Coastal Enterprises Inc.

Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI) is an expert in rural business, development and financing. A private, nonprofit Community Development Corporation (CDC) and Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) based in Wiscasset, Maine, CEI was founded in 1977 to support job-creating natural resource and small business ventures in rural regions of Maine, its primary market, and areas of northern New England and upstate New York. With its New Markets Tax Credit Program, venture capital funds, and 7(a) lending license, CEI is able to invest in projects throughout rural America.

CEI does its work by funding, lending and investing in small and medium sized businesses and projects, and providing business support and technical advising services to promote economic opportunity for all people, particuarly for those with low incomes. A pioneer in its field, CEI is one of the nation’s premiere rural CDC/CDFIs.

CEI has subsidiaries and affiliates that enable it to expand its programs and services, such as:

  • CEI Capital Management, LLC manages CEI’s $683 million allocation under the New Markets Tax Credit program
  • CEI Investment Notes, Inc., which provides a way for individuals and institutions to invest in the local economy in order to reap social, environmental and economic benefits, and
  • CEI Ventures, Inc., which invests venture capital in promising job-generating businesses

CEI embraces a comprehensive approach to building community assets, linking business financing to job creation, entrepreneurship, sustainable development, policy advocacy and research. The organization operates in primarily rural markets where financial returns are often insufficient to attract traditional investment, but where CEI’s goal of achieving economic, social and environmental benefits can be satisfied.

Climate work from this organization

This is the story of the redevelopment of an abandoned mill in rural Maine, which now has a new life powered by renewable energy and wired for gigabit broadband. This mixed use complex includes a restaurant, boutique hotel, 22 affordable housing units, and business tenants. 

CEI specializes in “triple bottom line” financing for businesses that are often playing a direct or indirect role in strengthening community response to climate change. Our borrowers are advancing renewable energy technologies; creating sustainable fishery, forestry, aquaculture, and farming practices; developing... Read more

This white paper from the mid 1990s outlines CEI’s sustainable rural development principles honoring the environment and connecting social justice and environmental justice.

These policy directions reflect CEI’s 37 years of experience as a leading practitioner in community economic development and community development finance. They are intended to inform the governor, legislators, elected officials and others interested in... Read more