Commissioner Heather Johnson of the Department of Economic and Community Development is pictured in her office in Augusta on Sept. 10. Credit: Natalie Williams | BDN

Some 2,000 Maine small businesses and nonprofits that experienced coronavirus-related business losses will hear whether they will receive a federal stimulus grant as early as Friday, a state economic development official said.

The grants are part of the $200 million in federal CARES Act funds that Gov. Janet Mills allocated for struggling businesses and nonprofits. While the money falls short of the $300 million recommended by the governor’s economic recovery committee, the average grant of $45,000 will give a boost to businesses at a time when a second federal stimulus bill is in limbo. The grant money can be used to pay rent and utilities and to buy business-related equipment or personal protective equipment.

Heather Johnson, commissioner of the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development, told businesses during a monthly teleconference on Wednesday that those who applied for the first round of grants will hear whether or not they will receive them by Friday or Tuesday, after the Indigenous Peoples’ Day holiday. Those who won’t get grants will be told why they didn’t qualify, and potentially could apply in the second round of grants, she said.

She also reminded businesses that the second round of grants has been expanded to include companies with up to 250 employees, childcare businesses and new businesses. The new businesses weren’t included in a first because they don’t have a financial track record, so the economic development department has partnered with the Maine Technology Institute and other organizations to help review those applications, Johnson said.

The second round closing has been extended a week to Oct. 29, and it will take about a month to process the applications. About $95 million will be available, plus any extra funds from closing out the first round of grants, she said.