Maine's Path to Recovery
The $4.5 billion investment in Maine from the American Rescue Plan (ARP) is an unprecedented opportunity to support recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, to improve the lives and livelihoods of Maine people, to make investments in solving Maine’s long-term challenges, to develop strategies for new opportunities, and to strengthen our state for years to come.
Of this $4.5 billion, Congress has dedicated nearly $3.5 billion to recovery efforts like bolstering public health, including COVID-19 testing and vaccinations, enhanced unemployment benefits, stimulus payments to families, business supports, and more.
The remaining $1.13 billion is allocated to the State to be used at the discretion of the Governor and Legislature to respond to the pandemic and support economic recovery.
Below are programs that will focus on the short-term recovery and long term growth of Maine’s economy. As updates to grant programs are available this site will be updated.
- FUNDING PROGRAMS
The Maine Department of Economic and Community Development is managing several economic recovery grant programs using Federal relief funding. As additional funds become available, they will be added to this page, so check back often.
Grow Maine: State Small Business Credit Initiative
Grow Maine, administered by FAME in conjunction with various statewide lending partners, will provide up to $62 million of State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) funding to eligible Maine businesses. Eligible businesses include for-profit and nonprofit companies with fewer than 500 employees. Funding will be available through FAME and its intermediary partners via loan guarantees, direct loans, and equity capital. Loans up to $5 million will be available (not to exceed $20 million per project) and interest rates will be set by the participating lending institution. Grow Maine is intended to provide broad access to capital to help Maine businesses grow and provide jobs for Maine people that will have long-term positive effects on Maine’s economy.
For more information, visit the program website: FAME Grow Maine.
To view the Governor’s Grow Maine press release, click here.
Maine’s Economic Recovery Implementation Regional Hubs
Economic Recovery Implementation Hubs were established to further support communities across Maine and mitigate the adverse economic impacts as a result of the COVID19 pandemic in three overarching direct support areas for businesses: direct small business assistance, direct technical assistance and entrepreneurial training. These programs include:
- Technical Assistance to Small Businesses - The New Business Recovery Technical Assistance program will offer business counseling services to these new businesses, along with entrepreneurs who recently acquired Maine businesses, so that they may more readily access New Business Recovery Grants and other pandemic recovery resources.
- Technical Assistance Diversity - This support is intended to improve the acute disparities in economic recovery for small businesses owned by Maine's racial, ethnic, and linguistic minorities.
- New Business Grants - These funds aim to financially support early-stage companies and entrepreneurs (opened or started after 1 January 2020) who were not be able to take full advantage of other economic recovery programs or have had additional challenges as the pandemic has continued to progress.
- Entrepreneurial Training – Hubs will provide small business owners with the training to overcome the effects of the pandemic and sustain their business model.
To connect with your region’s Economic Recovery Implementation Hub, please email BizAwards.DECD@maine.gov including the town/city where your business is located and we will direct you to your region’s hub.
Thrive Maine: Pandemic Recovery Business Loan Program
Governor Janet Mills is dedicating $58 million through her Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan to provide forgivable loans to small businesses in Maine to support their continued economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Administered by FAME, Thrive Maine is a forgivable loan program for businesses and nonprofits that demonstrate COVID-related negative economic impacts. Thrive Maine aims to further strengthen the Maine economy through impactful investments in the future. Forgivable loans will be awarded to those with strategic, forward-looking plans that will strengthen organizations, increase jobs, and lift the Maine economy.
The first application round occurred in October 2022, awarding $29 million in forgivable loans to Maine businesses. The second application period closed on June 23, 2023.
Full program information can be found at FAME Thrive Maine.
