FRI Phase 2 Specific Questions
What are the eligibility requirements in order to apply?
- Unlike other ARPA programs administered by MTI, you are eligible to apply and compete for funding even if you are currently outside the state of Maine. If awarded funding, your project will need to be developed in the state of Maine and you must agree to comply with all Maine business licensing and reporting requirements. The program is open to all current US companies.
- You conduct business involving the harvest, transportation (>50% of revenue from forestry operations), or processing of forest products utilizing timber, or you have developed a process or technology that could mitigate the damage to the Maine Forestry industry caused by the pandemic.
- There are no company size limits for this funding program (revenue or number of FTEs).
- You are able and willing to comply with simple bi-annual reporting updates required by State and Federal law.
How much funding is available and when can awardees expect funding?
- For the state fiscal year ending in June of 2023, approximately $14M in funding has been allocated for FRI-2. Approximately 75% of this funding is earmarked for strategic projects that offer new technology or new potential uses for Maine resources. The other 25% of the funding will be designated for productivity investments in current technology that significantly improves productivity of existing facilities and provides long term stability and competitiveness for current Maine operations. These are estimates of the funding, which is expected, and the split may be revised based on the quality and the types of applications received.
- We expect to make award announcements by the end of November and begin funding projects in the following months. MTI reserves the right to develop a funding distribution schedule based on mutually agreeable milestones for the project.
- We anticipate the full funding amount will be awarded in this round. However, MTI reserves the right to withhold some funding if the projects/applications submitted do not meet minimum scoring levels.
How much funding can a company request?
We expect a significant number of applications, and the total funding requested may exceed the $14M available. Our goal is to ensure that funding is awarded to the strongest proposals as judged by the review committee. Award size will be determined by:
- Total number of applications received that meet all eligibility criteria.
- Quality/scoring of proposed plans to address negative economic impacts caused by the pandemic within the Maine forestry industry.
- Economic impact to Maine.
For strategic projects, we expect a maximum award of $2M with an anticipated minimum of $500K. (MTI reserves the right to adjust these limits based on our assessment of the applications received.)
For productivity enhancement projects to existing facilities, we expect the awards will be $250K – $1M. (MTI reserves the right to adjust these limits based on our assessment of the applications received.)
How will the applications be evaluated and scored?
Each application will be evaluated and scored by a panel of experts which will include Forestry industry experts (all non-conflicted), economic development experts and grant funding experts. MTI will manage the process and host the application and review process. All correspondence and updates will come directly from the MTI Team.
What qualifies as a “negative impact of the pandemic”?
“Negative impact” can be defined in multiple ways, such as:
- Supply chain disruptions which caused a reduction in production or revenue
- Worker unavailability
- Distribution disruptions
- Other resource limitations
- Pandemic-caused changes in the world demand for forestry products
Companies should think broadly about the damage the pandemic caused the Forestry industry and the opportunities to improve the long-term economic viability of the industry with new products, new processes and new markets.
How long must a business have been in existence to be eligible?
An eligible business must be able to meet the other eligibility criteria and have an approved Certificate of Formation or Articles of Incorporation dated before January 1, 2022.
Will prior MTI awards impact eligibility?
This program is a stand-alone initiative and prior MTI award(s) or declinations will not impact eligibility for an FRI-2 award. FRI Funds are federal funds supplied by Maine and administered by MTI.
How much detail is needed to include in the application for the use of the FRI-2 Funding?
- The purpose of this funding is for recovery and growth for Maine’s Forestry industry. The plan you submit with your application should provide details of how the funds will be used to achieve those goals, both for your company and the positive impact it will make on Forestry industry in the state.
- Companies are asked to think broadly about steps they could take in their businesses that would cause transformative change and resiliency. If the program you envision causes real stability and an opportunity for growth in your company and the Maine Forestry industry, it may be a good candidate for funding from the FRI-2 program.
If I have Excel spreadsheets, PowerPoint decks and Word documents already created to support my plan, can they be uploaded to the MTI portal as part of my application?
Yes. If plans have already been created using Word, Excel, or PowerPoint, those files can be uploaded and referenced in your application.
You will still need to address all information requested in the seven sections of the Application Word Document. You can either (a) include your existing materials in your primary application document to be uploaded in the online application portal (NOTE: there is a limit of 25MB on file size for upload), or (b) email additional documents separately to [email protected].
If you choose to email additional documents, please be sure to reference your organization’s name as entered in your submitted online application. Upon review, we may reach out to the applicant for additional information or clarification.
What options — other than MTI — are available to receive federal funding?
Many other state, regional, and municipal organizations are also administering portions of the available federal funding. If you apply for funds administered through MTI’s FRI-2 program and are not awarded funding, or if your award is less than you expected or need, we will connect you with other American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding options that may be a better fit for your business. More information about these other funding opportunities in the state can be found on the ME Jobs and Recovery Plan (MJRP) website at https://www.maine.gov/jobsplan/
What is the deadline for the application?
The deadline for FRI-2 applications was 11:59 PM on October 18, 2022. If we have questions about your application, we may reach out during the months of September or October.
When will awards be announced and when will funds be available?
Awards were announced via email on December 9, 2022. Providing we have the Form W-9 and all necessary signed documents; funds will be released in December 2022 or January 2023.
What are the reporting requirements from MTI?
This program is supported by federal government funds and the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Maine has specific reporting requirements back to the federal government on a quarterly basis regarding how the funds were used and the status of the projects. We also anticipate a brief survey will be sent to each awardee asking for updates on the project every 6 months. We expect these will be fairly simple online surveys that can be completed in 5-10 minutes.
Will I need to sign a contract with MTI if I receive an award?
We plan to execute a simple agreement with each awardee to confirm that the information provided is accurate, the Form W-9 provided is accurate, and you are a going concern (an active business) that meets the eligibility requirements. We will also confirm compliance with the semi-annual reporting requirements. The contract will also cover the schedule and, if applicable, the milestones that must be met for tranched payments.
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. We will conduct at east two open Zoom meetings to provide guidance and answer questions for all applicants. These meetings will be recorded. If a question is very specific to a business, we may ask to move you into a Zoom breakout room where you can get individual assistance.
- We have also created an email which will be monitored by MTI staff to answer questions regarding the FRI-2 program. We hope to answer all questions within one business day. That email address is: [email protected]
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:
- Goods and Services for Personal Use
- Fines, Penalties, Damages and other Settlements
Will companies with a significant Maine presence, but out-of-state ownership, be eligible?
Yes. Companies that have a project or process that meets the program objectives are welcome to apply for funding. However, it is expected that the project will be implemented in Maine and that the company will build a significant presence in the state as the project is implemented and commercialized. A company which is headquartered outside of Maine must be registered to be eligible to do business in the state through the Secretary of State’s Office.
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 FAQs. (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 FRI-2 is NOT a direct federal award. Unless you plan to bid on government contracts most applicants for the FRI-2 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 FRI-2 Fund. Click here to learn more. However, please note that we cannot make any award payment if the UEID number has not been given to the firm from SAM.gov.
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 FRI-2?
- 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 Maine will be profound.
- As part of the FRI-2 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.