PRIME FAQs

PRIME Phase 1 Specific Questions

How much funding is available and when can awardees expect funding?

For this state fiscal year ending in June of 2022, $25M in funding has been allocated by the Maine State Legislature. We plan to announce the first round of PRIME Fund awardees before the end of July 2022. Please understand additional time and communications will be required to process awards and distribute award payments. Further rounds of PRIME Fund applications will be announced in the coming months. 

What are some examples of unallowable expenses? 

Funds must be used to implement your plan and directly address negative impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic. Types of expenses which would NOT be allowed include but are not limited to the following:

  • Entertainment
  • Lobbying
  • Goods and Services for Personal Use
  • Litigation
  • Fines, Penalties, Damages and other Settlements

What qualifies as a “negative impact of the pandemic”?

A company’s “negative impact” can be defined in multiple ways. The easiest way is to show a revenue decline in 2020 vs. 2019 or YTD 2021 vs. the same period in 2019. Some other ways include:

  • Supply chain disruptions that caused a reduction in production or revenue.
  • Worker unavailability.
  • Distribution disruptions.
  • Other resource limitations.
  • Business owners from certain communities or operating in certain sectors that have been federally designated as negatively impacted by the pandemic.

Companies should think broadly about the damage the pandemic caused their business. That damage should be fully explained and detailed as possible in the application. Please see the Sample PRIME Application on this site for examples of acceptable “damage explanation” you may want to use.

How long must a business have been in existence to be eligible?

An eligible business needs to have been in operation since October 1, 2021.

Will companies with a significant Maine presence, but out-of-state ownership, be eligible?

Companies with a “significant presence in Maine” are eligible to apply – even if the company’s headquarters (HQ) or state of incorporation is outside of Maine. A company with a headquarters outside of Maine will need to be registered to be eligible to do business in the state through the Secretary of State’s office. A “significant presence” is generally defined by MTI as a company with more than 50% of its employees in the state, or a short-term plan to achieve more than 50% of its employees within the state.

Will prior MTI awards impact eligibility?

This program is a stand-alone initiative and prior MTI award(s) or declines will not impact eligibility for the PRIME Fund. These are federal funds supplied by the state and administered by MTI.

How much detail is necessary to include in the PRIME funding application? 

The purpose of this funding is for recovery and sustainable growth for companies in the state’s technology sectors. The plan you submit with your application should provide the details of how the funds will be used to achieve those goals for your company/organization. Our Sample Application exemplifies the level of detail we seek.

How do I access my saved application? 

To access your MTI online account and view your application once it has been saved or submitted click here.

If I have Excel spreadsheets and Word documents already created to support my plan, can they be uploaded to the MTI online system as part of my application?

If plans have already been created using Word or Excel, those files can be uploaded and referenced in your application. Your plan should be concise and include the goals you expect to achieve (new hires, revenue growth, client churn rate reductions, employee churn rate reductions, etc.)

Companies should think broadly about actions they can take to increase resiliency and transform their business. If your pandemic response plan improves stability and creates growth potential, you may be a good candidate for the PRIME Fund.

What are the reporting requirements from MTI?

The funds awarded from this program are funded from the federal government and the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). All award funds are subject to audit. Maine has specific reporting requirements back to the federal government on a quarterly basis and we will use the information in your application and the amount of award paid for our reporting. There may be a need for some follow-up on the funds distributed and the status of your project. We will ensure these requests are short and online to facilitate data collection.

Where do I find the Agreement to comply with Federal and State reporting requirements?

You can access the Agreement here. Please review, sign, and date this Agreement then save your signed version as an electronic file to be uploaded with your required application documents in MTI’s Online Application Portal. Be sure the business name on the Agreement matches the name on the W9 you will also provide.  

How much support will MTI provide to prospective applicants developing their proposals?

We recognize there may be parts of this application that require some assistance. Given the short amount of time that the portal will be open and the number of potential applicants, we anticipate hosting a Zoom call each week to answer specific questions from any business that would like to call in and participate. Click here for schedule and registration information. If the question is very specific to a business, we may ask to move you into a Zoom breakout room where you can get individual assistance. Meetings will be recorded and posted. If a question is not already in our FAQ list, we will add it as a response for the benefit of future applicants.

We have also created an email which will be monitored by MTI staff to answer questions regarding the PRIME Fund. We hope to answer all questions within one business day. That email address is [email protected].

For future economic impact of the funding, can I count total employees added even if some may not be in the state of Maine?