Child Care Infrastructure Grant Program
The Child Care Infrastructure Grant Program will provide funding to help start new child care businesses and expand the number of children served by existing child care providers. Grants are available through 2024 or until all funds are awarded, whichever comes first. This program is currently accepting applications. For more information and application instructions, visit: https://www.ceimaine.org/maine-grants/child-care-infrastructure-grant-program/
Domestic Trade Grant Program Information
The pilot program will assist industries that were negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, including construction, trades, logistics, manufacturing, agriculture, fishing and forestry, information, clean energy, and retail (including wholesale) with activities intended to build capacity for increased sales of products and services. The focus is to support businesses with efforts to drive sales through marketing strategy, matchmaking B2B, sales channel support, technical assistance/capacity building, trade shows and other trade assistance. DECD provides direct support to businesses and has existing strategic partnerships. For more resources about the programs and services to build domestic trade activities for small businesses, please visit https://www.maine.gov/decd/domestic-trade Funding and technical assistance for businesses is currently being implemented by:
- Maine APEX Accelerator (formerly PTAC) for guidance on capacity building to access public sector markets and business to business opportunities. https://www.maineptac.org/
- Maine International Trade Center (MITC) for seafood, food and beverage, renewable energy, and defense, security, and aerospace businesses. Reach out to MITC staff for more information. https://www.mitc.com/business-support/maine-dtep/
- Maine Made for expanded marketing efforts. Membership required. All funds have been committed as of April 2023. https://www.mainemade.com/contact-us/
- Maine Technology Institute (MTI) via the Maine Entrepreneurial Resource Corps (MERC) https://www.mainetechnology.org/mti-funding/merc/
Additional funding opportunities will be announced soon.
Technology R&D and Innovation Financing
The Pandemic Recovery for an Innovative Maine Economy Fund (PRIME) program will deploy $39M to support and leverage private investments in research, development, and innovation in Maine's seven targeted technology sectors: Biotechnology, Composites & Advanced Materials, Environmental Technologies, Forest Products & Agriculture, Information Technology, Marine Technology & Aquaculture, and Precision Manufacturing. These funds, which must be matched by the recipient, will be awarded to Maine small businesses through a competitive process administered by the Maine Technology Institute to increase revenues, create and preserve jobs, and grow market share. The program will also invest in sector-based partnerships and organizations to develop new solutions for industries and markets that have been damaged by the pandemic.
PRIME Funds will become available in two phases. The first phase of the PRIME Fund provided $23M of direct support to businesses across Maine. Phase 1 closed for applications on May 24, 2022. To view the Governor’s press release on program results, click here. Information about Phase 2 will be posted as it becomes available.
The PRIME Ecosystem Fund is approximately $5M to support projects that will address the impact of the pandemic and provide a catalyst for startup companies and small businesses as they scale and grow in the state. Applications for this program closed on November 15, 2022. For additional information, please visit the program website.
For more information on the PRIME Fund, visit https://www.mainetechnology.org/recovery-funding/prime-fund/
Forest Recovery Initiative Grants
MTI announced the opening of the second round of Forest Recovery Initiative grants (FRI-2). FRI-2 is a $14M competitive grant program specifically focused on either strategic projects within the state that address significant challenges and long-term threats to the industry, or projects at existing facilities which significantly improve the productivity and competitiveness of the facility. These strategic projects will tackle global market shifts in supply and demand, supply chain disruptions and new technologies that impact the growing, processing and use of natural resources from this key sector of Maine’s economy. This program closed for applications on October 18, 2022.
For further information on the FRI-2 program and application, visit the MTI website: https://www.mainetechnology.org/recovery-funding/forestry/
The first grants from the Forest Recovery Initiative (FRI-1) were awarded March 2022 to support Maine’s forest products industry by providing direct funding to Maine logging and trucking firms adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Link to results of FRI-1 program: https://www.maine.gov/governor/mills/news/governor-mills-announces-6-million-maine-jobs-recovery-grants-support-maines-forest-industry
Credit for Energy Costs
L.D. 2010 established an Energy Rate Relief Fund for the purpose of providing a one-time small business utility account credit for standard rate, medium commercial customers of Versant and Central Maine Power billed for using at least 1,000 kilowatt-hours on their February 2022 invoice. Qualifying customers were contacted by CMP and Versant in fall 2022 with an invitation to claim the credit.
At this time, all funds dedicated to the Energy Rate Relief Fund have been exhausted.
To view the Governor’s press release, click here.
Tourism Marketing and Development Recovery Program
The Maine Office of Tourism is administering a $2 million Tourism Marketing & Development Recovery program funded through the US Economic Development Administration (EDA) American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Travel, Tourism, and Outdoor Recreation State Grant. This grant program provides funding to support the economic recovery of the travel and tourism industry in Maine from negative impacts of the pandemic through tourism marketing, product development, and education and training programs.
Eligible applicants are:
- Maine municipalities;
- Tribal governments;
- Other local government agencies engaged in economic development activities or a consortium of political subdivisions;
- Non-profit organizations or associations within the travel and tourism industry, acting in cooperation with officials of a political subdivision of the State.
