Resources for Businesses

Updated November 17, 2020

Information for Businesses to Reopen under Maine’s Four-Stage Plan

Detailed information on Maine’s four-stage reopening plan can be found on the State of Maine website.

Visit the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development website for checklists for best safety practices for businesses that are approved to reopen under Stage 1 and 2 of the plan. In order to open, businesses must commit to complying with requirements of these checklists by filling out this short online form.

DECD is also making badges for businesses using the checklist to voluntarily post on their doors, website or social media channels to help instill consumer confidence in their operations. Those badges will be found at maine.gov/decd when available.

If you have questions, please contact the Maine DECD at business.answers@maine.gov or 1-800-872-3838.

Financial Resources for Businesses and Individuals

The Maine Department of Economic & Community Development has issued a guide to Resources in Response to COVID-19 Related Closures and Economic Disruption. This guide outlines financial resources to businesses and individuals that are administered by institutions such as the Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Finance Authority of Maine (FAME). For businesses, these resources address deferments on existing loans as well as new emergency capital needs due to the impact of COVID-19. For individuals, there is a loan program administered through FAME that can help sole proprietorships and the self-employed.

As stated in this guide, the first step of any business or individual seeking assistance is to contact your own financial institution. Alerting your financial institution early is the best course of action.

Follow the links below for information from the Small Business Administration regarding 7a and 504 business loan deferments and other assistance programs for businesses suffering financial loss due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Deferments on SBA 7a, 504 and Microloans

SBA Disaster Assistance

Also, Southern Maine Finance Agency may be able to provide assistance through its own loan programs. SMFA can be reached at https://smfamaine.org/ or at (207) 282-1748.

Economic Injury Disaster (EIDL) Loans

In response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, small business owners, including agricultural businesses, and nonprofit organizations can apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan. The EIDL program is designed to provide economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue due to coronavirus (COVID-19).

Frequently Asked Questions about EIDL Loans

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) Program

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance is a new federal program which expanded eligibility for unemployment benefits to certain categories of workers not typically able to receive unemployment in the past, such as:

  • Self-employed workers
  • Farmers/Fishermen
  • Independent contractors
  • Nonprofit employees not already covered by regular state unemployment benefits
  • Gig economy workers
  • Workers who do not have enough work history and earnings to be eligible for traditional unemployment benefits
  • Others who have been determined ineligible for regular unemployment benefits

All claims will be retroactive to the date of business closure or job separation provided on the application, back until March 15. If work was lost earlier than that due to COVID-19, claimants will be able to provide documentation to show that in the near future. People whose claim does not require further review should begin receiving benefits within seven days of filing.

PUA benefits start at 50% of the average weekly state unemployment benefit for self-employed and those who do not meet monetary eligibility for regular unemployment. This is $172/week. If you are self-employed, once we are able to verify documented earnings, PUA benefits will be adjusted retroactively. The maximum benefit available under PUA is $445/week.

Claimants under PUA should do the following:

  • No action needed - Claimants who have been denied unemployment benefits due to not having enough earnings to qualify for state benefits do not need to reapply. Their claim in the system will automatically process.
  • Claim must be updated - Those who are self-employed and who attempted to file for unemployment benefits before PUA was implemented must log-in to their online unemployment account and update their claim with their self-attestation of earnings.
  • Claim must be filed - All others eligible for PUA but who had yet not filed a claim will should visit https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/ and fill out the new streamlined application form for PUA. Submit your weekly certification each week thereafter.

More information on PUA and instructions on how to apply can be found on MDOL’s website: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/pua/.

Micro-Enterprise Forgivable Loan Program

The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in partnership with Maine DECD will provide grants of up to $5,000 for businesses with fewer than 5 employees, who meet low to moderate income requirements. These funds are made possible as part of the $11 million Maine received from the federal CARES Act for its Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program.

CDBG Program application process is quick and easy.  It involves filling out a one-page application, providing your business's 2019 monthly revenues, 2019 federal income tax return(s) for those in household, and meeting with an SBDC counselor (virtually).

GENERAL ELIGIBILITY:

  • Must be a Maine business. 
  • Must demonstrate a revenue loss as a direct consequence of COVID-19. 
  • Must have five or fewer employees including the owner(s)
  • Must have a DUNS Number, which can be obtained here
  • Owner’s household income must meet income eligibility requirements (see below), as verified by 2019 tax return.

Read full eligibility criteria at the SBDC website. 

INCOME ELIGIBLITY REQUIREMENTS:

SMPDC's Economic Recovery Loans

SMPDC has allocated funds for the establishment of a Small Loan Fund to provide financing to operating businesses with less than 500 employees located in York and southern Oxford Counties. 

  • Loans of up to $25,000
  • Low interest, flexible terms
  • Available to businesses and non-profits 
  • SMPDC Region organizations, located in our member towns
  • Funding for pandemic related costs, recovery, and sustaining your organization

 Program Guidelines

Application Packet

Façade Improvement Funds for Biddeford Small Businesses

Main Street America (MSA), Maine Downtown Center (MDC), and the Heart of Biddeford are pleased to offer the Maine Historic Commercial District Revolving Fund, made possible through generous support from The 1772 Foundation, Inc. Over the next three years, the Maine Historic Commercial District Revolving Fund will provide 0% interest loans to Biddeford business/building owners.

Who can apply for loans?

Business owners and/or tenants of existing buildings within the defined Main Street district boundaries in Biddeford.

In Brief: How the Program Works

  • Up to $10,000 is available for 0% interest loans for façade improvement projects. 
  • The loan amounts must be paid back in full within thirty-six (36) months. Borrowers have up 180 days after receipt of the loan to begin repayment. 
  • $10,000 loan maximum per project. $4,000 loan minimum preferred. 
  • There is no match required. 
  • Interested borrowers will submit a loan application form detailing their project and their match sources, which will be reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis. 
  • Annually, loan recipients will be required to report predetermined metrics to MSA. 
  • Borrower financial information will not be shared with MDC or Heart of Biddeford.

What projects are eligible for loans?

  • All loans must be used towards exterior rehabilitation/improvement of existing commercial or mixed-use
    buildings within the Main Street district in the City of Biddeford.
  • Eligible projects include, but are not necessarily limited to awnings, roof, canopies, storefronts, doors, paint, landscaping, exterior lighting, window repair, masonry work, etc.
  • Through June 30, 2021, the funds may be used for reimbursement of eligible COVID-19 related projects:
    • Signage for space management related to COVID-19
      • Examples: signage delineating social distancing requirements or curbside pick-up
    • Materials, equipment, and labor to help create additional space adjacent to commercial buildings
      • Examples: outdoor seating apparatus, parklets + pedlets, or sanitation stations
    • Equipment for interior space management related to COVID-19 
      • Example: plexiglass stands at points-of-sale

Learn more...