New: Ocean Business Accelerator

The Gulf of Maine Research Institute is establishing an Ocean Business Accelerator — a portfolio of mission-based for-profit ventures. The Portland-based marine nonprofit, which remains independent, objective, and non-partisan, announced the new initiative in 2019.

 

The Ocean Business Accelerator will complement the organization's existing nonprofit programming by supporting the development of mission-driven business ventures and partnerships that will leverage private sector market opportunities.

The Ocean Business Accelerator will draw on institutional knowledge to advance business ideas, attract investment, and lead partnerships that will contribute to the New England marine industry’s economic health and development. Each mission-driven business venture within the Ocean Business Accelerator will be incorporated initially as a wholly-owned subsidiary and developed to support the long-term ecologic and economic health of the Gulf of Maine bioregion.

“This is another way for us to support the Gulf of Maine ecosystem and the communities that depend on it to earn a living,” said CEO/President Don Perkins. “We understand the social, cultural, and financial importance of a strong marine economy — and this Ocean Business Accelerator is another tool for us to offer support.”

After conducting a national search, GMRI hired its longtime Chief Development Officer, Blaine Grimes, as its new Chief Ventures Officer to lead this initiative. Grimes, who has substantial private sector experience prior to joining GMRI, will be focused on mission-driven investment and business development in the Gulf of Maine bioregion.

“After 14 years of supporting our non-profit mission by building philanthropic support, I’m excited to explore new ways to further our mission,” said Grimes. “We’re focused on identifying and advancing market-based solutions to the challenges we’ve identified through years of research and work with community and industry partners.”

GMRI is currently pursuing opportunities for several mission-driven business ventures with internal and external partners. The organization plans to share details for each of these mission-driven business ventures as they make progress within the Ocean Business Accelerator in the coming years.

Funding to launch this initiative was provided by a mix of private philanthropic gifts and a $150,000 grant from the Maine Technology Institute.

 
 

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