In response to the global pandemic, the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) is distributing $10 billion in funding across all 50 states and territories in the United States. Each state has its own rollout plan, and fortunately for Maine business owners, the Pine Tree State has officially opened its SSBCI funding applications. Applications are rolling and funding is given on a first come, first served basis, so business owners need to act quickly.
Maine has been allotted $62M in funding. The state will use the capital to help Maine businesses grow and provide jobs. Additionally, funding will be administered to businesses that show they will have long-term, positive effects on Maine’s economy.
📍 If you're in a different state, you can add your email here to be the first to know when your state opens up applications.
What kinds of funding can Maine businesses receive?
SSBCI funds are distributed utilizing a mix of venture capital programs, equity programs, or loan programs. Each state determines how its funding will be administered.
In Maine, business owners will encounter a few different funding methods, including direct loans, equity investments, and commercial loan insurance.
Direct Loan Program: Direct loans are loans that are administered directly from your credit union. In this case, loans will be administered through the Financing Authority of Maine (FAME) and local participating agencies.
Equity Investment Program: In an equity investment program, SSBCI capital is distributed in the form of direct business and fund investments.
Commercial Loan Insurance Program: Commercial loan insurance plans help business owners protect the financial future of their businesses. In this case, plans will be distributed through participating lending institutions.
Which SSBCI programs are open now in Maine?
Maine will distribute its SSBCI funding through the Grow Maine program (which is administered by FAME). Within the Grow Maine program, there are three different funding options, and business owners must determine which opportunity best fits their business needs.
Direct Loan Program: In this program, participating lenders work with FAME to offer loans up to $5M. Loans are intended to support business projects up to $20M.
The interest rates for these loans will be set by the participating lending institution that you choose to work with. There are 18 different lenders are participating in this program, and each will have its own application process (more on this below).
Equity Investment Program: This opportunity is meant for businesses seeking capital in the form of direct business and fund investments. Applicants for this program must work with a participating lender, which in this case is the Maine Venture Fund. The Maine Venture Fund offers two different opportunities, including the Microfund and the CoreFund.
- The Microfund is for early-stage businesses that may need capital to launch.
- The CoreFund is for businesses with some early revenues that are looking for capital to scale and grow.
Commercial Loan Insurance Program: Businesses can get commercial loan insurance coverage through this program. However, business owners must contact their local lenders to take advantage of this opportunity.
What businesses are eligible for SSBCI funding?
Each state sets its own eligibility requirements. Your business is eligible for SSBCI funding in Maine if:
- it is a Maine business or nonprofit
- it has fewer than 750 employees
- you are not a convicted sex offender
What can the funding be spent on?
Maine’s SSBCI funding is meant to help businesses grow, create jobs, and support the local economy. This means that funding must be spent on legal business purposes. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Start-up costs
- Working capital
- Business procurement
- Franchise fees
- 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 the funding be spent on?
- Refinancing existing debt where SSBCI would replace private funds
- Reimbursement of funds owed by any owner
- Repayment of delinquent state or federal income taxes
- Financing a non-business purpose
- Supporting an existing extension of credit
- Security purchases
- Acquisition or holding of any other real property for investment purposes
- Lobbying activities
- Owner buyouts or equity substitution, except in situations resulting in employee ownership
How to apply for SSBCI funding in Maine:
Each program has its own application process. Here’s what to expect:
To apply for a direct loan, business owners must have a participating lender to work with. Eighteen different lenders are participating, and the full list can be found here. Choosing a lender from such an extensive list can be challenging. If you need help assessing your options, you can speak to a Client Success Manager who can help you efficiently navigate the process.
Each lender has a unique application process that includes filling out specific forms and acquiring proper documentation. This process can be lengthy, so set aside ample time for completions. When questions arise, reach out and ask your Skip Client Success Manager – improperly filling out a form can stall your application.
To apply for an equity investment, you will have to initiate your application through the Maine Venture Fund. Business owners will be asked to share year-to-date and the previous year's financial statements, plus a business plan or pitch deck. You can book a call with us if you need support putting together your business plan.
Like the other programs, the commercial loan insurance program facilitates its application process through a third-party lender. In this case, you should contact your local lender to initiate the process.
Common challenges in applying for SSBCI funding:
The most challenging aspects of the application process are connecting with the right lender and preparing your business plan.
While the high number of participating lenders ensures you have your choice of options, it also means that a lot of research will be required to find the best fit for your business.
To help you save time, our Client Success Managers have already learned the ins and outs of finding the right lender in Maine. If you need support, you can book a call for a personal consultation.
Even with the right lender, your SSBCI application is only as sound as your business plan. Take your time putting this together and utilize all the resources that are at your disposal. Consulting with an outside source is always helpful, and our Client Success Managers are up to the task.
Navigating the SSBCI application process isn’t easy, but it is worthwhile. Know that, here at Skip, you always have support.