PORTLAND, MAINE: October 16, 2014 - At a press conference held in the Portland office of Pierce Atwood LLP, Maine Governor Paul LePage today announced the successful establishment of the New England Ocean Cluster in Maine. The Iceland Ocean Cluster, led by Thor Sigfusson, has partnered with North Atlantic Assets & Soli DG, Inc of Maine to establish the New England Ocean Cluster and New England Ocean Cluster House.
“This past June, I led a trade mission to Iceland where our delegation witnessed firsthand the work of the Ocean Cluster House,” said Governor LePage. “This model is an excellent example of how private sector investment in innovation and cluster development can result in economic growth. I am proud of my administration’s partnership with Iceland’s Ocean Cluster and the new product development that will result from the establishment of a New England Ocean Cluster House in Portland.”
This private sector enterprise is focused on commercialization of new products related to the ocean as a resource. The goal of the cluster is to create, encourage, and spinoff new companies and products with cluster members with the goal of utilizing 100% of materials being harvested from the ocean, while focusing on higher and higher margins.
“It is a spinoff factory,” said Thor Sigfusson, “we create an environment where collaboration amongst our members happens naturally and we build upon new relationships with ideas, guidance, support, equity, whatever it takes to get moving.”
Patrick Arnold of Soli DG, Inc., the U.S.-based ownership of the New England Ocean Cluster, was very excited to be working with Thor and the Iceland Ocean Cluster. “Maine has always had hard working people with great ideas. This is an opportunity to link up with and learn from some of the best talent overseas while creating new opportunities in Maine and New England.”
Companies engaged in the New England Ocean Cluster will be focused on a diverse array of industry opportunities such as food processing, boat building, energy production, fishing, aquaculture, biotech, biomedical, pharmaceuticals, advanced materials, retail products, health and wellness, marine technology, applied science and many others.
"The New England Ocean Cluster will bring international attention to Portland by stimulating private sector innovation and creativity on our waterfront," said Portland Mayor Michael Brennan. "I'm excited that Thor Sigfusson of the Iceland Ocean Cluster and Patrick Arnold of Soli DG have selected Portland for this venture. We look forward to our continued efforts in seeing this project to fruition."
The Maine North Atlantic Development Office (MENADO) has been working as part of the state’s efforts to develop new opportunities for Maine throughout the high north. “Having the New England Ocean Cluster House in Maine will position Maine as a leader in Ocean Cluster enterprise and commercialization in the Northeast,” said MENADO Director Dana Eidsness. “It will give us a seat at the table with the North Atlantic Ocean Cluster Alliance, where we can innovate and share cluster formation and commercialization best practices with Ocean Clusters in Iceland, Denmark, Norway, Greenland, the Faroe Islands—and with our neighbors in Canada. We will instantly be plugged into a dynamic international network that drives economic development using local resources. Maine has just the right mix of entrepreneurs and ocean resource partners to make this a success in the U.S.”
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