CEI spokeswoman Elizabeth Rogers said the now-troubled Community Ventures fund made equity investments in nine rural businesses.

In all, the SBA provided $72 million of financing to the six funds, Chastang said.

So far, only $16.4 million of that money has been repaid, she said.

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A Maine-based investment fund that was designed to help small businesses in rural areas has gone into receivership after operating for 15 years as part of a failed experiment by the U. The deeply indebted fund, known as CEI Community Ventures Fund LLC, is one of the last remnants of an SBA program launched in 2002 to infuse long-term capital into small businesses in underserved areas through equity investing.

A federal judge has turned over management of the fund, operated by Brunswick-based Coastal Enterprises Inc., to the SBA for the purpose of liquidating it.

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