More than 2,300 small businesses and nonprofits are receiving grants to help them get through the pandemic. The grants average about $45,000 and are provided through federal CARES Act funding.
Maine Economic and Community Development Commissioner Heather Johnson says this first round was only for smaller employers.
“Only businesses and nonprofits under 50 employees were eligible, so sole proprietors were in the mix up to businesses and organizations with 50 employees,” she says.
But in the next round, which is already in progress, larger organizations with up to 250 employees will be eligible for funding.
Johnson says the hospitality sector represents the largest proportion of recipients, with 35 percent of the awards, and 12 percent for nonprofits.
The grants are intended to cover expenses including payroll, rent or mortgage, operations, inventory and the purchase of business-related personal protective equipment.
“Obviously so many businesses and nonprofits have struggled this year as a result of the pandemic, and this is just a small step to support them in their viability as we all work through the pandemic,” Johnson says.