As you know, in August, Governor Janet Mills and Maine Department of Economic & Community Development (DECD) Commissioner Heather Johnson announced that a new grant program had been created to assist Maine small businesses and non-profit entities that suffered business and revenue disruptions associated with the global pandemic. $200 million of federal CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Funds were being made available to provide much needed financial relief to affected organizations across the State of Maine.
Just over half of the $200 million was disbursed through the Phase 1 program, which frees up nearly $100 million for a Phase 2 program. DECD announced a total of $105 million Phase 1 awards on October 15. In total, there were 2,329 awards announced which, according to DECD’s website, included 2,072 to small businesses and 257 to non-profits. The average award size was approximately $45,000. The maximum award size was $100,000.
On September 22, the Governor and Commissioner Johnson announced the opening of Phase 2 of the program that will provide grants to more businesses and larger businesses in the state (vs. Phase 1). Phase 1 excluded new businesses and those with more than 50 employees. Phase 2 allows new and early-stage businesses – – those started between January 2019 and March 30, 2020 or those that generated their first $25,000 in revenue during that time period – – and those with up to 250 employees to seek the funding. MTI is working with DECD to help assess the eligibility of new and early stage businesses.
A list of the eligibility requirements and a link to the online application can be found on the DECD website. The filing deadline, first set for October 23, 2020, is now extended to October 29, 2020. Awards decisions are slated to be announced, and funding disbursed, in mid-December.
DECD is collaborating with the federal Small Business Administration (SBA) to provide potential Maine Economic Recovery Grant applicants with technical assistance. The SBA provides free business advice and counseling through three partner organizations in Maine. I encourage you to reach out to any one of the following for help with your application:
The Maine Small Business Development Centers – Counselors are available statewide and you can request advising help on their website.
SCORE – SCORE has chapters around the State and is a free, volunteer-led service. It has both general business mentors and subject area experts.
The Maine Women’s Business Center – The Women’s Business Center provides free, confidential business counseling and advising to women business owners.
Please don’t miss out on this opportunity to access some much-needed funding to help your organization weather the business disruptions caused by the Coronavirus pandemic. Time is running out.