Grow Maine, administered by FAME in conjunction with various statewide lending partners, provides up to $62 million of State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) funding to eligible Maine businesses. Funding is 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.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Maine businesses and nonprofits with fewer than 750 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.

Additional Important Information

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.

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 are available, with interest rates to be set by the participating lending institution. The maximum loan amount of $5 million can be a part of a project, which cannot exceed $20 million.

View List of Participating Agencies

Androscoggin Valley Council of Governments
125 Manley Road
Auburn, ME   04210

Bangor Airport Civic Development Corporation (BanAir Corporation)
73 Harlow Street
Bangor, ME 04401
207 992-4200

Coastal Enterprises, Inc.
30 Federal Street
Brunswick, ME   04011
207 504-5900

Community Concepts Finance Corporation
17 Market Square
South Paris, ME

Cooperative Fund of the Northeast
PO Box 970
Watertown, MA  02471

Eastern Maine Development Corporation
40 Harlow Street
Bangor, ME 04401
207 942-6389

Finance Authority of Maine
5 Community Drive
Augusta, ME 04330

Greater Portland Council of Governments
970 Baxter Blvd., Ste 201
Portland, ME   04103
207 774-9891

Lewiston Auburn Economic Growth Council
415 Lisbon Street, Ste 100
Lewiston, ME   04240

MaineStream Finance
262 Harlow Street
Bangor, ME 04402
(207) 973-3500

MidCoast Council of Governments
165 Main Street, Suite F
Damariscotta, ME 04543

Northern Maine Development Commission
11 West Presque Isle Road
Caribou, ME 04736

Somerset Economic Development Corporation

Southern Maine Finance Agency
20 Pomerleau Street, Suite 300
Biddeford, ME 04005

Southern Maine Planning and Development Commission
110 Main Street, Suite 1400
Saco, ME 04072

Sunrise County Economic Council
7 Ames Way
Machias, ME 04654

Town of Fort Kent
416 West Main Street
Fort Kent, ME 04743

Town of Lisbon
300 Lisbon Street
Lisbon, ME  04250

University Credit Union
15 Main Street
Orono, ME 04473

How to Apply for a Direct Loan

Applications are provided by each agency. Please contact your local participating agency from the list above for information and applications or apply with FAME.

Equity Investment

Equity investment partners will be deploying SSBCI capital in the form of business direct investments and fund investments. Please contact a participating investor from the list below for information and applications.

View List of Participating Equity Investment Partners

Maine Venture Fund
PO Box 63
Newport, ME   04953
207 924-3800

For participating equity investment partners, click here for important documents.

Commercial Loan Insurance

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


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 750 employees.

What is a SEDI business?

The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s November 2021 Capital Program Policy Guidelines provide a definition of what small businesses qualify as a SEDI business. The basis for eligibility can be geographic, demographic, or socioeconomic. A small business may qualify as a SEDI business if it meets at least one of the four criteria below.

1. Business enterprises that certify that they are owned and controlled by individuals who have had their access to credit on reasonable terms diminished as compared to others in comparable economic circumstances, due to their: (1) membership of a group that has been subjected to racial or ethnic prejudice or cultural bias within American society; (2) gender; (3) veteran status; (4) limited English proficiency; (5) physical handicap; (6) long-term residence in an environment isolated from the mainstream of American society; (7) membership of a federally or state-recognized Indian Tribe; (8) long-term residence in a rural community; (9) residence in a U.S. territory; (10) residence in a community undergoing economic transitions (including communities impacted by the shift towards a net-zero economy or deindustrialization); or (11) membership of another “underserved community” as defined in Executive Order 13985.

2. Business enterprises that certify that they are owned and controlled by individuals whose residences are in CDFI Investment Areas.

3. Business enterprises that certify that they will operate a location in a CDFI Investment Area.

4. Business enterprises that are located in a CDFI Investment Area.

The term “owned and controlled” means, if privately owned, 51 percent is owned by such individuals; if publicly owned, 51 percent of the stock is owned by such individuals; and in the case of a mutual institution, a majority of the board of directors, account holders, and the community which the institution services is predominantly comprised of such individuals.


Grow Maine Support Team