Maine Grant Programs

Updated 11/23/20 – 12:30 PM EST


Farmer E-Commerce Reimbursement Program

Application Deadline with ALL receipts is Friday, December 18, 2020, by 5 pm ET.

Overview

The DACF CARES Act E-Commerce Reimbursement Program is offering up to $5,000 in reimbursements to Maine farms that have recently purchased e-commerce infrastructure due to business interruptions caused by COVID-19 social distancing measures and in response to the public health emergency. This funding supports farms who have created online sales platforms and/or improved their websites to increase consumer access and enhance community food security.

This program is open to farm businesses that have incurred new, unanticipated expenses directly related to e-commerce infrastructure purchase or subscription after March 1, 2020. Reimbursement funding will be retroactively applied to those costs (up to $5,000).

Eligibility

Funds are available to farms located in Maine. Businesses/organizations will be liable for any misuse of funds. The grants are taxable income and subject to audit.

To be eligible for this funding opportunity, applicants must:

  • Produce and sell at least $1,000 of agricultural products annually. Eligible activities include producing food for human consumption; hay and other feedstock; flowers; hemp; horticulture; and value-add producers who farm raw inputs.
    • Aquaculture is not covered by this grant.
    • Cannabis production is not covered by this grant.
  • Be a for-profit business or non-profit organization;
  • Be current and in good standing with all Maine State payroll taxes, sales taxes, and state income taxes (as applicable) through July 31, 2020;
  • Be in good standing with the Maine Department of Labor;
  • Not be in bankruptcy;
  • Not have permanently ceased all operations;
  • Be in consistent compliance and not be under any current or past enforcement action with COVID-19 Prevention Checklist Requirements (https://www.maine.gov/decd/covid-19-prevention-checklists)

Farms that have received other federal funding that was then leveraged for the same use (i.e., e-commerce infrastructure purchases) are ineligible.

Use of Reimbursement Funds

  • Reimbursement funds will be up to $5,000.
  • Acceptable e-commerce infrastructure that can be applied to the grant funding includes, but is not limited to:
    • Comprehensive online sales management platforms (e.g., those that cover CSA, wholesale, and/or Direct-to-Consumer models)
    • Online payment processing subscription/services
    • Turnkey or custom order processing and fulfillment software
    • Website design/customization services (e.g., subcontractor services)
    • Critical program/app integration services (e.g., QuickBooks, Stripe)

If you have questions please contact Jenn Stein, CEI Food Systems Business Advisor, at jenn.stein@ceimaine.org


Farmer and Food Producers CARES Act Infrastructure Reimbursement Program

Application to be released soon.

Overview

The Department of Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry (DACF) has allocated $10M in federal CARES Act funding for an Infrastructure Reimbursement Program. The program is offering grants from $1000 to up to $100,000 in reimbursements to Maine farms and food processors that have recently invested in infrastructure purchases or projects due to market disruptions caused by COVID-19 and in response to the public health emergency.

The Infrastructure Reimbursement Program was created to help support Maine farms, agricultural businesses, and processing facilities to address supply chain disruptions and mitigate health and environmental impacts as a result of the pandemic. Projects should aim to improve food supply resilience through increasing agricultural processing capacity, resolving food supply bottlenecks, or promoting worker safety as a result of the COVID-19 public health emergency.

This funding can be used to reimburse equipment purchases, capital projects/improvements, and other eligible costs incurred after March 1, 2020. Reimbursement will be retroactively applied to those costs.

Applicants will be asked to upload official receipts or invoices demonstrating eligible expenses within the covered time period [other requirements TBD].

The application deadline is 12/15/2020.

For questions or additional information, please contact Jenn Stein at jenn.stein@ceimaine.org

Eligibility

Funds are available to food and agricultural businesses including farms, processors, value-added producers, distributors, aggregators, and co-packers, located in Maine. Both existing facilities and new facilities that will soon be in operation are eligible to apply. All facilities must provide proof of their current or anticipated inspection status no later than application deadline.

This program is open to farms within the state of Maine that meet the following conditions:

  • Produce and sell at least $1,000 of agricultural products annually. Eligible activities include producing food for human consumption; hay and other feedstock; flowers; hemp; horticulture; and value-add producers who grow or produce raw inputs (e.g., a creamery that also is a dairy).

Businesses/organizations will be liable for any misuse of funds. The grants are taxable income and subject to audit.

