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Posted on: May 18, 2020

City Offers Help to Small Businesses During Pandemic - Launches Three Grant & Loan Programs

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The City of Portland launched three emergency business assistance programs after receiving City Council approval of the programs at its May 4, 2020 meeting and final funding for them at its May 18, 2020 meeting.

The programs include the Business Assistance Program for Job Creation (BAP-Rehire), the Microenterprise Grant Program, and the Rapid Response Microloan Program. Information about the programs and an application can be found on the City’s website at portlandmaine.gov/CovidBizAssist. In addition to English, information about the programs is available in seven languages on the City’s website.  

A webinar is scheduled for this Thursday, May 21 at 3:00 pm to help small businesses understand more about the City of Portland’s COVID-19 assistance programs as well as those being offered by the Greater Portland Council of Governments and the City of Westbrook. Information for joining the webinar will be posted at the website listed above. 

A business must be located in Portland in order to be eligible to apply for funding. Applications are due no later than Thursday June 4, 2020 at 4:00 pm. Businesses that received funding from COVID-19 Federal SBA and/or State (FAME) commercial financing programs are not eligible for the City’s COVID-19 programs. 

The Portland Rapid Response Micro Loan Program (RRMP) will be funded with $400,000 from the PDC’s unrestricted loan funds. On Monday, the City Council approved $305,000 for the Microenterprise Grant and the BAP-Rehire Programs. Businesses are encouraged to submit fully completed applications as many are expected to apply, making the process quite competitive. Nonprofits are eligible only for the RRMP.

Any businesses with questions regarding these programs should contact Nelle Hanig, Business Programs Manager, Economic Development Department, at nrh@portlandmaine.gov

About the programs:

Business Assistance Program for Job Creation (Rehiring):  The City of Portland’s COVID-19 Business Assistance Program for Job Creation (Rehiring) (BAP-Rehire) provides $5,000 in grant funding to small businesses for rehiring two or more full-time employees that were on the payroll on January 31, 2020. The jobs, which must be filled by low/moderate income individuals, could include previous employees or new employees. 

Microenterprise Grant Program:  The City of Portland’s Microenterprise Grant Program (MGP) is targeted to very small businesses with less than two employees. The MGP provides grants of up to $2,500 to existing Portland Microenterprises that have been impacted by the COVID 19 crisis. The definition of a microenterprise, for the purposes of this program, is a business that has no more than one full time equivalent employee (FTE), which could be 1 full-time or 2 part-time employees, as well as the business owner who must be a low/moderate income individual. 

Rapid Response Micro Loan Program:  The City of Portland’s Rapid Response Micro Loan Program (RRMP) is targeted to businesses that earned less than $1 million in 2019 and had two to eight employees on January 31, 2020. The RRMP provides loans up to $10,000 with $5,000 forgiven if 50% of employees are hired back within nine months of signing a loan agreement or six months after the applicable Stay at Home or other COVID-19 emergency orders have been lifted (relative to the  borrower’s type of business), whichever comes first. 


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