Governor Mills Praises U.S. Treasury Approval of Maine’s $62 Million Plan to Support Maine Small Businesses

July 18, 2022

“Grow Maine” initiative through the Finance Authority of Maine will offer Maine entrepreneurs greater financing options to sustain or expand their business

Governor Janet Mills today praised the U.S. Treasury Department’s approval of Maine’s plan to use $62 million in Federal relief funds to expand financing options for small businesses. The new “Grow Maine” initiative, administered by the Finance Authority of Maine (FAME), will offer greater access to capital for entrepreneurs and small business owners to sustain or expand their operations.

“Grow Maine” will utilize funds through the federal State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI), which was expanded and reauthorized by the American Rescue Plan Act. Governor Janet Mills designated FAME to accept these funds and lead the program in Maine in conjunction with various statewide lending partners.

“Small businesses are the backbone of Maine’s economy. The Grow Maine initiative will help Maine small businessowners and aspiring entrepreneurs have access to the capital they need to grow or start a business and create good-paying jobs in communities across the state,” said Governor Janet Mills. “I thank the Treasury Department for its approval of our plan and look forward to working with FAME and local lending partners to distribute these funds to strengthen our economy.”

“This initiative is a valuable resource for businesses looking to grow, and will help to strengthen and diversify Maine’s economy,” said Heather Johnson, Commissioner of the Department of Economic & Community Development.

“FAME is pleased to partner with various economic development entities across Maine, as well as our commercial lending partners, to help successfully support Maine’s small businesses,” said Carlos Mello, Acting CEO of FAME.

 The SSBCI program, originally established in 2010, is focused on strengthening state programs that support private financing to small businesses. To ensure broad access to capital, FAME is partnering with over thirty intermediary lenders across the state for the Grow Maine program. The lenders are community-based, Community Develop Financial Institutions (CDFIs), and local and municipal economic development lenders that are already partners with FAME’s direct lending programs. 

Funding will be available through FAME and its intermediary partners via loan guaranties, 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. Participating agencies will be able to retain the funds and use them after the loans are paid back to relend into these communities in order to extend their beneficial impact.

At the end of the ten-year funding cycle for Grow Maine, the state anticipates leveraging ten dollars in private loans and investments for every dollar of SSBCI lending/investment. Upon loan repayment or return on investment, SSBCI capitalization will be retained by originating lenders or state venture funds as permanent capitalization for ongoing and future economic development purpose lending and investment.

For more information about the Grow Maine programs, including eligibility details and program applications, please visit: www.famemaine.com/grow. Applications are expected to be available in early September.

Since the onset of the pandemic, the Mills Administration has allocated more than $288 million in assistance to support Maine small businesses across a variety of economic sectors. 

The Grow Maine program will complement Governor Mills’ Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan. The Governor’s plan, approved by the Legislature, is investing nearly $1 billion in Federal American Rescue Plan funds to improve the lives of Maine people and families, help businesses, create good-paying jobs, and build an economy poised for future prosperity.

It draws heavily on recommendations from the Governor’s Economic Recovery Committee and the State’s 10-Year Economic Development Strategy, transforming them into real action to improve the lives of Maine people and strengthen the economy.

For more about Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan, visit maine.gov/jobsplan.