Maine’s Path to Recovery
In addition to the threat to public health, the COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally changed the global business environment, causing severe supply-chain disruptions, reduced consumer spending, and unprecedented losses that are felt across all sectors. U.S. industries are no exception, with hospitality, tourism, retail, restaurants and bars, entertainment, manufacturing and countless others facing a host of new challenges and barriers that disrupt operations and impede growth. Here in Maine, the closure of the Canadian border, the stoppage of cruise ships, and reluctance of people to travel have impacted our economy, from agriculture to fisheries, to retail, recreation and hospitality sectors.
The State of Maine plans to use CARES Act relief funding to help our economy recover from the impacts of the global pandemic by supporting Maine-based businesses and non-profit organizations through an Economic Recovery Grant Program. The funding originates from the federal Coronavirus Relief Fund and will be awarded in the form of grants to directly alleviate the disruption of operations suffered by Maine’s small businesses and non-profits as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Maine Department of Economic & Community Development has been working closely with affected Maine organizations since the beginning of this crisis and has gathered feedback from all sectors on the current challenges.
Many Maine businesses and non-profits have not been able to access existing sources of relief funding and so have “fallen through the cracks” and need help in order to remain viable. Some of these businesses are from sectors hardest hit from the global pandemic, including those who remained closed for longer periods of time, businesses that have not yet re-opened, businesses that rely on seasonal cash flows, and businesses with decreased revenues due to declines in consumer spending or declining global markets. This program is not meant to be exclusive and acknowledges that nearly every industry sector in Maine has experienced a decrease in revenue.
The money available for these grants cannot wholly replace or repair the economic damage this pandemic has caused. Our narrow mission is to ensure that each dollar has at least a small, direct impact on supporting Maine businesses, Maine non-profit organizations, and Maine’s economy.
This program provides grants for businesses and non-profit organizations that demonstrate a need for financial relief based on lost revenues or expenses related to the disruption of business operations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Grants will be distributed based on a business’s/organization’s demonstrated losses as a pro-rated percentage of the total losses reported by qualified applicants.
The program is not intended to replace lost profits but only to help businesses remain viable. This program is intended to assist in the stabilization of Maine’s economy and accelerate the transition from short-term relief to regaining our state’s focus on Maine’s 10-year Economic Development Strategy, anchored in talent and innovation.