develop new precision manufacturing capabilities to build capacity and accelerate growth in customized products, which are already the top seller and competitive differentiator at the company.

MTI reported that "Sea Bags plans to commercialize 'mass customization' of one-of-a-kind products, by developing systems to track each used sail from its origin, and to design, manufacture, and ultimately ship to the purchaser, a final product that meets their unique design specifications through flexible, digitally controlled manufacturing processes that integrate on-line design capabilities with Sea Bags' unique raw material supply chain.

Arcast Inc., Oxford, $187,500 toward a $500,000 project.

Arcast Inc., based in Oxford, is a relatively young company in the field of metallurgical processing. The company has built an international portfolio of customers for its process equipment, which includes arc-melting systems and inert-gas-atomizers for the production of high purity metal powders.

MTI reported that Arcast is now expanding operations into powder production, employing its own technological developments. The grant funding is expected to "greatly accelerate" the company's efforts to be at the cutting edge of manufacturing technology.

SaviLinx, Brunswick, $95,000 toward a $245,239 project.

SaviLinx was founded on Brunswick Landing by Maine native Heather Blease in 2013 as a HUBZone Certified, Woman Owned Small Business providing business process outsourcing contact services to the public and private sectors. The company's operational success led to its rank as the 28th fastest growing company in the United States by Inc. Magazine with over 400 employees in less than five years.

MTI reported that the grant will enable SaviLinx to "create an innovative system called the SaviLinx Enterprise Information Management System that will enable the delivery of enhanced professional services providing strategic information and analytics" to its clients.

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