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New Covid Relief Targets Small Businesses Previously Left Out

Press Release

Small businesses that were left out of earlier Covid relief programs are urged to apply for a new round of funding specifically targeted to previously unhelped businesses. The program is offered through the Southern Maine Regional Planning Commission.

Friends of Downtown is planning to hold an informational session about the program sometime during the week of November 13. The deadline for applying is December 7, 2023. There is a potential for future rounds of funding.

Financial assistance grants of up to $20,000 are available to businesses with 25 or fewer employees that opened between January 1, 2020 and May 11, 2023. The businesses need to demonstrate negative impacts due to the COVID pandemic and must have not already received substantial COVID grants. Small businesses can use the grants for rent, utilities, inventory, equipment, insurance, payroll (excluding owner) and other working capital needs.

Small business owners can also take advantage of technical assistance grants in the form of bookkeeping, web design and social media planning/implementation services. Free training, which includes banking and finance workshops, is offered by Kennebunk Savings Bank. Free workshops are available by SCORE, the Small Business Development Center and New Ventures Maine. In addition, there is access to workshops and classes at collaborators, York County Community College and York County Adult Education.

Some $450,000 is available through the American Rescue Plan. A portion of the funding will be set aside specifically to support businesses owned and operated by racial, ethnic, and linguistic minorities, within the SMPDC service region, who were disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.

Southern Maine Planning and Development Corporation Program Coordinator Nelle Hanig explains, “It is exciting to be launching this new program because it offers hands-on technical assistance and grants to help grow and strengthen small businesses in York and Southern Oxford Counties, especially those that fell through the cracks during prior pandemic-related funding. The application is easy; we urge businesses to apply by the December 7 deadline.”

For more information and assistance filing online applications contact Mary Hastings at mwhastings@sanfordmaine.org

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