Economic & Community Development

Governor Mills Launches $40 Million Economic Recovery Grant Program to Support Maine Tourism, Hospitality & Retail Small Businesses

November 30, 2020
Governor Janet Mills announced today an economic recovery grant program to support Maine’s tourism, hospitality, and retail small businesses. Backed by $40 million in Federal CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF), the Tourism, Hospitality & Retail Recovery Grant Program is focused specifically on supporting Maine’s service sector small businesses, such as restaurants, bars, tasting rooms, lodging and retail shops, which have been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and now face additional challenges with the coming winter months (more details).

Grants of up to $100,000 now available for small employers

Every small business and many non-profit organizations with 50 or fewer employees can apply to receive a grant of up to $100,000 to replace COVID-19 related losses. Using federal CARES Act funds, Gov Mills has committed up to $200 million for this initiative. GPCOG will be processing applications and making grant awards for our region. Employers can submit applications starting on Friday, Aug. 21. Learn more and apply here.

Outdoor Dining in Public Spaces Guidelines and License Application.

Pandemic Unemployment Insurance Benefits

Beginning on May 1, 2020 the Maine Department of Labor began accepting applications for Pandemic Unemployment Insurance benefits from sole properietors and other self-employed individuals. These are individuals not generally covered by unemployment who are now covered under the auspices of the Federal CARES Act. You can begin the process here.

 Federal and State Resources for Businesses Impacted by COVID-19

Disaster Loan Applications The President has issued a Federal Disaster Declaration covering the State of Maine for businesses impacted by the Corona virus pandemic. Emergency loans are available and the fastest way to receive loan assistance is to complete an application online.

Small Business Paycheck Protection Program  The Paycheck Protection Program provides small businesses with funds to pay up to 8 weeks of payroll costs including benefits. Funds can also be used to pay interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities. Funds are provided in the form of loans that will be fully forgiven when used for payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities (due to likely high subscription, at least 75% of the forgiven amount must have been used for payroll). The interest rate of PPP loans is set at 1.0%. PPP loans will mature in two years. No payment is due for first six months, although interest will accrue during this period.  No collateral or personal guarantees are required.

When to Apply Starting April 3, 2020, small businesses and sole proprietorships can apply. Starting April 10, 2020, independent contractors and self-employed individuals can apply. We encourage you to apply as quickly as you can because there is a funding cap.

How to Apply The application process begins at your local SBA-qualfiied lender. A list of Maine-based SBA qualfied lenders can be downloaded here.

4/30/2020 The Maine Department of Economic and Community Development has issued guidelines for protecting businesses and employees during the COVID-19 epidemic.

4/27/2020 On Monday (4/27) the SBA began accepting the second round of Paycheck Protection Plan (PPP) applications. Small businesses who missed out on the first round should be in touch with their SBA-approved lender IMMEDIATELY. A list of banks and lending institutions eligible to participate in the program in Maine can be downloaded here -

4/22/2020 UPDATE: While federal funding for the PPP program has run out, businesses that have received a conformation from their bank that their loan was approved WILL be receiving funds - likely in the next few days. Congress is close to passing additional funding for the program - businesses who did not have their applications approved in the first round should be prepared and have established contact with their commercial lender NOW.

4/6/2020 UPDATE: New information regarding the SBA's PPP program regarding interest rate has been clarified above.
4/1/2020 UPDATE: Applications for SBA Disaster Loans have been slow to process. Businesses and individuals seeking an Economic Injury Disaster Loan are advised to begin the process with this online application. Also reach out to your local SBA-qualfied lender and talk to a commercial lending officer - they are your best resource for information on evolving SBA, FAME and their own in-house gap financing programs to address immediate cash-flow needs. A list of Maine-based, SBA-qualified lenders can be downloaded here.


 Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) had developed four special COVID-19 relief loan programs for Maine banks, businesses and also consumers.

  • COVID-19 Relief Lender Insurance Program. FAME is offering commercial loan insurance of 50 to 75% to lenders who make loans to Maine businesses experiencing hardships due to COVID-19. Loans must be made as part of FAME’s online answer program. FAME has dedicated up to $10 million of its reserves to support this program.
  • COVID-19 Relief Interim SBA Finance Loan Program.  FAME will make gap financing of up to $100,000 with special terms available for eligible borrowers who show proof of commitment for SBA financing. The FAME loan can be used by the business  until the SBA loan is funded. Once the SBA loan is funded, the FAME loan will be paid off out of the SBA funds. This gap financing can be available in as little as 48 hours.
  • COVID-19 Relief Business Direct Loan Program.  FAME will make direct loans of up to $50,000 with special terms available to Maine-based businesses experiencing hardship due to COVID-19.
  • COVID-19 Relief Consumer Loan Program. This program provides no-to-low cost loans to Maine residents through a loan guarantee program involving Maine’s banks, credit unions, and FAME. Those interested should contact their local bank or credit union to find out if their lender is offering the program and to apply. This program offers consumer loans of up to $5,000 (less benefits from unemployment received by the borrower). Consumers may apply for up to three loans, one loan each 30-day period.

 Read the full press release on FAME COVID-19 relief loan programs here.

Downtown Opportunity Zone Map and Information
Kennebec Locke Site
Downtown Tipping Point Small Business Loan Program

Tipping Point Program Application