Processing Your Payment

Please do not leave this page until complete. This can take a few moments.

February 27, 2024

Maine small business centers helped 220 clients access $36M last year — for free

person leaning against big device in warehouse Courtesy / Maine Small Business Development Centers Maine Small Business Development Centers helped 2,289 entrepreneurs and small businesses in 2023, including Chelsie Crane, founder of Crosswind Investments, a financial advisory service in Bangor.

Across the state last year, advisors with the Maine Small Business Development Centers helped 2,289 entrepreneurs and small businesses — almost 50% more than in pre-pandemic years, the group said in its annual report released Monday.

The report highlights the achievements of Maine SBDC’s efforts to support businesses through no-cost advising, training and resources. 

The SBDCs, a program of the U.S. Small Business Administration, helped 220 of their clients access nearly $36.4 million in capital in 2023. On average, clients obtained roughly $165,000 each in loans, grants and private and equity investments.

Almost 60% of the 220 clients belong to groups that have historically faced significant barriers when accessing capital for their businesses, including non-white, Hispanic, disabled, veteran and women populations. 

Capital formation has fluctuated over the past five years, from a low of $26.8 million in 2019 to a peak of $48.8 million in 2021.

Advisors logged 8,600 hours helping clients start 145 new businesses — higher than in any of the last 10 years. 

Those efforts saved and created 542 jobs. Not counting 2020, the 542 jobs for 2023 was the lowest number created and saved since 2019, with the peak being 917 in 2021, even though nine fewer new businesses were created that year.

An independent study of return on investment, by James Chrisman at Mississippi State University, showed that for every dollar invested in Maine SBDCs, $3.29 was returned in incremental tax revenue.

Over the last five years, the centers assisted over 60 businesses in transitioning to new ownership, including employee ownership. In addition, guidance on the process of buying and selling a business was provided to over 800 entrepreneurs.

2023 client demographics

  • 53% women entrepreneurs
  • 34% entrepreneurs age 35 or younger
  • 29% rural entrepreneurs
  • 14% non-white and Hispanic entrepreneurs
  • 10% entrepreneurs with low-to-moderate income
  • 8% entrepreneurs with disabilities
  • 7% veteran and military-connected entrepreneurs

To read the full report, click here.

Sign up for Enews

Related Content


Order a PDF