As you execute the plan outlined in the application, we would expect that your business will achieve new levels of recovery, success and stability. Recovery and growth are usually reflected in revenue growth of the company over time, and either the retention or growth of existing quality positions at the company over time. We recognize that some positions are best staffed outside of Maine. As long as the company maintains its headquarters or a significant presence (see above FAQ) in the state, MTI will allow a company to count non-Maine-based employee growth in the economic impact goals outlined in the application.

How do I get or find my Unique Entity ID (UEID) number and is there any cost to me to obtain a UEID number?

On April 4, 2022, the unique entity identifier used across the federal government changed from the DUNS Number to the Unique Entity ID number generated by SAM.gov. The Unique Entity ID (UEID) number is required and free to obtain. We will need to report all awards to the federal government and include the UEID number for that account.

  • The Unique Entity ID number is a 12-character alphanumeric ID assigned to an entity by SAM.gov.
  • As part of this transition, the DUNS Number has been removed from SAM.gov.
  • Entity registration, searching, and data entry in SAM.gov now require use of the new Unique Entity ID number.
  • Existing registered entities can find their Unique Entity ID number by following the steps here
  • New entities can get their Unique Entity ID number at SAM.gov and, if required, complete an entity registration.
  • The SAM.gov website has a video and a list of FAQ’s. (Videos can be found halfway down the SAM.gov page.)  
  • Please note – the registration process allows you to obtain just a Unique Entity ID (UEID) number or also to register your business so that you can bid on government contracts. The video indicates that you need to register your entity to get federal awards. The award you are applying for through PRIME is NOT a direct federal award. Unless you plan to bid on government contracts most applicants for the PRIME program only need to sign up for the UEID number. (Easier and faster.)
  • If you have attempted to register your UEID number with SAM.gov but have received a message stating your request requires further review, you can still proceed with MTI’s online application for the PRIME Fund. Click here to learn more.

How can I apply if I don’t have Microsoft Word to open the application?

Word files can be opened with Google Docs or Drive. Read more about using these alternatives here: https://support.google.com/a/users/answer/9308757.

How can I learn more about diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB)?

Over the past year MTI has undertaken a deliberate effort to better understand how to implement DEIB practices in its own operations and how to foster greater DEIB practices within the Maine entrepreneurial ecosystem and, more specifically, in the companies that it funds. Companies that embrace these concepts to guide their culture will prove to be some of the most successful in the state. Click here to learn more.

What are the components of “Quality Jobs” and what areas will be scored as part of PRIME?

MTI is committed to helping companies create high-quality positions. This is not an easy process, and it takes resources and dedication on the part of the leadership. However, the impact to the company and eventually to the workforce in our state will be profound. 

As part of the PRIME Fund program, we will be asking applicants to think about the components of a quality position and indicate if they have incorporated any aspects of a quality job definition into their workplace. For further details, click here.

What can I count towards matching requirements?

The awardee match is a legislatively-mandated portion of a PRIME Fund awardee’s project costs that are paid by sources other than the PRIME Fund (the “Match”). In order to comply with MTI’s statutory mandate and ensure that PRIME Fund recipients are equally invested in the long-term success of their business, each PRIME Fund award requires a 1:1 Match. All PRIME Fund applicants must demonstrate how they will meet the Match requirement. 

Cash, unrecovered indirect costs, and other third-party contributions count towards the Match provided that the contributions are:

  • distinctly identified in the project budget submitted with the application;
  • reasonably quantifiable and verifiable from the company’s records;
  • used specifically to complete the pandemic response plan presented in your PRIME Application;
  • incurred after March 6, 2021;
Cash MatchOther Match
Current Revenue from products/servicesDonated Services (including unpaid founders’ time)
Capital from investors or banksPro-rated technology and/or service expense
Corporate or private foundation contributionsMileage and other travel expense
Other grant funds awarded as of April 14, 2022Current year depreciation expense on previously purchased equipment

Other Match commitments are limited by the following:

  • Estimates capped at $50/hr for in-kind salary contributions, unless a higher salary rate is supported by clear documentation; 
  • Other Match contributions capped at 85% for requests of up to $49K; 
  • Other Match contributions capped at 25% for requests $50K – $200K
  • At least 1:1 Cash Match required for all requests greater than $200,000;

The following examples are NOT allowable contributions and will not count towards your Match:

  • Revenue projected out further than July 31, 2022;
  • Costs that are inconsistent with the project scope;
  • Projected funds from other grant programs that were not awarded as of April 14, 2022; 
  • Use of publicly available resources that your company accesses for free (e.g., library internet, laboratory space (for university-based projects), university utilities, depreciation on government-funded equipment);
  • Costs for activities performed outside of your proposed pandemic response plan timeline

All contributions claimed as part of your Match are subject to independent verification.