Small Business Resources
Welcome to the Secretary of State's Small Business Resources page. As you take important first steps on the road to entrepreneurship, there is a vast network of services available to you here in Maine. The Office of the Secretary of State wants you to know how to take advantage of these services, all of which are aimed at helping you work smarter, not just harder.
The Maine Small Business Advocate serves as an independent voice for Maine small businesses within the state’s regulatory system, ensuring it functions fairly and effectively. The Advocate works directly with small businesses of 50 employees or fewer that have specific grievances with one or more regulatory agency’s enforcement actions. The Advocate’s top priority is to represent small businesses that face the challenging task of understanding and complying with Maine’s extensive and often complex regulatory requirements. As an appointee of Maine’s Secretary of State, the Advocate serves as an independent, accountable and appropriate check on the state’s efforts to regulate Maine businesses. This position is the first of its kind in the state and the nation, demonstrating our state’s commitment to ensuring that our small businesses take root and prosper.
The Maine Department of Economic and Community Development, through its Business Answers program, connects new and existing businesses with the various state departments and agencies responsible for specific licenses, permits, rules and regulations. While Business Answers does not advise on legal or financial matters, contacting the program staff is a good first step when faced with the question, “where do I start?” Business Answers can be reached by calling 1-800-872-3838 or visiting www.maine.gov/businessanswers. The Office of Business Development at DECD works individually with small businesses and entrepreneurs to ensure they have access to the resources they need.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is the Federal Agency whose mission is to help small businesses succeed. The SBA can be reached at www.sba.gov. At this site, you will find a virtual campus of courses, workshops, publications, information and other programs designed to assist those who want to start or expand an enterprise.
When you're running a business, you don't need to be a tax expert, too. But you do need some tax basics. IRS Small Business Advantage gives you the information you need to stay tax compliant so your business can thrive. The IRS’s Small Business and Self-Employed Tax Center is a great resource to help your business grow.
Effective January 1, 2024 - New Federal Reporting Requirement for Beneficial Ownership
The Corporate Transparency Act (“CTA”) was enacted by Congress on January 1, 2021, as part of the National Defense Authorization Act. The CTA includes significant reforms to anti-money laundering laws and is intended to help prevent and combat money laundering, terrorist financing, corruption, and tax fraud. The CTA establishes a beneficial ownership reporting requirement for corporations, limited liability companies, and other similar entities formed or registered to do business in the United States. Beneficial ownership reports must be filed with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), a bureau within the U.S. Department of Treasury. For information on filing requirements please visit FinCen’s website at https://www.fincen.gov/boi.
The Maine Small Business Development Center (Maine SBDC) should be a first stop on your journey to self employment. This partnership program with the State of Maine, the SBA and the University of Southern Maine can be reached at www.mainesbdc.org. Maine’s SBDC business counselors will provide you with assistance as you start and expand your business. This statewide network of business counselors provides one-on-one counseling to existing and startup entrepreneurs on such topics as cash flow and marketing. You will also be interested in their interactive on-line business start-up course.
SCORE is a network of entrepreneurs, business lenders and executives, who volunteer as mentors to the small business community providing assistance to help entrepreneurs start businesses, grow companies and create jobs in local communities. You can access SCORE in Maine by going to http://scoremaine.org for the office nearest you.
The Women’s Business Centers provide business training, coaching and mentoring and other assistance geared toward women, particularly those who are socially and economically disadvantaged. You can access the Women’s Business Centers by going to www.wbdc.org.
A strong and supportive community of benefit corporations exists in Maine and more widely around the United States, and many involved with benefit corporations are ready and willing to assist others in exploring whether this designation is right for their organization or entrepreneurial idea. Benefitcorp.net has extensive resources for those exploring the benefit corporation designation.
Entrepreneurs who are looking to start or build their business are also encouraged to use the U.S. Census data. This data is free to the public and can help business owners with considerations regarding locations, pricing, clientele, employment considerations and much more. https://www.census.gov/smallbusiness
We urge you to call or email the Maine District Office of the SBA for guidance in access to capital, counseling and government contracting. If the Office of the Secretary of State can be of further assistance, please contact the Division of Corporations at (207) 624-7752 or by e-mail at cec.corporations@Maine.gov.