Maine Entrepreneur Resource Corps (MERC) Helps Entrepreneurs Get Expert Consulting
Consulting and technical assistance are vital to businesses, especially those just starting out. Although many startups are eager to enlist the help of experienced consultants, it can be challenging to find assistance that is both dependable and within budget. To help overcome those two challenges, MTI developed the Maine Entrepreneurial Resource Corps (MERC).
The MERC database is filled with vetted, Maine-based consultants who are committed to offering support and guidance to Maine businesses. This database is used to facilitate short-term projects of 3 months or less between vetted consultants and eligible Maine businesses, or “clients.”
What Kind of Expert Consulting Can MERC Provide?
- Corporate Governance
- Regulatory Compliance
- Public Relations
- Information Technology
- Human Resources
- Organizational Development
- Operations Management
- Grant Writing
- Custom Software Development
- Business Analytics & Data Science
Types of Funding
Typical Funding Amount
Half of the project fee, up to $20,000
MERC is Funded Through The Domestic Trade Pilot Program
Criteria for Application
MERC projects must meet the following DTPP criteria to be considered for funding:
Must be a Maine-based business
Your organization must be registered in Maine or have a significant presence in Maine. If you have plans to establish a presence in Maine, you can apply but funds typically won’t be dispersed until you have made progress in establishing a Maine presence.
Under $5 million in annual revenue
MERC supports entrepreneurs and startups that need help increasing revenue.
Increases domestic sales
You must be able to articulate how the MERC project will help increase domestic sales.
Part of a “pandemic-impacted” industry
In Maine, these industries are:
- Fishing and Forestry
- Clean Energy
- Retail (including wholesale)
How to Apply
It starts with our interest form, and a conversation with an MTI team member
Step 1: Fill out the interest form
Note that the interest form is not a funding application form – it simply provides basic information so we can contact you to see if your organization is a good fit for MERC funding.
Step 2: Meet with the MERC coordinator
We will contact you within 5-8 business days to schedule a meeting with the MERC coordinator. The purpose of this meeting is to discuss if your business is a good fit for the MERC program and to discuss how your proposed project will contribute to the long-term growth of your business by addressing an immediate consulting need. By the end of the meeting, we will determine if you are ready for a MERC project, and if so, the MERC Coordinator will invite you to apply.
Step 3: Application
The MERC project application is intended to provide more information about your project and how MTI can help you achieve your project goals. We will request the following:
- Status of your company (opportunities and challenges)
- How your proposed project fits into your immediate growth plan (pursuing opportunities and addressing challenges)
By this point in the application process, we will have a good sense around what type of assistance you will need to complete a successful project.
Step 4: Choose your consultant
Based on the information collected from your meeting and application, the MERC Coordinator will create a list of approved MERC consultants who could potentially fit your project needs. For each consultant on the list, you will receive a profile including a fee schedule, contact information, background information, and written references from past clients.
From this list, you will be free to contact and select any consultant you wish. Please note that MTI will not be involved in the consultant selection process beyond providing you with a list from our database. Whichever consultant you choose to work with is entirely your decision.
Step 5: Scope of Work
Once you and the consultant of your choice agree to collaborate, we ask that you draft a Scope of Work (SOW) for MTI’s approval. We will review the SOW for clarity and specificity to be certain both you and your chosen consultant understand what your completed project will look like. Once the SOW has been signed by both you and the consultant — and approved by the MERC Coordinator — you may begin your project. Congratulations!
Ready to Start? Fill Out the Interest Form
Are You Interested in Becoming a MERC Consultant?
Joining our MERC consultant database is a great way to connect with a potential pool of clients while supporting Maine entrepreneurs. Click the button below to find out if you’re eligible to be a MERC consultant and how to apply.