WATERVILLE — The Central Maine Growth Council has announced the first tranche of inaugural awardees of its ERIH (Economic Recovery Implementation Hub) grant program. The council has awarded 14 grants to businesses within Kennebec and Somerset counties.

Funded through a program of Maine’s Department of Economic and Community Development, the council has awarded early-stage businesses and entrepreneurs with funding ranging from $5,000 to $49,000. Grants are deployed across four categories, including specifically designed funding for technology and innovation-based businesses, according to a news release from the council.

The funding program has been designed to support small and emerging businesses, with a focus on women- and minority-owned operations. The regional economic development program, and associated funding, is being utilized to support existing operations, has helped nest a new business in the region, purchase equipment, hire employees, overcome pandemic related revenue loss, and more.

Businesses who apply for ERIH grant funding are required to demonstrate proof of COVID-19 impact to be eligible for funding in addition to operating in Somerset or Kennebec County on or after Jan. 1, 2020.

“Newly located in downtown Waterville, Main Street Provisions’ success is greatly attributed to the thoughtful grant funding we’ve received through the ERIH Program,” Main Street Provisions Owner Zach Brann states. “The support provided has enabled us to increase our inventory, propel our expansion, and cultivate a welcoming community environment.”

To date, CMGC has competitively awarded the following businesses ERIH funding: The Nexus Gaming Lounge, Winslow; Maine Laboratories, Norridgewock; Perennial Renewables, Hallowell; Sunrise Bagel, Augusta; and Morgan Camp Care, Norridgewock.

Also, New England Karting Challenge, Vassalboro; The Good Crust, Canaan; Main Street Provisions, Waterville; Erica’s, Waterville; SledTRX, Waterville; Loon Cove Family Campground, Skowhegan; Natalie B. Imagery, Readfield; Maine Plywood, Bingham; and Pair Technologies, Waterville.

Businesses and entrepreneurs interested in learning about CMGC’s ERIH program — including accessing technical assistance, entrepreneurial training and grant funding — can visit centralmaine.org.


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