Tear Cap Workshops offers a Rent-a-Bench program for woodworkers. Here, shop steward Henry Banks, right, explains the set-up to a couple starting a woodworking project. Courtesy of Sarah Banks/Tear Cap Workshops

ELLSWORTH & PORTLAND – The Maine Community Foundation’s Start Up/Scale Up Grant Program seeks applications from Maine nonprofit organizations that help new ventures start and grow through programs such as collaborative workspaces and incubator and accelerator programs.

Grants will be awarded to organizations and projects that meet the criteria and that have the greatest potential to support innovation and entrepreneurship in Maine. Priority will be given to projects or organizations that:

actively engage entrepreneurs through programs, networking, problem-solving with peers and others, and providing access to resources;

support entrepreneurs and businesses in rural communities and in areas with limited access to resources;

serve entrepreneurs and businesses founded or led by women and black, indigenous, and other people of color; and 

include partnerships and collaborations with other organizations, individuals, businesses, or institutions.

Deadline for applications is April 1. Guidelines, application and a list of 2020 grants can be found at www.mainecf.org. Maximum grants of $25,000 may support a range of program expenses as well as capital investment in equipment, technology, and buildings. 

Last year, Start Up Scale Up awarded $200,000 to 10 nonprofit organizations, including:

  • Our Katahdin, to develop affordable space in downtown Millinocket to incubate small businesses and create a vibrant environment for entrepreneurs and community to connect and access resources
  • Sunrise County Economic Council, Machias, to provide co-working space, broadband access and training, programming for cohorts, and business incubators for Washington County small businesses
  • Tear Cap Workshops, Hiram, to support Rent-a-Bench makerspace program and to develop a new workspace for an entrepreneur or artisan.

Questions about the grant program should be directed to Senior Program Officer Maggie Drummond-Bahl at mbahl@mainecf.org or 207-412-0839.