Sub-awards will be granted for a minimum amount of $100,000 and a maximum amount of $500,000. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until January 1, 2024, or until all program funds have been awarded. The application guidelines and online application portal are available at www.MOTPartners.com/recovery-program.
FUNDS FOR MAINE TOWNS AND CITIES
The State of Maine has a fiscal recovery program to distribute $119.2 million in Federal funding from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) to local governments across Maine. The Local Fiscal Recovery Program is a State pathway to infuse Federal funds into Maine towns and cities to support a variety of their economic recovery priorities, such as addressing the economic or public health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, replacing lost public sector revenue, or investing in water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure. To access the grant portal, use this link:
- GRANTS FROM OTHER STATE AGENCIES
Department of Health and Human Services
Child Care Infrastructure Grant Program
Department of Labor
Maine Industry Partnerships for Workforce Development Initiative Grant Funding
Maine Apprenticeship Program Grant Funding – Closed on February 23, 2022 https://www.maine.gov/labor/jobs_training/apprenticeship/
Governor's Office of Policy Information and the Future
See the new guides to climate incentives for your home, vehicle and business.
Department of Professional and Financial Regulation
Small Business Health Insurance Premium Relief Program
Department of Transportation
Maine Infrastructure Adaptation Fund
Maine Public Utilities Commission / Efficiency Maine
Commercial and Industrial Custom Program - Electrical Efficiency Projects
Commercial and Industrial Custom Program - Distributed Generation Projects
Commercial and Industrial Custom Program - Thermal Efficiency Projects
Hospitality Retrofits for heating, ventilation, air conditioning (HVAC), lighting and refrigeration projects
Governor's Energy Office
Clean Energy Partnership – Workforce Development - https://www.maine.gov/energy/opportunities
Clean Energy Partnership - Innovation Initiative - https://www.maine.gov/jobsplan/program/clean-energy-partnership-innovation-initiative
Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry
Agricultural Infrastructure Investment Program – Closed February 25, 2022 https://www.maine.gov/dacf/ard/grants/agricultural-infrastructure-investment-program.shtml
Department of Marine Resources
Maine Seafood Dealer and Processor COVID-19 Response and Resilience Grant Program – Closed April 28, 2022
- FEDERAL GRANTS
U.S. Economic Development Administration
- Latest EDA Grants: https://www.eda.gov/grants
- American Rescue Plan Programs: https://www.eda.gov/funding/programs/american-rescue-plan
U.S. Small Business Administration
- SBA Funding Programs: https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs
- COVID-19 Relief Options: https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/covid-19-relief-options
United States Department of Commerce
National Institute of Standards & Technology
United States Department of Agriculture
- USDA RD Business Funding Programs
- Business & Industry Loan Guarantees – Rolling Applications
- Energy Programs
- Rural Energy for America Program Renewable Energy Systems & Energy Efficiency Improvement Guaranteed Loans & Grants – Applications due March 31, 2023
- Food Supply Chain Guaranteed Loan Program – Rolling Applications
- Meat & Poultry Intermediary Lending Program – Second Round Application window closed January 3, 2023
- Value Added Producer Grants – Applications due May 11, 2023
- American Rescue Plan Programs
Agricultural Marketing Service
- USDA AMS Funding Programs
- Wood Innovations Program – Last round closed March 23, 2023
- Wood Innovations Funding Opportunity
- Community Wood Grant Program
Northeast Dairy Business Innovation Center (NE-DBIC)
- On-Farm Milk Storage & Handling Grant for Dairy Farmers
- Dairy Food Safety and Certification Grant for Dairy Farmers and Dairy Processors
- Organic On-Farm Milk Storage & Handling Grant for Dairy Farmers
- Dairy Farm Innovation & Alternative Management Grant for Dairy Farmers
- Existing Dairy Processor Expansion Grant for Dairy Processors
- Dairy Processor Innovation Grant for Dairy Processors
- Dairy Marketing & Branding Services Grant for Dairy Processors and Trade Associations
- Webinar: Join the Northeast Dairy Business Innovation Center on October 23, 2023 to learn about two upcoming grants for dairy farms. Learn more here.
WE WELCOME YOUR FEEDBACK
If you have any questions about economic recovery resources, please email BizAwards.DECD@maine.gov.
Need business assistance, help navigating resources, or other business help? Email Business.Answers@maine.gov.
Want to talk with someone about your questions? Please call Business Answers at 1-800-872-3838.