FocusMaine, a private-sector group trying to accelerate economic growth in the state, will get $5.2 million in Harold Alfond Foundation grant funding.
Co-chair Andrea Maker says an earlier Alfond grant helped the group identify three focus areas: agriculture, aquaculture and bio-pharmaceuticals.
“They all have this high potential to create jobs in Maine, based on the fact, largely, that they receive competitive advantages by being located in Maine and they’re all in growing, global markets,” she says.
Maker says while the other Alfond grants are mostly targeted to higher education for workforce training, her group’s role will be to make sure there are jobs in Maine for those students as they graduate.
“They will be creating a world-class talent pool for employers. FocusMaine will apply our Alfond resources to creating jobs, to help retain those students as they graduate here in the state of Maine. Which could help us shift the demographics of our state,” she says.
Maine says bio-pharmaceutical companies in greater Boston are looking to expand in regions that are less congested, but within a hundred miles of existing facilities. She says that means the Alfond grants could prepare Maine well to compete for those expanding operations.
“The research and development for bio-pharmaceuticals is occurring in the Boston-Cambridge area,” she says. “It is a congested area, it is an expensive place to do business, and those companies down there are now looking at a 100-mile radius around Cambridge to locate their manufacturing and development sites, to get out of the congestion and to reduce the cost.”