Governor Paul LePage announced the administration's "Certified Business Friendly Community" program at the Blaine House today. The goal of the program is to encourage business development in communities throughout Maine. The program will be administered by the Department of Economic & Community Development with existing resources.
"The number one focus of my administration is jobs," said Governor LePage. Today's announcement is another step in the direction toward partnering with business, to ensure they have the tools they need to expand and create jobs in Maine."
Communities are encouraged to apply for the program, and applications can be submitted at any time. Applications can be submitted by communities, chambers of commerce, regional development authorities, trade organizations, businesses or individuals, but require the approval of the community being considered. Business Friendly Communities will be certified on a quarterly basis, beginning May 2012.
"What a business looks for is stability, reliability and consistency. That's what we need to bring to the forefront," added Governor LePage. "Businesses face many obstacles. They do not need -- nor should they be focusing on -- dealing with local, state and federal government."
A review team will be looking at several items in order to determine if a community is "Business Friendly." These items include looking at customer service, business involvement and collaboration, input from the public, and licensing and permitting. Each community will be evaluated on an individual basis.
"The Department of Economic & Community Development is excited to play a role in helping our local communities become more business friendly," said George Gervais, Commissioner. "Our focus is trying to challenge communities to reduce red tape and promote job creation, and we are looking to partner with them in their efforts to accomplish this."
If a community is deemed a "Certified Business Friendly Community" they will receive an award of certification presented by the Governor, recognition of the State of Maine DECD website, the community will become a key part of Maine's business attraction strategy, and an "Open for Business" sign to be displayed. In addition, Certified Business Friendly Communities will receive bonus points in future Community Development Block Grant applications (pending program approval). Certification is for two years, and communities are encouraged to reapply.