What can you do for funding in between Federal (SBA) and State (FAME) programs being available, when unemployment runs out, or when you re-open and not all your customers are bak? It’s not all bleak and below are a few options that we have found over the last few weeks. Do be careful– these are moving targets, funds are running out fast and must be replenished, and scammers are looking for you. We at MaineStream and partners like SBDC and SCORE are here to help guide you through these issues along the way.
Grants (more are on our COVID-19 Small Business website in the “industry-specific” or “donations” sections)
- Grants for small businesses (all types): Salesforce-Ureeka ($10,000), US Chamber of Commerce ($5,000), Hello Alice ($10,000), Red Backpack Fund/Spanx ($5,000 to women-owned)
- Gift cards: Kabbage, Square, Facebook
- Self-employed: Leveler, One Fair Wage Emergency Fund, Freelancers Relief Fund
- Grants for specific industries – Bars and Restaurants (there are many more for artists, farmers, bookstores, etc. on our website): Go Tip ‘Em, James Beard Foundation Relief Fund, Restaurant Employee Relief Fund–National Restaurant Assoc, Restaurant Strong (Sam Adams)
Loans (lower cost and/or some other type of relief). Please note, loans still must be paid back–carefully pause before borrowing and skip loans altogether if you don’t think you will pay it back.
- Maine-based, nonprofit SBA Microlenders (new, emergency loans with favorable terms): MaineStream Finance (my firm in Bangor), AVCOG in Auburn, Coastal Enterprises (CEI) in Brunswick, Community Concepts Finance Corp in South Paris, and NMDC in Caribou.
- Low-cost (most at 0% ) online lenders – national players: Honeycomb, KIVA, Mainvest Main Street Initiative, Paypal Working Capital, Wefunder.
- Local towns and cities: Many towns/cities will create low-cost loans (and grants) to small businesses using CDBG and EDA funds (but still in process – stay in touch with your town office). Some towns (and chambers of commerce) like Bucksport, Augusta-Gardiner, and Portland have already created funds.
Portions published in the MaineBiz article, “Maine small-biz funding roundup: more loans, fintech and options for self-employed” on April 22, 2020.
To find out more about Small Business issues during COVID-19, including financing, go here.