Administered by FAME, Thrive Maine is a forgivable loan program for businesses and nonprofits that demonstrate COVID-related negative economic impacts. The program is funded by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), an economic stimulus bill that was passed by the 117th United States Congress, with $58 million allocated to support Maine small businesses by the Legislature and Governor Mills under LD 1733 through the Maine Jobs and Recovery Plan.

There will be two application periods. The opening date for the first application period is October 4, 2022. Sign up to receive email notifications.

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About Thrive Maine

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Must be a Maine business or nonprofit with fewer than 500 employees.
  • Must have significant operations in Maine (a minimum of 50% of employees and contract employees based in Maine).
  • Must demonstrate COVID-related negative economic impact in one of the following:
    • Loss of EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization)
      • Calculated as loss of full year EBITDA vs. pre-pandemic (2019), less previously received other federal pandemic relief funding.
      • Complete federal income tax returns (FITR) or personal income tax returns (PITR) for 2019-2021, whichever shows your business income.
      • Full year-over-year actual comparison through income statements or federal taxes; no projections or hypotheticals may be used as a comparison point.
      • You may apply for EBITDA losses of 2020, 2021, or 2020 and 2021.
    • Expenses incurred
      • Provide receipts for the purchase and installation of materials, systems, and/or software to ensure patron and employee safety (e.g., HVAC systems, plastic partitions, and temperature scanners).
    • Increased Capital Project Cost
      • Provide proof of increased capital project costs due to the pandemic (e.g., the cost of the project went from “X” to “Y” and caused “Z” amount increase in cost).
      • Quotes or receipts are necessary for both the prior cost and current cost to prove an increase.
  • Businesses must be in good standing with the State of Maine.
  • Payroll, state, and federal taxes must be current.
  • Must have a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI)

Losses for which the business previously received federal and/or state pandemic relief, such as Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL), Maine Technology Institute PRIME Grant, Maine Small Business Grant funding, and others, cannot be re-submitted.

Loan Terms

  • Total amount of funds to be distributed from minimum of $10,000 to maximum of $2 million.
  • Loan forgiven at a rate of 25% per year over a four-year period.*
  • Forgivable loans will be administered on a first-come, first-served basis.

*Forgivable loans are considered taxable income at the rate they are forgiven. See IRS tax code and consult your accountant for more information.

Thrive Maine Informational Webinar

FAME Director of Business Jennifer Cummings and Thrive Maine Program Manager Laura Rigby provide an overview of the program, eligibility and criteria for the forgivable loan, and what information that needs to be gathered to apply

Take the webinar with you by downloading:

Thrive Maine Webinar – How to Apply

In this webinar, we review what information a business will need to gather before applying for Thrive Maine, how to apply though the Maine Lender Portal, and other frequently asked questions.

Take the webinar with you by downloading:

Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) Required to Receive a Forgivable Loan

In order to receive a forgivable loan from Thrive Maine, a business must have a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI). For some businesses, the process of obtaining a UEI can take weeks. If your business has applied for but has not yet received the UEI at the time you apply for your forgivable loan, you may apply but must provide proof that you have applied for the UEI. 

If your application is approved, it will be in a “hold” status until the UEI is provided, and the approved loan amount will be set aside for your business. No funds will be sent until the UEI is provided. The UEI must be provided by December 3, 2022. If you do not provide your UEI number by this time, the funds set aside for your business will be allocated back into the Thrive Maine funds for the second round of applications in 2023.

Go to SAM.gov to apply for your UEI. Clicking “Get Started” is a shorter process than “Entity Registration,” if this option works for your business. Watch this video from SAM.gov on the process for requesting a UEI.

How to Apply

There are two forgivable loan application periods. The opening date for the first application period is October 4, 2022 at 9:00 a.m. on the Maine Lending Portal.

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Applications must be complete in order to be considered. Applications must include year-to-date profit and loss and balance sheet and tax returns. Applications must also include the business’ UEI or proof of application for a UEI if not yet received. Any incomplete applications submitted will not be reviewed until all complete applications have been reviewed.

Applications are considered on a first-come, first-served basis. Once all money is allocated, no more applications will be considered.

To prepare to apply, download the application checklist.

Calculation Templates

Example Applications

FAQs

What is a forgivable loan?

A forgivable loan is a type of loan in which some or all of the amount can be forgiven if the borrower meets certain conditions. Forgivable loans are considered taxable income at the rate they are forgiven.

What steps should I take to prepare to apply for the loan?

First, if you do not already have a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI), you must apply to receive one at SAM.gov. This process can take up to 3 to 6 weeks. Also, make sure your organization has paid 2021 taxes and is in good standing with the State of Maine. Gather your 2019-2021 federal income tax returns and 2020-2021 year-to-date profit and loss and balance sheet as you are required to submit these with your application.

