Governor Mills Announces Launch of Maine Jobs & Recovery Small Business Grant Program

New program, through the Governor’s Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan, is intended to help businesses struggling with expenses

Augusta, MAINE – Governor Janet Mills announced today that the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development is now accepting applications for the Maine Jobs and Recovery Small Business Grant Program.

The Governor announced last month the creation of the $20 million grant program through her Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan. The Maine Department of Economic and Community Development is immediately putting forward $5 million of the $20 million for grants targeted at supporting capital intensive businesses that still need immediate short-term help to sustain operations.

This new program comes on top of the more than $273 million the Administration has already provided in Federal support to 5,224 businesses and non-profits during the pandemic.

“Small businesses are the backbone of Maine’s economy, and my Administration will continue to do all we can to support their recovery,” said Governor Janet Mills. “These grants through the Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan will help pull back those businesses who are still on the brink and put them on stronger financial footing as we tackle the pandemic. I encourage all eligible Maine businesses to take advantage of this opportunity.”

“The Maine Jobs and Recovery Plan has given us the roadmap and resources we need to continue our economic recovery. By assisting businesses and organizations with this funding in the short term, we hope to support their long-term sustainability and growth as the economy recovers from the impacts of the pandemic,” said Heather Johnson, Commissioner of the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development. “While we can’t repair all the losses businesses have incurred, our goal is to allocate the available funds where they will have a direct impact in supporting the viability of Maine’s businesses and non-profit organizations.”

More specifically, the Maine Jobs & Recovery Small Business Grant Program is intended to provide expense-based grant relief for businesses and non-profits who are confronting substantial expenses stemming from the impacts of COVID-19. Expenses may include:

  • Interest on deferred loans (the loans must be in deferral as a direct result of the pandemic);
  • Costs incurred as a result of reopening after a COVID-19 related closure (examples may include PPE, workforce safety training, and installation of physical public health and safety measures);
  • Increased costs of doing business as a result of COVID-19 (examples may include infrastructure tools to improve remote access, like contactless check in/out or take out);
  • HVAC improvements, creation or addition of indoor or outdoor space for social distancing purposes, and increased costs due to supply chain disruptions or increased demand.

To be eligible, applicants must demonstrate at least 20 percent lost revenue in the year 2021. To allow for the maximum potential benefit to as many businesses as possible, the Department anticipates an award cap of $50,000. However, that cap is subject to change based on need and volume of applications. The minimum award will be $250. If the qualified application amount exceeds the available funding, the Department will pro-rate the awards.

Applications will be accepted until 11:59 p.m. on November 26, 2021.

The remaining $15 million will be made available in April 2022 so businesses and non-profits can easily utilize tax returns to demonstrate the financial impact of the pandemic on their businesses and their qualification for funding based on need. This approach – stabilizing businesses most in need now followed by larger grants later – was developed by the Department in conjunction with the business community.

“This small business grant program is another vital lifeline for Maine businesses that are continuing to struggle because of the pandemic,” said Dana Connors, President and CEO of the Maine State Chamber of Commerce. “We applaud the Mills Administration for launching this important program and thank them for their ongoing work through the Maine Jobs and Recovery Plan to ensure that businesses have the capital and support needed to keep their doors open through this difficult time.”

“Throughout the pandemic, Governor Mills and her Administration have always asked how they can help Maine's businesses recover, and they have stepped up time and again with support like this,” said Curtis Picard, Presidents and CEO of the Retail Association of Maine. “The Maine Jobs and Recovery Small Business Grant Program will help businesses that continue to struggle due to the pandemic but that are critical to Maine's long-term economic success.”

“Many small businesses had unexpected expenses during the pandemic as they tried to keep their employees and the public safe while continuing to do business. This grant program keeps us moving in the right direction, including help for some who may not have qualified for previous grants,” said Kerrie Tripp, Executive Director of the Greater Bangor Convention and Visitors Bureau.

For additional information and to access the grant portal, please visit the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development website.  

The Maine Jobs and Recovery Small Business Grant Program continues the Mills Administration’s commitment to providing financial relief for small businesses that incur business disruptions and added expenses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In August of 2020, the Mills Administration launched Phase 1 of the Maine Economic Recovery Grant Program. In Phase 1, the Administration awarded 2,407 businesses $120 million in awards. Awards averaged just over $49,000 per award with recipients spanning the entire state. The hospitality sector, particularly lodging and accommodations, represented the largest percentage of recipients, drawing 35 percent of the awards.

In September of 2020, the Mills Administration launched Phase 2 of the Maine Economic Recovery Grant Program. In Phase 2, the Administration awarded 1,244 businesses grants totaling $53.9 million. Awards averaged just over $43,000 per award with recipients spanning the entire state. In total, the Maine Economic Recovery Grant Program provided $174. 1 million to 3,651 businesses and non-profits.

In December of 2020, the Mills Administration also launched the Tourism, Hospitality & Retail Recovery Grant Program. The Administration awarded 1,642 tourism, retail and hospitality businesses a total of $52.9 million in additional support. Awards averaged just over $32,000 per award with recipients spanning the entire state.

In August of 2021, the Mills Administration launched the Charter Transportation and Border Business Assistance Grant Program. The Administration has awarded more than $5.6 million in economic recovery grants to 94 Maine charter transportation companies and businesses disrupted by the Federal government’s extended closure of the US-Canada border.