The Maine Department of Economic and Community Development, through its Business Answers program, connects new and existing businesses with the various state departments and agencies responsible for specific licenses, permits, rules and regulations. While Business Answers does not advise on legal or financial matters.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is the federal agency that aims to help small businesses succeed. It offers courses, workshops, publications, information and other programs designed to help start or expand your business. Maine District Office of the SBA can provide you more guidance in access to capital, counseling and government contracting.
The IRS’s Small Business and Self-Employed Tax Center provides tax compliance guidance.
The Maine Small Business Development Centers (Maine SBDC) should be a first stop on your journey to self-employment. This partnership program with the State of Maine, the SBA and the University of Southern Maine provides one-on-one counseling to existing and startup entrepreneurs on such topics as cash flow and marketing. They also offer an interactive on-line business start-up course.
SCORE is a network of entrepreneurs, business lenders and executives, who volunteer as mentors to the small business community providing assistance to help entrepreneurs start businesses, grow companies and create jobs in local communities. It offer workshops and mentor programs. SCORE Maine offers some local resources; SCORE Bangor, Augusta, Auburn, Ellsworth, Portland, and Oxford Hills offer local workshops and mentoring services.
The Women’s Business Development Center provides business training, coaching and mentoring and other assistance geared toward women.
National Federation of Independent Business represents 325,000 small businesses in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., and is dedicated to leveling the playing field with Big Business, Big Government, and Big Labor in every key area – taxes, healthcare, regulations, and more.
The Maine Small Business Advocate serves as an independent voice for Maine small businesses within the state’s regulatory system. The Advocate works directly with small businesses of 50 employees or fewer that have specific grievances with one or more regulatory agency’s enforcement actions. The Advocate’s top priority is to represent small businesses that face the challenging task of understanding and complying with Maine’s extensive and often complex regulatory requirements.
Maine Business Mentor Resources
SCORE Mentors, sponsored by SBA, provides free and confidential counseling, mentoring and advice to small business owners nationwide via a network of business executives, leaders and volunteers. You can also find mentors by zip code or through local chapters in Bangor, Augusta, Auburn, Ellsworth, Portland, and Oxford Hills.
Maine Small Business Development Centers (Maine SBDC) provide free business advising to Maine’s entrepreneurs and small businesses. Certified business advisors help businesses at all stages to provide individualized business development assistance to both new and existing businesses. Find an advisor near you.
Business Consultants from MaineStream Finance offer free one-on-one consultation to help create a business plan for a new business. They provide technical assistance for better marketing, financial questions, loan preparation, and many other business issues.
Small Business Development Center at Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI) offers free one-on-one assistance in business start-up/acquisition, sources of credit and financing, marketing and sales, government procurement, accounting, record keeping and cash flow analysis, operation, international trade and various other business issues.
The Maine Mentor Network from Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development is a group of vetted industry experts who volunteer their time and talent to accelerate the success rate of Maine companies. The network provides expert assistance and mentorship statewide for scalable entrepreneurs from a variety of backgrounds and programs, including Top Gun, MoneyTrack, and other partner programs.
Innovation Engineering Coaching Program of the University of Maine, in partnership with Doug Hall’s Eureka! Ranch, has developed an intensive Innovation Engineering coaching program to help an individual company (or a small group of related industry partners) generate and commercialize innovative ideas.
For Government Contractors
The GSA’s Mentor Protégé Program mentors companies voluntarily and assists protégé firms in growing their business and competing for federal government contracts and subcontracts.
Women’s Business Center at CEI offers experienced business specialists who can help at any stage of the business, from start-up to expansion. It offers these services through two separately grant funded programs: the Women’s Business Center at CEI Southern Maine and Rural Maine.
Women Standing Together (WST)
Women entrepreneurs can connect with a community who will support them in the growth of their business. Quarterly round table sessions provide feedback & referrals on the entrepreneur's challenge.
For Entrepreneurs 50+
SBA ECORE Mentoring hosts various events (workshops, conferences, seminars, etc.) to help entrepreneurs 50+ start or grow a business.
For Refugees and Immigrants
StartSmart program with CEI is a free business development program that helps immigrants starting or growing a business.
Minority Business Development Agency consults with minority business owners and help them gain access to capital, write contracts, and conduct market research.
Veteran’s Business Outreach Centers provide veterans with entrepreneurial development services such as business training, counseling and mentoring through 15 SBA participating organizations.