The Blackstone Charitable Foundation today announced the launch of a new $3 million regional initiative - Blackstone Accelerates Growth - designed to ignite growth at start-ups and existing high potential companies throughout this rural state and help Maine transition from a historically resource based economy to an innovation economy. Working closely with business and civic leaders, the Blackstone initiative will establish regional hubs of innovation and entrepreneurship that target training, coaching and mentoring services to the state’s most promising businesses primed for growth.
The Blackstone commitment was announced at Brunswick Landing, a former U.S. Naval Base being transformed into a center of business and innovation. Among the notable attendees were Blackstone Chairman and CEO Stephen A. Schwarzman, U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe, U.S. Senator Susan Collins, U.S. Representative Mike Michaud, U.S. Representative Chellie Pingree, and Karen Mills, Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration. More than 250 attendees from Maine’s business, non-profit and academic communities celebrated this important day for the state of Maine.
Funding from the Blackstone Charitable Foundation will support established local organizations and help them bring or expand their services to target regions. Local partners include: Innovation Engineering/Jump Start, a mentorship program that works with existing companies on growth strategies and Top Gun, a venture development program that coaches start-ups. The University of Maine will receive support to prepare a cadre of students to assist Hub companies. The Maine Technology Institute, an established entrepreneurial support institute, will administer the program.
By supporting growth at new and existing companies, training the next generation of entrepreneurs and creating communities that support and foster entrepreneurship, the project holds great promise for economic growth and job creation. In three years, more than 250 companies are expected to be served and in ten years, some 10,000 jobs created and $664 million infused into Maine’s economy.
The Maine initiative is the most recent commitment made as part of the Blackstone Charitable Foundation’s 5-year, $50 million Entrepreneurship Initiative, which develops, implements and supports innovative entrepreneurship programs that can have a profound impact on the economic revitalization and job growth in distressed regions.