CARIBOU — The Maine Department of Economic & Community Development (DECD) in partnership with the Maine Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) will provide grants of up to $5,000 for businesses with five or fewer employees, with an owner whose income is in the low to moderate range as defined by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

The money is part of the $11 million Maine received from the federal CARES Act for its Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program. Approximately $2 million of the allocation is being made available through the Micro-Enterprise Grant Program in partnership with the Maine Small Business Development Center. The funds for Aroostook and Washington counties will be distributed through Northern Maine Development Commission (NMDC).

“This money is appreciated as it directly assists some of the hardest-hit businesses in Aroostook and Washington counties, many of which would not otherwise not qualify for other public resources because of how small their losses were,” said NMDC SBDC Director Brandon McDonald. “We are excited to be a partner in this program and look forward to continuing our strong relationship with DECD in continuing to assist with the CDBG program in northern and eastern Maine.”

Businesses may use the grant money for working capital which includes fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other bills that cannot be paid because of COVID-19. Funds are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Business owners must meet with a Maine SBDC business advisor to determine eligibility and submit an application.

Eligibility criteria include:
• Must be a Maine business
• Must demonstrate a revenue loss as a direct consequence of COVID-19. Funds cannot duplicate those received from other federal, state or local programs.
• Must have five or fewer employees including the owner(s)
• Must have a DUNS Number, which can be obtained here http://fedgov.dnb.com/webform
• Owner’s household income must be low/moderate as defined by HUD as verified by 2019 tax return.

For more information or to apply, contact McDonald at 207-493-5770 or by email at bmcdonald@nmdc.org.

Additional information can also be found at www.mainesbdc.org/cdbg. SBDC will provide appropriate auxiliary aids to persons with disabilities and translations to persons with Limited-English Proficiency where necessary to afford such persons an equal opportunity to apply. If you need such aid, please contact mainesbdc@maine.edu or 1-800-679-7232.