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MAINE: An Introduction

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The Maine Advantage 

There are many reasons to do business in Maine. Not least among those is the natural beauty of our state, which entices professionals and families the world over to relocate here. From its craggy coastline to its deep woods and pristine lakes, Maine is an extraordinary place to live and work. A nationally recognized destination, Maine has put itself on the map as a gem of dining in the prominent farm-to-table movement. Maine’s schools and hospitals are highly ranked, providing quality service and care in a state with an affordable and safe lifestyle. In addition to offering a desirable quality of life, Maine is an exceptional place to do business.

Innovation and Entrepreneurship 

Maine values innovation and is emerging as an entrepreneurial state. The majority of businesses in Maine are small, family-run start-ups that range from the creative economy to farming to biotechnology. In recent years, innovative thought leaders have teamed up with local businesses and schools to promote investment in new and developing industry sectors. Maine’s Legislature has also placed a priority on training and recruiting young workers by providing incentives including student loan repayment and internships that give students hands-on experience. Maine also hosts a number of national and international companies, large and small, each of which helps to contribute to a diverse economy with room for growth. While many of these companies operate in the tech sector, there has also been substantial growth in Maine’s microbrewery business, which has led to a boom in small locally owned and operated breweries and tasting rooms. A private-sector led initiative has recently launched a series of business development programs to strengthen Maine’s agriculture and aquaculture sectors in recognition that Maine is emerging as a renowned source of high-quality, traceable foods for the northeastern U.S. Mainers pride themselves on their entrepreneurial spirit, and this has helped create a unique economy that welcomes all comers.

Natural Resources Abound 

Maine is home to some of the most abundant natural resources in the U.S. For example, 13% of Maine has freshwater coverage compared to a national average of 7%. Maine is also home to 6% of the entire U.S. coastline, and only 4% of its land is developed. In addition to its natural resources, Maine’s electricity prices are 25% lower than the New England average. Maine is also home to cutting-edge alternative energy markets including solar, offshore wind, and biomass. These industries bring jobs to Maine while encouraging energy independence and lowering the cost of doing business.

Booming Real Estate Market 

Housing and real estate in Maine range from small log cabins in rural towns to penthouse units with sweeping windows by the water. Maine’s real estate industry is diverse and growing. In recent years, Southern Maine has experienced a substantial development boom, with new units of affordable and market rate housing popping up at a steady pace. Much of the new development is focused on a sustainable downtown economy with walking-distance amenities including restaurants, bars and local farmers markets. With a unique range of housing options throughout Maine’s communities, businesses can be assured that their employees will find the perfect place to call home.

Market Growth and Opportunity 

Maine’s growth sectors include agriculture, aquaculture, information technology, biotechnology, manufacturing, financial services and the creative economy. These growth sectors are bolstered by Maine’s attractive wage base for employers and an affordable cost of living for employees. Maine’s proximity to Massachusetts also provides access to a highly skilled labor market and one of the world’s premier high-tech hubs. In addition, ridership on Maine’s Concord Coach Lines bus service to Boston and New York City and Amtrak train service continues to grow, as does the availability of non-stop flights from Portland to most of the country’s top destinations.

Portland is also home to the International Marine Terminal, which hosts an international shipping company. Portland and Waterville have intermodal shipping facilities for rail and over-the-road transportation. In addition, Eastport is the deepest naturally occurring port on the Eastern Seaboard. These transportation resources provide ease of access to prominent East Coast economic centers and trade routes.

Encouraging New Business 

Maine offers a number of business incentives, such as its Pine Tree Development Zone, Tax Increment Financing, a state New Market Capital Investment Credit, and a state Historic Preservation Tax Credit. In addition, Maine continually creates programs that help established businesses grow, and also encourage new companies to move to here. The State is expected to designate over 30 Opportunity Zones under the recently enacted federal tax reform act, creating capital gains tax shelters through investment incentives in low-income census tracts.