To be eligible for this funding opportunity, applicants must:

  • Be an agricultural business or organization with fewer than 200 employees;
  • Be located in Maine;
  • Be current and in good standing with all Maine State payroll taxes, sales taxes, and state income taxes (as applicable) through July 31, 2020;
  • Be in good standing with the Maine Department of Labor;
  • Not be in bankruptcy;
  • Not have permanently ceased all operations;
  • Be in consistent compliance and not be under any current or past enforcement action with COVID-19 Prevention Checklist Requirements (https://www.maine.gov/decd/covid-19-prevention-checklists

Other eligibility details:

  • Each eligible operation is limited to one application.
  • Entities that have received other federal funding that was then leveraged for the same use (i.e., infrastructure purchases) are ineligible.
  • Work performed outside of the funding period (March 1 – December 18, 2020) is not eligible for reimbursement.
  • Aquaculture is not covered by this grant.
  • Cannabis production and processing is not covered by this grant.
  • Land acquisition or lease; wages; and research and development expenses are not eligible

Please see the application for a list of eligible activities and expenses covered by this grant program. 

The application cannot be saved and must be completed in one sitting. A PDF of this application will be available for assistance in gathering information, but all applications must be submitted via an online webform.


Past Grant Programs

Micro-Enterprise Grant Program (5 or fewer employees)

CEI is not taking Micro-Enterprise Grant applications at this time, until further funding is allocated.

Grant Size: Grants up to $5,000 available to small businesses affected by COVID-19 

Program Sponsor/Distributor(s): Androscoggin Valley Council of Governments (AVCOG), Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI), Northern Maine Development Commission (NMDC), and Southern Maine Planning & Development Commission (SMPDC). To access a grant, you must contact a SBDC advisor via your existing relationship with one or request advising through https://www.mainesbdc.org/cdbg/ 

Eligible Grantees: For-profit businesses

Business Size: Five or fewer employees, including the owner(s).

Use of Funds: Businesses may use the grant money for working capital which includes fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other bills that can’t be paid as a result of COVID-19.

Eligibility criteria includes:

  • Must be a Maine business [businesses located in the following areas have their own programs and are ineligible for this state-wide program: Portland, Biddeford, Auburn, Lewiston, Bangor, Cumberland County (excluding Brunswick, which is eligible for the state-wide program)]
  • Must demonstrate a revenue loss as a direct consequence of COVID-19. Funds cannot duplicate those received from other federal, state or local programs (including other CDBG funds).
  • Must have five or fewer employees including the owner(s).
  • Must have a DUNS Number, which can be obtained 
  • Owner’s household income must be low/moderate as defined by HUD as verified by 2019 tax return.  Please see income eligibility by county. Total annual household income must not exceed these limits.
  • One grant per household, regardless of the number of businesses owned by the household.

To Apply: Business owners must meet with a Maine SBDC business advisor to determine eligibility and submit an application. These grant funds are available on a first-come, first-serve basisThere is currently a waitlist, but applications are still being accepted.

Total Funding Available: Approximately $2 MM as part of the $11 million that the State of Maine received from the federal CARES Act for its Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program.

SBDC will provide appropriate auxiliary aids to persons with disabilities and translations to persons with Limited-English Proficiency where necessary to afford such persons an equal opportunity to apply. If you need such aid please contact mainesbdc@maine.edu or 1-800-679-7232.

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State of Maine Economic Recovery Grant Program (250 or fewer employees)

10/30/20 – The Deadline for this application has now passed

Grant Size: Up to $100,000 available, based on demonstrated January – June 2020 losses due to COVID-19. Grant awards will be distributed to all qualified applicants on a pro-rated percentage of those total losses. 

Program Sponsor/Distributor(s): Grants shall be distributed by the seven regional Economic Development Districts (EDDs)  

Eligible Grantees: For Profit businesses or Not for Profit organizations.

Business Size: 250 or fewer employees, including contractors. Additionally, licensed childcare and behavioral health organizations are eligible in this round. As are business less than 1 year old.

Use of Funds: Suggested business/organization expenses may include but are not limited to: Payroll costs and expenses; Rent or mortgage payments for business facilities (unless otherwise waived by lessor/lender); Utilities payments;  Purchase of personal protective equipment required by the business/organization;   Business related equipment.

Eligibility criteria includes:

  • Demonstrate a need for financial relief based on lost revenues minus expenses incurred since March 1, 2020 due to COVID-19 impacts or related public health response; 
  • Demonstrate an expected 20% loss in revenue minus expenses for 2020;
  • Have significant operations in Maine (business/organization headquartered in Maine or have a minimum of 50% of employees and contract employees based in Maine); 
  • Be current and in good standing with all Maine State payroll taxes, sales taxes, and state income taxes (as applicable) through July 31, 2020; 
  • Be in good standing with the Maine Department of Labor;
  • Employ a combined total of 250 or fewer employees and contract employees throughout 2020.

To Apply: Online application available via Maine DECD at https://www.maine.gov/decd/economic-recovery-grants

Total Funding Available: $95 million made available to Maine under the federal CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Fund to provide economic relief due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Up to $5 million is earmarked for businesses under a year old.

Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic CEI offices are closed to the public. CEI staff are working remotely and want to hear from you! Please reach out to your CEI contact regarding scheduled meetings and/or any questions/concerns. Click here for a list of COVID-19 Business Resources.
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