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Updated: May 13, 2024 From the Editor

From the Editor: Small business is the backbone of Maine’s economy

The U.S. Small Business Administration defines a small business as having fewer than 500 employees.

Of course, in Maine, a company with more than a couple of hundred employees is considered a major employer. (At Mainebiz, we don’t have a hard-and-fast definition, but my sense is that the vast majority of small businesses in Maine operate with fewer than 25 employees.)

The SBA’s 2022 Small Business Economic Profile for Maine indicates that small businesses — by the SBA’s definition — make up 99.2% of the businesses here. Some other facts of note:

  • By the SBA’s count, Maine has 151,212 small businesses.
  • Construction, real estate, service trades and retail are the top industries among small businesses.
  • Banks made $590.7 million in loans of $100,000 or less to companies with less than $1 million in annual revenue.
  • Small businesses exported goods worth $1.1 billion from Maine in 2020, just over half the total exports that year.
  • Women made up 48.6% of small business workers and made up 40.5% of owners.
  • Veterans made up 6.9% of small business workers and owned 9.4% of businesses.
  • Racial minorities made up 3.8% of small business workers and owned 2.6% of businesses.

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