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April 6, 2023

Navigating the border: Maine companies honored for international reach

sheep eating from a feed bag Courtesy / MITC North American Kelp, based in Waldoboro, turns nutrient-rich kelp into products for the agricultural market in the form of animal feed supplements, liquid extracts and soluble powders. The company is being recognized by MITC as Exporter of the Year.
In 2022, more than 2,000 Maine companies exported more than $3.4 billion in goods and services to 178 international markets. 
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From the forest to the sea, winners of Maine International Trade Center’s 2023 International Trade and Investment Awards hail from a range of industries. 

Four winners, announced on Thursday, are being recognized for their commitment to expanding their business overseas. In 2022, more than 2,000 Maine companies exported more than $3.4 billion in goods and services to 178 international markets, according to MITC.
“We’re very pleased to recognize this year’s award winners, who demonstrate commitments to excellence, global connections, innovation and sustainability,” said MITC President Wade Merritt. “We look forward to presenting the awards and celebrating their success with Maine’s international business community at Trade Day 2023.”

Among this year’s honorees, North American Kelp, of Waldoboro, is being recognized as Exporter of the Year. The award is presented to a manufacturer that has demonstrated an ongoing commitment to international trade through increased exports.

The company, founded in 1971 by marine engineer Robert Morse, harvests rockweed from Maine’s Midcoast and turns nutrient-rich kelp into animal feed supplements and other products for the agricultural market. Around 15% of the company’s business is international.

“We have a long and proud history harvesting Maine seaweed in a responsible and sustainable way,” said Samantha deGroff, the company’s market and project coordinator. “Our kelp products are known globally for their high quality, and demand for our products overseas has increased exponentially in recent years. We are proud to be recognized by MITC with the Exporter of the Year Award.”

Other honorees

Tom Fox working with wood
Courtesy / MITC
Tom Fox of Fox Forestry

Other honorees include Orland-based Fox Forestry, which is starting to export forest equipment to the European Union and is being recognized as Innovator of the Year; Dirigo Strategies LLC, a Thomaston-based marine consulting company being honored as Service Provider of the Year; and Libellula, an Italian-owned company based at TechPlace in Brunswick that is selling cold-pressed organic olive oil from Rome in the United States. It has been named Foreign Direct Investor of the Year.

In addition, the Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative will receive the President’s Award, given to those who display exceptional support to MITC. Maine brings in over 80% of lobster landed in the U.S., and Maine lobster is sold in 38 countries around the world. "MLMC’s goal is to tell the story of Maine’s heritage industry," according to MITC. 

Former MITC intern Keegan Stanton-Meas will receive the Future Global Leader Award for his assistance to the MITC team in 2022. After graduating from the University of New England in December, he returned to MITC, working as a trade assistant until he leaves in August for graduate school in a business program that will take him to London, Shanghai and Dubai.


All winners will be feted at Trade Day 2023, scheduled for May 17 in Portland. Learn more and register here. 

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