Governor Mills hails U.S. Treasury approval of Maine’s $62 million plan to support Maine small businesses

The “Grow Maine” initiative through the Maine Finance Authority will provide Maine entrepreneurs with greater financing options to sustain or grow their business

Governor Janet Mills today welcomed the U.S. Treasury Department’s approval of Maine’s plan to use $62 million in federal relief funds to expand financing options for small businesses. The new “Grow Maine” initiative, administered by the Maine Finance Authority (FAME), will provide greater access to capital for entrepreneurs and small business owners to maintain or expand their businesses.

“Grow Maine” will use funds through the Federal Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI), which was expanded and reauthorized by the American Rescue Plan Act. Governor Janet Mills appointed FAME to accept these funds and lead the program in Maine in conjunction with various statewide lending partners.

“Small businesses are the backbone of Maine’s economy. The Grow Maine initiative will help Maine small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs gain access to the capital they need to grow or start a business and create well-paying jobs in communities across the state,” said Governor Janet Mills. “I thank the Treasury Department for their endorsement of our plan and look forward to working with FAME and local lending partners to distribute these funds to strengthen our economy.”

“This initiative is a valuable resource for businesses looking to grow and will help strengthen and diversify Maine’s economy,” said Heather Johnson, Commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development.

“FAME is pleased to partner with various Maine economic development entities, as well as our commercial lending partners, to help successfully support Maine small businesses,” said Carlos Mello, interim CEO of FAME.

The SSBCI program, originally created in 2010, is focused on strengthening public programs that support private financing for small businesses. To ensure broad access to capital, FAME partners with more than thirty intermediary lenders across the state for the Grow Maine program. The lenders are community development financial institutions (CDFIs) and local and municipal economic development lenders who are already partners in FAME’s direct lending programs.

Funding will be available through FAME and its channel partners through loan guarantees, direct loans and equity. Loans of up to $5 million will be available (not to exceed $20 million per project) and interest rates will be set by the participating lending institution. Participating agencies will be able to retain the funds and use them once the loans have been repaid to lend to these communities to expand their beneficial impact.

At the end of the ten-year funding cycle for Grow Maine, the state plans to leverage ten dollars of private loans and investments for every dollar of SSBCI loans/investments. Upon loan repayment or return on investment, SSBCI capitalization will be retained by the issuing lenders or state venture capital funds as permanent capitalization for ongoing and future loans and investments for economic development purposes. .

For more information on Grow Maine programs, including eligibility details and program applications, please visit: Applications should be available in early September.

The Grow Maine program will complement Governor Mills’ Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan, which to date has made more than $288 million in assistance available to Maine’s small businesses.

Governor’s plan, approved by Legislature, invests nearly $1 billion in U.S. Federal Bailout funds to improve the lives of Maine residents and families, help businesses, create well-paying jobs and build an economy ready for future prosperity.

It draws heavily on the recommendations of the Governor’s Economic Recovery Committee and the state’s 10-year Economic Development Strategy, turning them into concrete actions to improve the lives of Maine residents and strengthen the economy.

To learn more about Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan, visit

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