Processing Your Payment

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

April 21, 2021

Record number of small-business owners sought Maine SBDC support in 2020

A man, white, with a beard, holds a little girl and has his arm around a little boy in front of a wooden barn door in a bright red barn with a sign long shot revival homestead above the door Courtesy / Maine SBDC Joe Brown, of Longshot Revival Homestead, is one of a record number of clients who sought support this year from the Maine SBDC. Veterans, like Brown, made up 6.3% of Maine SBDC's client base in 2020.

The Maine Small Business Development Centers provided business advising and support to 2,956 entrepreneurs and small-business owners in 2020, nearly double the number who sought help in 2019, including a record number of women.

The SBDC, a statewide program of the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development and University of Southern Maine, offers free resources and advisors to help entrepreneurs start and develop their businesses. The SBDC annual report, released Wednesday, showed that entrepreneurs and small business owners were more focused than ever on finding the resources to make their businesses work during the pandemic.

The record number of clients who sought out SBDC services was also likely spurred by the organization's push to help small businesses weather the crisis, with webinars, loan and grant-seeking assistance and other aid that was unforeseen at the beginning of 2020.

“Our team is dedicated to supporting Maine’s courageous business owners as they continue to respond and recover from a very difficult year," Maine SBDC Director Mark Delisle said in a news release. "We want entrepreneurs and business owners to know they are not alone. We are here and we can help them navigate the next steps for their businesses."

The pandemic spurred the SBDC in October to launch the Recovery & Relaunch Resource Center, which equips small businesses with tools to navigate the pandemic, including .access to no-cost market research and financial benchmarking tools, in-depth expertise, online educational content and a website.

a map of maine showing all 16 counties with a charge showing SBDC clients advise, business starts, jobs saved and created and capital formation by county
Courtesy / Maine SBDC
Maine SBDC's annual report shows the breakdown of client interaction and the results in Maine's 16 counties.

Small Maine businesses, big numbers

Nearly a quarter of the Maine SBDC clients are home-based businesses — 23.6%, followed by retail at 18.7%. That said, the variety of businesses comprise a wide range of sectors, as highlighted by the report's client stories.

They include a web-based literacy platform for children, LiteracyTech, in Lewiston; Trailside Gardens, a nursery in Abbot; Timberwolves Restaurant, in Mars Hill; Mills Market in Andover; Maine Fly Co., in North Yarmouth; Long Shot Revival Homestead, a livestock farm in Orland; Crossfit Black Bear, an Old Town fitness company; Bravo Maine, a Portland cooking school; and candy store Bath Sweet Shoppe.

Some of the 2020 numbers in the annual report are:

  • Businesses represented access to $38.3 million in capital to sustain, start or develop;
  • 93 new business starts;
  • 514 jobs saved or created;
  • $5.52 in incremental tax revenue for every $1 invested;
  • 1,549 female clients, representing 52.4% of Maine SBDC client base;
  • 8.2% minority clients;
  • 6.3% veteran clients;
  • Helped 507 businesses access $17.9 million in pandemic relief grants and loans
  • Hosted 63 webinars, with 2,214 attendees.

Despite the challenges of the the year, capital formation exceeded that of 2019, when it was $26.7 million, and came close to 2018's $38.9 million. New business starts were 40 fewer than 2019's 133, and job numbers came close to 2019's 600.

The largest number of new business starts was in Androscoggin County, with 22, which also represented $4.8 million in capital formation and created or saved 77 jobs. But the big winner on the job front was Aroostook County, where 202 jobs were created or saved and where there were 14 business starts and $6.3 million in capital creation.

Sign up for Enews


Order a PDF