The U.S. Small Business Administration partnered with the National Science and Technology Council’s Lab-to-Market subcommittee to award a total of $330,000 in prizes to the winners of the new Lab-to-Market (L2M) Inclusive Innovation Ecosystem Prize Competition. From among over 160 submissions, Central Maine Growth Council was selected to receive a “Visionary” prize of $25,000 to expand the reach of their network and build opportunities for small businesses in Central Maine.

The L2M prize competition recognizes the most impactful organizations, programs and ideas that support the research and development (R&D) innovation ecosystems, particularly those focused on underrepresented communities and pandemic responses. The competition’s goal is to encourage entrepreneurship and inclusive, sustainable growth by developing and commercializing technology to improve access to resources. 

“The selection of Central Maine Growth Council for this award is a recognition of the strong collaborations that happen among organizations here in Maine,” said Diane Sturgeon, deputy district director of SBA’s Maine District Office. “By investing in local organizations, the SBA is providing resources to those who understand their communities best, and are able to leverage their knowledge on behalf of Maine’s entrepreneurs.”

“We are honored to be recognized by the national Lab-to-Market competition for our commitments to Maine-based entrepreneurs, small businesses, and the state’s innovation landscape,” said Garvan Donegan, director of planning, innovation & economic development at CMGC. “As we emerge out of the COVID-19 pandemic, this funding will be utilized to continue our trendline of resiliency and assist with launching our Dirigo Labs accelerator program and an associated network of resources for innovation fellows, entrepreneurs, and startup companies.”

Submissions were evaluated for quality and clarity by a panel of federal employees and non-federal partners with relevant expertise. Final selection was made by an interagency committee in coordination with the SBA’s Office of Innovation and Technology.