Entrepreneurship and innovation are embedded in Maine’s DNA. Maine people have always been tinkerers, dreamers, and doers. This spirit, this “Yankee Ingenuity”, has driven our history and will drive our future as a State and a people.

Maine has many champions of small businesses and startups and regularly leads the nation for first-year company survival. In Maine, entrepreneurship is a team sport and we want your business to succeed and grow here.

Maine also ranks highly for women-owned businesses, eighth in the nation in “economic clout” - growth in the number of firms and growth in employment and revenue, and first in the nation in “employment vitality” -employment growth rate and average number of employees.[1]

Maine’s Department of Economic and Community Development maintains critical partnerships with other publicly-supported organizations, often providing the key matching funds needed to bring Federal programs into Maine.

Starting a Business – Excited with a new business idea but not sure where to start?

  • You can start with Mentoring/Coaching/Advising free resources through the US Small Business Administration:

     

The SBA provides free business advice and counseling through three partner organizations in Maine.  There is no wrong option and you can try out any and all of them at no cost to you.

Maine SBDC – Counselors are available statewide and you can request advising on the SBDC website. The website also has a wealth of information on starting a business.

SCORE – SCORE has chapters around the State, with the nation’s best chapter for two years running located in Portland - https://portlandme.score.org/. SCORE is a free, volunteer-led service and has both general business mentors and subject area experts.

Maine Women’s Business Center – WBC is also statewide and both WBC and SBDC are hosted by CEI - https://www.ceimaine.org/advising/ - you can request a business advisor from CEI through their website and also access events and programs specific to women business owners.

 


[1] https://about.americanexpress.com/sites/americanexpress.newshq.businesswire.com/files/doc_library/file/2019-state-of-women-owned-businesses-report.pdf

Other options:

The Maine Center for Entrepreneurs maintains the Maine Mentor Network and entrepreneurs can schedule a one-hour meeting through the network.   For additional information on the Mentor Network, contact: Terry Johnson, Maine Mentor Network Manager, terry@practicaldecisions.com or 207-653-5150.

ACE (Association for Consulting Expertise) - https://www.consultexpertise.com/ - ACE maintains an online directory of member who provide services but there is no vetting of these consultants, so any potential client needs to do their own due diligence.

Maine has a variety of local options as well that can be accessed through the Guide for Resources for Maine Entrepreneurs  and through the US SBA Small Business Resource Guide.

Business Answers at the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development assists entrepreneurs and business owners with startup and expansion information. In conjunction with the online service, we also operate a toll-free 800-line and email question option. Business Answers also serves as a “One-Stop Business Licensing Center” with information on any and all state licenses and permits your business is required to have.

  • You can ask for help!

 
Our Office of Business Development specialists in entrepreneurship and small business are available to meet with you to identify resources and supports available from the State and other external resources.

 

Growing a Business – ready to grow or expand but not sure of all you should do?

Business Answers also provides expansion information including the “One-Stop Business Licensing Center” with information on any and all state licenses and permits your business is required to have to expand. The Office of Business Development also has specialists in growing and mature companies to help with expansion plans.

Maine’s local and regional economic development organizations can be accessed through the Guide for Resources for Maine Entrepreneurs  and through the US SBA Small Business Resource Guide and provide local expertise with physical expansion plans.

Find events below to grow your network and learn business skills