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Updated: June 13, 2022 Ask ACE

Ask ACE: Technical assistance grants are available in Maine

Q: Are there any grants available in Maine specifically geared toward funding technical assistance?

ACE Advises: Technical assistance and consulting are allowable expenses in many grants for businesses, including most of the current American Rescue Plan Act-funded project grants. There is also a recently launched technical assistance grant available through the Maine Technology Institute.

The Maine Entrepreneurial Resource Corps grant program addresses a well-recognized hurdle for start-up and scaling businesses, which need professional assistance at critical junctures, but not always when they can afford it. MERC is a vetted database of Maine consultants in over twenty disciplines.

MTI President Brian Whitney explains the process: “When MTI, or one of its partner organizations, identifies that a startup has a particular project need that has the potential to add significantly to its productivity and growth, MTI will determine eligibility and, if qualified, provide the client company with a list of two to three consultants from the database that might be a fit. The client company will then decide which consultant they want to use based on fit and cost.”

While many Maine consultants have been generous in their support of the business community, they still need to make a living. Some are reluctant to work with early-stage businesses out of fear they will not be paid.

MTI Entrepreneur in Residence Matt Hoffner says “This is a 50/50 funding match for projects up to $20,000; on a $20,000 project, the grant would pay $10,000. The business and the contracting expert will develop a straightforward agreement covering the project, the scope of services, deliverables, cost, timing, and reporting.”

The expert will wait until completion for to receive grant funds, but projects are intended to be short-term and well-defined, and the funds are guaranteed.

Information on MERC for both clients and consultants is available on the MTI website.

ACE President Terry Johnson an independent consultant with Practical Decisions. He also manages the Maine Mentor Network, a group of independent consultants and businesspeople supporting Maine Center for Entrepreneurs programs. He can be reached at

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