Breaking Down the State’s New $200 Million Grant Program

Who qualifies?

  • Maine-based businesses (business/organization headquartered in Maine or
    have a minimum of 50% of employees and contract employees based in Maine) with 50 employees or fewer (FTEs, including contract employees. This is not an average – if you have more than 50 employees at any point in the year, you are excluded from this program)
  • Businesses must be in good standing with Maine State sales taxes, payroll taxes, etc. and Department of Labor
  • Businesses must not be permanently closed, and must not be in bankruptcy
  • Opened one year prior to August 1, 2020
  • Demonstrate a financial need from COVID-19 (based on lost revenues minus expenses incurred since March 1, 2020)

What else do you need to know?

  • Applications open Friday, August 21st. The program is *not* first-come, first-served, but the applications are only open for about two and a half weeks, until September 9th
  • The grant amount will be calculated using the formula found on pages 6-7 of this document. Your grant amount will depend on how much your business was impacted by COVID-19, as well as how many other businesses apply.
  • You need to apply for a DUNS number before submitting your application. That can take 2-3 business days, so if you do not yet have one, you can start by applying for that.
  • Programs like PPP and PUA will count against your total losses.
  • For our area, the Greater Portland Council of Governments will be processing applications and awarding grants.
  • There will be a minimum grant amount. That amount will not be determined until applications have closed. If the formula shows that you would receive less than the not-yet-determined minimum grant amount, you will not receive funding.
  • Visit this page for more information

Applications can be found here.

Good news first: this is much of what we’ve been advocating for!

1) It’s a grant program, not loans.
2) The grants are very flexible — awarded dollars can be used for payroll, commercial rent, PPE, and more.
3) It’s not first-come, first-served — so you don’t have to panic and apply today (but the deadline is in just two and a half weeks).
4) The program will use a formula based on past revenues to determine the grant amount, so businesses with greater losses should receive more.
5) The grants focuses on the small, Maine-based businesses that contribute to our communities — the businesses who have been most likely to fall through the cracks of other grant programs

Less good news:

1) It’s a sizable program, but it is far from sufficient to make every business and nonprofit whole. Because the grant amount depends on the number of organizations that apply, grant amounts could end up being somewhat small
2) The grants count as taxable income
3) The application window is only August 21-September 9 (but it is not first-come, first-served!)
4) There’s a lot of administrative work to be done to make sure this grant process goes smoothly


Register for Informational Webinar to Learn More:

Join the Department of Economic and Community Development’s Commissioner Heather Johnson and Business Development Manager Jonathan Poole for an informational webinar on the Economic Recovery Grant Program.

This informational session will provide you with the information required to apply for this grant program and will give you an opportunity to ask questions.

Register for Friday, August 21 at 10:00 AM
Register for Tuesday, August 25 at 11:00 AM


Visit the DECD webpage for more information, and click here for the FAQ. More comprehensive information, including the formula that will be used to calculate grant amount, can be found here.

For more information:

Please call: 1-800-872-3838 and press 3 in Maine or email:

Arrow Pointing Up
back to top