Looking to start up, grow, or expand? Use this quick reference list to get help building your business.

Business Services Offered

Business Counseling / Coaching / Mentoring

  • Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI)
  • CEI Women’s Business Center
  • Maine Center for Entrepreneurs
  • Maine Small Business Development Centers (SBDC)
  • SCORE Maine
  • StartSmart

Business Plan Assistance

  • Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI)
  • CEI Women’s Business Center
  • Maine Small Business Development Centers (SBDC)
  • SCORE Maine
  • StartSmart

Commercial Loan Insurance (for Lenders)

  • Finance Authority of Maine (FAME)
  • U.S. Small Business Association (SBA)

Courses / Trainings / Workshops

  • CEI Women’s Business Center
  • Maine Center for Entrepreneurs
  • Maine Development Foundation (MDF)
  • Maine Small Business Development Centers (SBDC)
  • Maine Technology Institute (MTI)
  • SCORE Maine

Debt Financing

  • Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI)
  • Finance Authority of Maine (FAME)
  • Maine Financial Institutions
  • Maine Regional Planning Organizations
  • Maine Technology Institute (MTI)
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
  • U.S. Small Business Association (SBA)

Equity Financing

  • Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI)
  • Finance Authority of Maine (FAME)
  • Maine Angels
  • Maine Technology Institute (MTI)
  • Maine Venture Fund (MVF)

Grants for Business

  • Grants.gov (Federal Grants)
  • Maine Regional Planning Organizations
  • Maine Technology Institute (MTI)
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Immigrant Entrepreneurs

  • StartSmart

Licensing Help

  • Maine Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD)
  • Maine Small Business Development Centers (SBDC)
  • State of Maine (Maine.gov)

Other Financing Programs

  • Finance Authority of Maine
  • Maine Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD)
  • Maine Development Foundation (MDF)
  • State of Maine (Maine.gov)
  • U.S. Small Business Association (SBA)

Pitch Contests / Accelerator Programs

  • Gorham Savings Bank LaunchPad
  • Greenlight Maine
  • Maine Center for Entrepreneurs

Women Entrepreneurs

  • CEI Women’s Business Center

Agencies / Organizations / Programs

Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI)

Through its partnership with Maine Small Business Development Centers (Maine SBDC), Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI) hosts business counselors who provide no-cost, one-on-one assistance to potential and existing business owners throughout the state. CEI also has two Women’s Business Centers serving women entrepreneurs in northeast and southwest Maine, and StartSmart, a microenterprise for immigrant entrepreneurs.

CEI Women’s Business Center

The CEI Women’s Business Center understands the challenges that disproportionately affect female entrepreneurs and provides resources to meet those challenges. In addition to a variety of workshops, facilitated peer groups, and local meetups, the Center also offers free, confidential business advising on business plan development, business financing, marketing, financial management, growth and expansion, and buying or selling a business.

Finance Authority of Maine (FAME)

To meet the financing needs of Maine’s business community, FAME offers a wide array of business assistance programs, ranging from traditional loan insurance programs for both small and larger businesses, to investment tax credits. FAME has also established taxable and tax-exempt bond financing programs that allow strong, creditworthy firms in Maine to access capital at favorable rates and terms.

Gorham Savings Bank LaunchPad Program

Gorham Savings Bank’s LaunchPad pitch competition celebrates and supports Maine ingenuity, creativity, and entrepreneurial spirit. The competition’s top prize is a $50,000 grant to buy equipment, expand or acquire space, hire employees, fund product development, or meet any other business need.

LaunchPad also offers an Emerging Business Award, designed to support promising early-stage companies with a $10,000 grant plus an additional $10,000 of in-kind business and marketing services.

Grants.gov (Federal Grants)

Grants.gov is a comprehensive database of thousands of government grants for companies of all backgrounds.

Greenlight Maine

Greenlight Maine is a competitive reality television show where contestants from entrepreneurs to established businesses vie for cash prizes to take their products and services to the next level.

Greenlight Maine also hosts a collegiate series with student entrepreneurs from Maine’s top colleges and universities competing for three top cash prizes of $10,000, $5,000, and $2,500.

Maine Angels

The Maine Angels are accredited private equity investors who invest in and mentor promising early-stage companies in Maine and New England. The organization currently has over 90 members.

Maine Center for Entrepreneurs (MCE)

Established in 1997, MCE’s mission is to build and lead a community of growth-oriented businesses in Maine by providing the training, connections, coaching, and mentorship they need to commercialize and grow their ideas, products, and services. Over its 20-year history, the organization has accelerated the growth of hundreds of businesses and established a mentor network of over 200 members.

Maine Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD)

The Maine Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) supports communities and businesses through a variety of programs, from targeted tax relief to community block grants to tourism marketing. DECD and its partners show companies how they can benefit from millions of dollars in tax credits, reimbursements, R&D credits, capital loans, and direct investment.

Maine Development Foundation (MDF)

Maine Development Foundation (MDF) is a nonpartisan, statewide public-private organization with individual, corporate, nonprofit, and government agency members from across the state. The organization’s aim is to drive sustainable economic growth through trusted research, leadership development, and creative partnerships among businesses, policymakers, educators, community leaders, and other nonprofits. 

Maine Regional Planning Organizations

Maine Regional Planning Organizations (i.e., planning commissions, councils of governments) receive funds from the Maine Legislature and Maine Coastal Program to provide general planning assistance to municipalities within their respective regions.

Maine Small Business Development Centers (SBDC)

Maine Small Business Development Centers provide no-cost confidential business advising and training to entrepreneurs and small businesses. Certified business advisors provide guidance on topics such as business feasibility, business plan development, capital acquisition, financial management, marketing and sales, e-commerce, customer service, personnel management, small business strategic planning, and more.

Maine Technology Institute (MTI)

Maine Technology Institute (MTI) works with Maine inventors, whether their office is in a home garage or a publicly traded company conducting research and development. MTI provides funding and assistance to convert innovative ideas into new products, processes, or companies.

Maine Venture Fund (MVF)

Maine Venture Fund invests in dynamic businesses that have the potential for significant growth and impact in Maine. Since 1997, over $20 million has been invested in Maine companies from the Fund, which operates as a revolving “evergreen” fund.

Maine.gov

The state’s website has an extensive list of resources for Maine businesses, including information on starting a business, business licensing, business taxes, corporate resources, employer resources, and laws and regulations.

SCORE Maine

A resource partner of the U. S. Small Business Administration (SBA), SCORE offers free and low-cost business education workshops on a wide range of topics and free mentoring services. Visit SCORE Maine to find the office nearest you.

StartSmart

StartSmart is a free business development program for immigrant entrepreneurs offered by Coastal Enterprises, Inc. The program provides advice and guidance on topics such as business plan development, financing, bookkeeping, marketing and advertising, and legal and regulatory requirements. Interpreters are available.

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)

The USDA provides funding opportunities for rural small businesses through a variety of loan, loan guarantee, and grant programs. Visit their site for a list of programs.

U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)

Created in 1953, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is the only cabinet-level federal agency fully dedicated to small business, providing counseling, capital, and contracting expertise. Click below to find local assistance.

FAME provides links to other websites as a convenience and does not endorse or guarantee the content, accuracy or usability of such sites. Use of information and resources provided does not guarantee approval for financing.
The Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) does not discriminate in the administration of any of its programs or in its employment practices on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, gender, religion, physical or mental disability, political affiliation, marital status or sexual orientation. FAME is an equal opportunity employer, provider and lender.