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Updated: February 23, 2024

A business lab from CEI aims to spur growth in weatherization industry

people around house with ladders COURTESY / MAINE SEACOAST MISSION Trade professionals can learn about the weatherization business through CEI. Seen here is a past weatherization project by Maine Seacoast Mission.

Coastal Enterprises Inc. has added to its roster of business development services — including programs for women, refugees and immigrants, as well as sector-specific expertise in child care and food harvesting, production and distribution.

The community development financial institution, headquartered in Brunswick, this week launched an advising program aimed at growing businesses that deliver home weatherization and energy efficiency services.

CEI was awarded $300,000 by the Governor’s Energy Office in December to develop the program.

Weatherization is identified as a priority for improving energy efficiency across the state, with nonprofits such as Maine Seacoast Mission logging community service time to weatherize homes in its service area

The free, seven-week Weatherization Business Lab is designed to provide trade professionals with basic business management tools and industry insights to help keep weatherization contractors open or expand their businesses.

The goal is to grow small businesses, create good jobs and ultimately help Maine reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Maine-based independent construction, installation and repair professionals are eligible to apply. The program offers lessons on the fundamentals of opening and operating a small business including business plan development, marketing, budgeting, and financing, plus industry-specific regulations and opportunities.

Meetings will be held remotely once a week over seven weeks. Applications are open through March 14.

The program is open to both new and existing business owners interested in providing weatherization services, including air sealing, insulation, energy audits and any other services related to protecting buildings from outside elements. 

CEI has been supporting entrepreneur development, new businesses and business growth for more than 40 years. The CEI Child Care Business Lab, which launched in 2020 with a similar model to train child care entrepreneurs, has assisted over 30 participants to date, who have created 580 new child care spaces throughout Maine.

For more information, click here.

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