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Funding approved for Portland emergency business assistance programs

The Portland City Council approved final funding for three emergency grant and loan programs to help small businesses through COVID-19.

PORTLAND, Maine — The City of Portland made several strides in helping businesses amid the coronavirus pandemic at the City Council meeting Monday night. In addition to getting final approval for street closures that will allow an open-air market of sorts, the City Council also approved final funding for three emergency business assistance programs.

The programs include the Business Assistance Program for Job Creation (BAP-Rehire), the Microenterprise Grant Program, and the Rapid Response Microloan Program (RRMP).

On Monday, the City Council approved $305,000 for the Microenterprise Grant and the BAP-Rehire Programs. Nonprofits are eligible only for the RRMP.

Here is a breakdown of 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. The RRMP will be funded with $400,000 from the PDC’s unrestricted loan funds.
Credit: City of Portland

In order to be eligible to apply for any of the programs, the business must be located in Portland. Applications are due no later than June 4 at 4 p.m. 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.

Businesses are encouraged to submit fully completed applications as many are expected to apply, making the process quite competitive.

Click here to apply.

A webinar is scheduled for this Thursday, May 21 at 3 p.m. to help small businesses understand more about the 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 here.

Credit: City of Portland

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

RELATED: Portland City Council approves street closures for Old Port open-air market, provides reopening timeline amid COVID-19

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At NEWS CENTER Maine, we’re focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the illness. To see our full coverage, visit our coronavirus section, here: /coronavirus

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