Grow Maine at CEI

Update 7/14/23: CEI is not currently accepting applications for the Grow Maine Program as FAME awaits further funding availability. Please check back in the future for updates. If you have questions about an outstanding application, please contact your loan officer. Thank you.

Grow Maine, established by the Finance Authority of Maine (FAME), administers the U.S. Treasury Department’s State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) program. 

Grow Maine funds require at least 1:1 match to access funding.

CEI has a one-stop solution: Grow Maine at CEI. Eligible borrowers can access both SSBCI and match funds in a single loan package, with flexible repayment terms offered at competitive interest rates.

Benefits of Grow Maine at CEI

  • Single application for SSBCI and required match financing
  • Interest rates fixed at 6% for eligible borrowers
  • Flexible repayment terms and amortization periods

What Can I Use Funds For?

  • Start-up costs
  • Working capital
  • Franchise fees
  • Equipment
  • Inventory
  • Production services
  • Manufacturing
  • Delivery of goods and services
  • Business acquisition (excluding goodwill)
  • Purchases of owner-occupied non-investment real estate (commercial or otherwise)
  • Purchase, construction, renovation, or improvements of an eligible place of business

What Can’t I Use Funds For?

  • Refinancing existing debt
  • Investing in “passive” real estate acquired and held primarily for sale, lease, or investment. Passive real estate investment includes most real estate development (including construction) in which the developer does not intend to occupy or actively use the resulting real property.
  • Ineligible business types include firms involved in lending, gambling, pyramid sales plans, financial institutions, marijuana, and businesses prohibited by federal law.

Who Can Apply?

  • LLCs, partnerships, corporations, sole props, independent contractors, worker cooperatives, Tribal enterprises, charitable/religious/other non-profit or philanthropic institutions
  • No more than 750 employees
  • No limit on annual gross sales
  • Priority given to SEDI and/or “Very Small” Businesses

What is a SEDI and/or “Very Small” Business?

As defined by the Federal government, a SEDI Business is at least one of the following:

  1. A business enterprise owned and controlled by “Socially and Economically Disadvantaged Individual(s)” who have had their access to credit on reasonable terms diminished as compared to others in comparable economic circumstances, due to their:
    • Membership of a group that has been subjected to racial or ethnic prejudice or cultural bias within American society
    • Gender
    • Veteran status
    • Limited English proficiency
    • Disability
    • Long-term residence in an environment isolated from the mainstream of American society
    • Membership of a federally or state-recognized Indian Tribe
    • Long-term residence in a rural community
    • Residence in a U.S. territory
    • Residence in a community undergoing economic transitions (including communities impacted by the shift towards a net-zero economy or deindustrialization)
    • Membership of another underserved community
  2. A business enterprise that is owned and controlled by individuals whose residences are in CDFI Investment Areas.
  3. A business enterprise that will build, open, or operate in a location in a CDFI Investment Area.

As defined by the Federal government, a “Very Small” Business is one with less than 10 employees.

Application Requirements

  • Have questions about a potential loan request? Complete our inquiry form:
  • Have your business plan, financials, and other materials handy? Then you’re ready to apply!

When will I know if my request is approved?

CEI will contact you upon receipt of your loan application.

Are there any other requirements?

  • Personal guaranty from all business owners with a 20% or greater share of the business
  • Loan payment by ACH
  • Participation in a 30-minute workforce assessment
  • Evidence of business liability insurance prior to close
  • Borrower’s Resolution, if applicable
  • Additional items, as needed

Who can I contact with additional questions?

Please submit any additional questions to: