Whether you’re a current FAME customer or a prospective one, you’ll find the answers to many common questions here.
How do I start a business in Maine?
For an overview of key steps in the business planning and financing process, visit our Business Roadmap.
For more detailed guidelines on starting a business in Maine, check out Maine Small Business Development Centers‘ (Maine SBDC) Starting a Business Checklist. They also offer both a printed guide and a recorded webinar on starting a business in Maine:
Visit the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) for a list of agencies and programs for starting or growing a business in Maine.
Are you an entrepreneur looking for resources within the state? Startup Maine‘s Guide to Resources for Maine Entrepreneurs is a good starting point. It’s also designed to help individuals and organizations that support and guide entrepreneurs and startups and that are looking for ways to match resources with those in need. To help build your entrepreneurial network and knowledge base, check out Startup Maine’s Resource Compass, a database of business resources and events from all across the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Does FAME offer loans for an existing business or for buying a business?
Yes. However, FAME loans aren’t the traditional commercial loans that you’d obtain from a financial institution. Some Maine businesses come to need FAME programs after they’ve already met with a commercial lender or investor.
FAME loan insurance is an option your lender may add to your commercial loan to help manage their risk (like private mortgage insurance on a home loan). If your financial institution denies your loan request, ask if they might consider the loan with loan insurance from FAME. FAME provides commercial loan guarantees to lenders for a fee.
FAME also has direct loan, bond, and equity programs that help businesses at various stages of the business life cycle. FAME offers the FAME Direct Loan, agricultural loan programs, as well as commercial bonds and other sources of capital.
Can I get a grant to buy a business or fund my business?
Possibly. Government agencies at the federal, state, and local level offer many financing programs to help small businesses start up and grow, but you’ll need to invest some time and effort to research grants your business may qualify for and then to apply. See our “Seek Grants and Other Funding Sources” section of the Business Roadmap.
Does FAME make loans to the self-employed?
How do I apply for FAME Direct Loan and other FAME-administered special loan programs?
Each FAME financing program has its own web page with information on the eligibility, terms, and application requirements. You’ll also find information about how to apply, along with links to download all the forms required in your application package.
How long is the process for applying and getting approval?
The length of the process will vary depending upon the type and size of the loan; however, you can help to significantly expedite the process by making sure your application package is complete and includes all required information. A complete application checklist specific to your loan program is included in your loan program application form.
Does my personal credit matter if I’m applying for business financing?
Yes. Like many lenders, FAME considers your personal credit when making a decision on a loan request. Your personal credit history shows lenders how well you manage your finances. As a general rule, expect a lender to look more closely at your personal credit history in any of the following cases:
You’re applying for financing with a bank or other traditional lender. Banks and other traditional lenders have strict requirements for lending which limit their flexibility.
Your company is a startup or a very small business. If your business doesn’t have much (or any) credit history, your personal score will factor more heavily. If you own a sole proprietorship or a small business with only a few employees, it may be difficult for a traditional lender to distinguish between your business and personal credit histories.
Your personal credit score is low. Your personal credit history doesn’t have to be spotless, particularly if your business has a strong credit history. However, the more negative items in your personal credit report, the more they’ll be factored into your lender’s risk assessment.
What can I do to prepare for a meeting with a financial institution?
We’re glad you asked! We can’t stress enough the importance of being well prepared when requesting financing—it’s why we put together the Business Roadmap. You may not need to complete all of the steps outlined in the Roadmap, but we recommend reviewing all three sections.
Where else can I get help?
Check out our Where to Get Help page for a list of programs, services, and support for Maine businesses and the organizations that offer them.
FAME Customer FAQs
- How do I get a payoff quote for my loan?
- Can I get a loan history for tax purposes?
- How much principal and interest have I paid this year?
- I would like to make my loan payments online. How can I do that?
To provide you with the best service, we recommend that these questions (and others pertaining to your account) be directed to our business customer service team. They’re available to assist you Monday to Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., at 207-623-3263, extension 3, or Business@FAMEmaine.com.