You will also need to provide two forms of identification. The first ID document must be one of the following: Passport, Drivers License, ID Card, US Military ID, or US Military Dependent ID. The second ID document must be one of the following: Passport, Birth Certificate, US Citizen ID Card, Card for use of Resident Citizen in the United States (Form 1-179), Certification of Birth Abroad issued by the Department of State (Form FS-545 or Form DS-1350), or Native American tribal document.

What pitfalls should I avoid when applying for the loan?

Your application must include specifics and proof of pandemic-related damage. Receipts, contracts, quotes, and other specific evidence is needed to prove the request. Without specifics, exact dollar amounts, and proof, your request will not be successful.

If it is first-come, first-served, how will smaller businesses be able to obtain forgivable loans over the larger businesses with larger loans?

Funds will be initially earmarked for different sized impacts, allowing both large and small companies to get a portion of the available loans. This means that companies receiving a $2 million loan will not be drawing from the same initially reserved pool as companies receiving $10,000 loans.

Can I apply for a forgivable loan based on more than one COVID-related negative economic impact?

No. Applicants may only apply for a forgivable loan based on one of the three COVID-related negative economic impact categories: loss of EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization), expenses incurred, or increased capital project cost

I received PPP funds or another federal pandemic relief grant program. Am I eligible for a forgivable loan from Thrive Maine?

Yes. Businesses are eligible to apply for a Thrive Maine forgivable loan even if they received other pandemic relief funding, as long as the Thrive Maine application covers different or more extensive pandemic expenses and impacts than funded previously. You may not apply for the same expense or impact twice from pandemic relief funds. In the application, a business must list and explain the purpose of all federal pandemic funds received. Unless proven for a different purpose, previous federal pandemic relief funds will be subtracted from your eligible forgivable loan amount to avoid double coverage of the same pandemic impact and/or expense.

How do you calculate loss of EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization)?

Loss of EBITDA is calculated by subtracting 2020 or 2021 EBITDA from 2019 EBITDA. Previously received federal or state pandemic relief funding will be subtracted from your EBITDA delta to provide the forgivable amount loan you may apply for. Either calendar or fiscal year sums work; no partial year calculations qualify.

You may submit 1 or 2 years of EBITDA loss for consideration. Since the comparison is full year, only 2020 and 2021 will qualify for pandemic loss years.

To qualify for this category, businesses must be incorporated by December 31, 2018, since this will allow for a full year in business pre-pandemic.

If you believe 2019 was exceptional and does not stand as a good comparison year, the company may provide an explanation as to why it is exceptional and then compare to 2018 results. Reviewers will determine if the 2019 exception is strong enough to move to a 2018 comparison.

How do you calculate pandemic expenses?

All expenses spent specifically to support health and safety of employees and patrons can be considered in pandemic expenses. It is the applicant’s responsibility to provide a full explanation for the necessity and importance of each pandemic expense.

Expenses must add to at least $10,000 to be considered, after subtracting any previous federal pandemic relief funding received for this reason. Expenses must also be spent, not projected. This means receipts for each expense must be provided as proof.

Businesses applying for pandemic expenses must be incorporated by August 31, 2022 to qualify.

How do you calculate increased capital project costs?

Increased capital project costs are calculated by taking the Pandemic cost of the capital project that was paid, less the previous quoted cost, less any federal or state pandemic funding you’ve received. You must also prove that the increase in cost is due to the macroeconomic trends driven up by the pandemic (supply chain disruptions, financing disruptions, etc) and not other reasons, such as changed scope.

The comparison point must be from 2018-February 2020. Quotes given prior to 2018 are not valid.

Businesses must be incorporated by August 31, 2022 to qualify for this category.

What are the size limits for loans?

The loan amount applied for must be a minimum of $10,000 and must not exceed $2 million.

What are the conditions that need to be met in order for my Thrive Maine loan to be forgiven?

You must be in business, stay in good standing with the State of Maine, pay yearly taxes, and complete the yearly reporting connected to Thrive Maine.

What are the reporting requirements to receive the loan?

An annual certification confirming that the business is active is required.

How will I be notified that my loan was approved?

Notification will be sent via email to the email address provided on the application.

After my forgivable loan is approved, how long will it take to receive the funds?

Once approved, you will be notified and money will be sent out as soon as possible.

What happens if my business closes before the end of four years or the business no longer has a significant operation located in Maine? Will I have to pay back the loan?

The unforgiven portion will need to be repaid with 3% interest. The portion forgiven while in business or located in Maine does not need to be repaid.

Contact

Thrive Maine Support Team

Thrive@FAMEmaine.com
800-228-3734

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