Looking for resources to help you start or grow your Maine small business? Check out our library of helpful documents, links and videos below.
Click below to skip to your desired section:
- Business Financing
- Business Planning
- Hiring & Managing Employees
- Business Basics Video Series
- Event & Workshop Recordings
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- CEI’s Wicked Fast Loan – $15,000 for start-up businesses and up to $30,000 for existing businesses with a 3-business day decision window.
- Grant Resource Guide 📄(Updated April 2023) – a guide to grants available to Maine-based businesses
- Shipping Strategies Guide 📄 – a guide for manageable and economical shipping solutions, including tips on product development, assembly, material costs, marketing and packaging.
- SaleCalc 🔗- compare fees/expenses for various storefronts and Payment Processors including eBay, Amazon, Etsy and PayPal
- SCORE Financial Projections Template 🔗 – use existing or estimated financial data to forecast your business’s future income and expenses.
- Branding 101 📄- it’s more than just a logo, a guide to the whys and hows of building your brand
- Email Marketing For Small Businesses 📄 – a guide to starting and succeeding with email marketing
- Websites 101 📄 – an introduction to starting a business website
Social Media Marketing
- Canva 🔗 – a free tool (with paid pro plans) for creating graphics and imagery, including for social media.
- Tailwind 🔗 – a free tool (with paid pro plans) for social media and email management
- The Business Model Canvas 📄 – a worksheet for developing your business model
- E-Commerce Guide 📄 – a guide to creating an effective e-commerce website
- Maine Business Answers 🔗- a resource from the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development to help you find what you need to start and do business in Maine.
Legal & Incorporation
- How to Organize Your Business 🔗- a guide for home-based businesses by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension
- IRS.gov 🔗- Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) Online
- Maine Corporations Division 🔗 – Maine filings for business entities, nonprofit corporations and marks
Product Development & Manufacturing
- Maine Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC)🔗 – Maine PTAC provides training and technical assistance to local businesses statewide so they can find, win and perform on government contracts.
Hiring & Managing Employees
- Adapting to Change – Working and Managing Your Business Virtually 📄
- How to Determine Independent Contractor Status 🔗 – via the Maine Department of Labor
The staff of the CEI Women’s Business Center respond to some Frequently Asked Questions and provide guidance on starting a new business. The information provided in these videos does not and is not intended to constitute legal advice.
Sole proprietorship vs single member LLCs – what are the pros and cons of each entity type for your business?
How to find out what federal, state and local licenses/permits your business needs.
What is in a business plan and why your company should have one.
How to fund your business with a commercial loan and what lenders are looking for on an application, including the 5 C’s of Credit.
What to consider when reviewing and signing a commercial lease for your business.
Tax basics for sole proprietors and single member LLCs, including Schedule Cs, Self-Employment Taxes and Maine Sales Taxes.
Should you hire someone as an independent contractor or an employee? How to choose the best fit for your businesses needs.
Event and Workshop Recordings
Check out our recordings of past workshops & panels to help your small business thrive! The information provided in these videos does not and is not intended to constitute legal advice.
How She Built That
An interview series with female business owners on how they built their companies.
Alissa Wetherbee talks with CEI Women’s Business Center about how she built a premier family entertainment show featuring awe-inspiring female world champion Logging Sports athletes. Alissa shares how she diversifies revenue streams for her business by offering programs, tours, workshops and expanding her merchandise into hot sauces and coffee.
Selina Chan talks with CEI Women’s Business Center about how she bult her business creating accessories for pet and pet lovers in addition to hand-painted artwork. Selina also shares tips she’s learned about creating and maintaining a strong Etsy storefront to sell her products.
Betty Crush talks with the CEI Women’s Business Center about how she built and grew her manufacturing business from her home kitchen making health-conscious plant-based snacks. Betty also shares tips on how she maintains high quality products, scales her business, and what she’s learned along the way. https://www.momsorganicmunchies.com/
Equity Funding for Your Business
A four-part series on how equity funding can work for your business.
