The state of Maine began making significant investments in research and development in the late 1990s, aligning those investments with industry sectors that drew upon the state’s traditional strengths as well as emerging industries such as biotechnology. This strategy was largely built upon the cluster theory of economic development, which can be challenging to implement in rural areas, in part because of their less dense social networks. This paper suggests that developing more efficient social networks will build stronger clusters and make rural areas more successful in innovation, and presents the Blackstone Accelerates Growth initiative as an emerging model for innovation in Maine.

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