Four new communities named 'business friendly'

Posted Wednesday, November 28, 2012 in News

Four new communities named 'business friendly'

AUGUSTA - Representing vastly different geographic regions of the state, the newest "Certified Business Friendly Communities" join a growing list of Maine communities to be honored by the LePage Administration's for their willingness to create opportunities for existing and new businesses. The four communities designated "Certified Business Friendly" in the third round of the program are Ellsworth, Fairfield, Kennebunk and Topsham.

"It's no doubt our great State is diverse, and that's why I love it. But it's also great to see each community named today has a common desire for economic prosperity, job growth and an ‘open-for-business' mentality," Gov. Paul R. LePage said while announcing the four newest cities and towns to be designated as a Certified Business Friendly Community.

Since the program's inception in March, a total of 18 Maine communities have received the business friendly status. To be certified "business friendly," multiple areas of criteria are considered, including customer service, business involvement and collaboration, input from the public, and licensing and permitting. Communities named business friendly will be presented with a certificate, two MaineDOT road signs and will become a key part of Maine's business attraction strategy.

While the administration recognizes that every Maine community strives to be business friendly, it is important to recognize those communities that follow the Governor's lead in understanding a proactive approach to business development is a successful approach.

"Through the efforts of the Governor and, more importantly, the continued hard work and dedication by our communities on behalf of businesses to grow and thrive, Maine continues to rise in the ranks of top states for business," said Commissioner George Gervais of the Department of Economic and Community Development. "We ask that every community continue to work to improve their business climate, and to reach out to the DECD for any reason. Our programs and initiatives are here to help."

A team of public and private economic development experts reviews each application to determine eligibility in the program. Each community is evaluated on an individual basis. The following are some highlights from this round's successful communities:

• Ellsworth first applied in the second round of the Certified Business Friendly Communities program and received certification in the third round for its significant efforts to proactively address business concerns regarding traffic congestion issues. The community also offers programs aimed at skill enhancement and workforce development. • Fairfield, in its successful application, showcased its positive efforts to create and retain jobs. The town networks and collaborates with regional economic and community development entities, such as the Central Maine Growth Council, on a broad range of development initiatives. • As an applicant from the first round, the review team noted that Kennebunk's active and involved Economic Development Committee has utilized approximately $2 million in Community Development Program Grant funds for infrastructure and façade enhancements, and for economic development projects. • Topsham has proven itself business friendly, not only through its full-time economic and community development director and its own economic development corporation, but also through its proactive use of TIFs to retain and recruit businesses.

The selection team consists of: Amy Downing, Maine State Chamber of Commerce; John Butera, Senior Economic Advisor for Gov. LePage; Chris Steele, CWS Consulting Group; Chuck Graceffa, Pierce Atwood; George Gervais, DECD Commissioner; Peter DelGreco, Maine and Co. President; and Andrea Smith, DECD Office of Community Development.

Details of a ceremony recognizing the newest Certified Business Friendly Communities will be announced shortly. Ellsworth, Fairfield, Kennebunk and Topsham join the communities of Auburn, Augusta, Bath, Biddeford, Brewer, Bucksport, Cumberland, Guilford, Lewiston, Lincoln, Pittsfield, Saco, Sanford and Westbrook that partner with business in order to help Maine prosper.

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