Many entrepreneurs fund the early stages of their business with investments from friends, family, and other people in their personal and professional networks. In this first part of a three-part series on equity investments, you’ll learn about the ins and outs of leveraging your network to raise equity for your business.
This workshop will be presented by Robert Liscord, Brittany Michaud, and Doug Ginn of Drummond Woodsum. https://dwmlaw.com/
In this session, we’ll walk through a few generalized scenarios of alternative investment options for small businesses. We’ll cover how you can prepare for a conversation with a potential investor and when you need to bring in a professional (accountant, lawyer, etc.)
If you are seeking investments of $5,000 to $100,000 from your network, learn from our scenarios and ask the experts so you can feel prepared when considering investments from people you know.
For many small businesses, their first formal equity investment will come from an angel investor. In Maine, we have a robust network of angel investors who play a sizable role in our startup economy. In this second part of a three-part series on equity investments, you’ll learn about the ins and outs of leveraging angel investors to raise equity for your business.
This workshop will be presented by members of the Maine Angels. https://www.maineangels.org/
As businesses grow and scale, venture capital may be a feasible source of equity investment. We are lucky to have several Maine-based venture capital funds that invest in our local startups. In this third part of a three-part series on equity investments, you’ll learn about the ins and outs of leveraging venture capital to raise equity for your business.
BIPOC Entrepreneurship Series
A three-part virtual series focused on BIPOC entrepreneurship in Maine by Startup Maine and CEI Women’s Business Center. Each panel event explores the opportunities and barriers that exist for BIPOC entrepreneurs at the stages of ideation, launch and growth.
The Ideation Stage
In the Ideation panel, we explore the BIPOC entrepreneur experience of taking the seed of an idea to the first customer.
- Veena Dinesh, Director of Business Incubation, UMaine
- Mariella Uwimana, Immigrant Welcome Center Business Hub
- Tiffany Lomax, Co-Founder, Memory Lane Cards
- Obinna Okani, Community & Engagement Manager, The Roux Institute
The Launch Stage
In the Launch panel, we explore the BIPOC entrepreneur experience of establishing a customer base and market presence — and taking the first steps of being officially “in business.”
- Quang Nguyen, Financial Advisor & Entrepreneur
- Mike Mwenedata, Founder and CEO, Rwanda Bean
- Niky Watler, Co-Founder and Co-Owner of Maiz
- Lucie Narukundo, Owner of Moriah Market LLC
- Julia Trujilio Luengo, Director of the Office of Economic Opportunity, City of Portland
The Growth Stage
In the Growth Stage panel, we explore the BIPOC entrepreneur experience of shifting from a workable business entity to a platform for growth.
- Kerem Durdag, President and Chief Operating Officer of GWI
- Cara Stadler, Chef Eighty-Ate Hospitality
- Matthew Lewis, MaineStream Finance, Passamaquoddy tribal member
Small Business Webinars
Going Global: How to Expand Your Business Internationally
Have you ever wondered if your products/services would sell in Iceland or Canada?
What does it look like to do business internationally? How do you know if your business is ready to export?
- Jodi Breau of Dental Lace, Inc.
- Billie Cary, Trade Information Specialist with the Maine International Trade Center.
Employee Retention Tax Credit
If you are a small business with W2 employees and you haven’t yet applied for the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC) you may be leaving money on the table.
This refundable tax credit is worth up to $10,000 per employee per quarter, and you can receive ERTC and PPP (the law that prohibited you receiving them both has changed).
Featuring: Kevin Haley and Jamie Szal from Brann & Isaacson
Grants for Small Business
Are you seeking funding to invest in your new or growing business?
Grant funding can be a helpful resource, but finding a grant that is a good fit for your business is difficult. In this workshop, we will discuss the grant process, advise on when grants make sense for your businesses, offer tips for writing a compelling application, and provide an overview of grant opportunities for Maine-based small businesses. This workshop is offered in conjunction with the CEI Women’s Business Center’s Small Business Grant Resource Guide.
Featuring: Elaine Theriault-Currier, grant-writing consultant