Grow Maine, administered by FAME in conjunction with various statewide lending partners, will provide up to $62 million of State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) funding to eligible Maine businesses. Funding will be available through FAME and its intermediary partners via loan guarantees, direct loans, and equity capital. Grow Maine is intended to provide broad access to capital to help Maine businesses grow and provide jobs for Maine people that will have long-term positive effects on Maine’s economy.

SSBCI is a federal program administered by the U.S. Department of the Treasury that was created to strengthen state programs that support private financing to small businesses. Governor Mills designated FAME to serve as the state agency to accept and administer the allocated funds for the program.

FAME is partnering with over thirty intermediary lenders across the state, which include community-based, Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), local, and municipal economic development lenders that partner with FAME, to deploy the program.

Direct Loans

Direct loans will be deployed through FAME and local participating agencies. Loans up to $5 million (not to exceed $20 million per project) are available, with interest rates to be set by the participating lending institution. More details to come.

Equity Investment

Equity investment partners will be deploying SSBCI capital in the form of business direct investments and fund investments. Contact information for equity investment partners to come.

Commercial Loan Insurance

Commercial loan insurance will be distributed through participating lending institutions. See your local lender for more information.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Maine businesses and nonprofits with fewer than 500 employees
  • Eligible Purposes: Support loans or investments/projects up to $20 million for legal business purposes, including but not limited to the following:
    • Start-up costs
    • Working capital
    • Business procurement
    • Franchise fees
    • Equipment
    • Inventory
    • Purchases of owner-occupied non-investment real estate (commercial or otherwise)
    • Purchase, construction, renovation, or improvements of an eligible place of business
  • Ineligible Purposes:
    • Refinancing existing debt where SSBCI would replace private funds
    • Reimbursement of funds owed by any owner
    • Repayment of delinquent state or federal income taxes
    • Financing a non-business purpose
    • Supporting an existing extension of credit
    • Security purchases
    • Acquisition or holding of any other real property for investment purposes
    • Lobbying activities
    • Owner buyouts or equity substitution, except situations resulting in employee ownership
  • Ineligible Business Types: real estate investment, speculative, firms involved in lending, gambling, pyramid sales plans, financial institutions, marijuana, and businesses prohibited by federal law. In addition, no principal of the business shall have been convicted of a sex offense against a minor.

How to Apply

Applications will be available in September.

Although not required, FAME encourages all applicants to discuss their funding request with a FAME loan officer prior to submission to ensure eligibility.

FAQs

What is Grow Maine?

Grow Maine is the $62 million state allocation of State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI). This program will fund direct loans, subordinated debt, loan guarantees, and equity capital to support eligible Maine businesses and nonprofits.

What is SSBCI?

SSBCI is a federal program administered by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. It was created to strengthen state programs that support private financing to small businesses. Governor Mills has designated FAME to serve as the state agency to accept the allocated funds for the program.

What kind of programs will be used with the funding?

The $62 million is allocated among the four funding programs:

  • Direct Loans – $22,232,918 available through participating intermediary lenders and FAME directly
  • Loan Guarantees – $20 million available through FAME
  • Direct Equity – $12 million available through participating direct investment funds
  • Fund Equity Investments – $8 million available through participating fund investors
What organizations/lenders will participate?

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 Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), and local economic development lenders that are already partners with FAME’s direct lending programs. 

Direct loans will be deployed through Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs); the state’s various Economic Development Districts (EDDs); and other local agencies that participate in FAME’s Regional Economic Development Revolving Loan Program (REDRLP). 

The commercial loan insurance portion will be deployed through FAME’s existing OnLine Answer (OLA) portal in partnership with Maine banks, savings institutions, credit unions, and alternative commercial lenders. The lending institutions will expand to include CDFIs, EDDs, and REDRLP participants. 

Equity investments will be deployed through the Maine Venture Fund; Maine Technology Institute; CEI Ventures; and the Gulf of Maine Research Institute.

Who is eligible?

Eligible businesses are for-profit and nonprofit companies with fewer than 500 employees.

Any more information I should know?

SSBCI funds are “Cause and Result,” meaning SSBCI must be the catalyst for the financing transaction. For every SSBCI dollar requested, a floor of three dollars of private capital must be leveraged from private capital sources (3:1).

Businesses or owners identified as Socially, Economically Disadvantaged Individuals (SEDI) may be eligible to receive reduced interest rates, fee reductions, and reduced insurance premiums. SEDI borrowers may be eligible for a leverage capital floor of one to one.

Contact

Grow Maine Support Team

Grow@FAMEmaine.com
800-228-3734