The Island Institute’s Small Business Team supports fishermen, artists, makers, small businesses, and entrepreneurs in Maine’s coastal and island communities through business and financial planning services, professional development opportunities, as well as industry and marketing connections.

In addition, our business resilience grants and catalyst loans for small businesses, offered through the Tom Glenn Community Impact Fund, can provide outside professional training at no cost to the small business owner as well as capital at crucial times in a business’s life.

The Small Business Team can help you navigate the complexities of starting and growing a business through one-on-one meetings and support through our Launchpad program and mentoring for artists through Archipelago, the Institute’s store and gallery. We also work closely with local, state, federal, and private business counseling resources to ensure that entrepreneurs have access to an extensive network of industry experts, advisors, and mentors.

Looking for resources to help your small business through the pandemic? Visit our Small Business Resource Page for a detailed list of resources and information, including filing for unemployment, relief loans, guidelines for nonprofits, additional assistance for artists, and more,


Business Resilience Grants

Communities, businesses, and families are facing a host of uncertainties. In our work with small businesses, we see a particular need for helping businesses pivot product lines or sales models to help them adapt and place them on surer footing—in the wake of COVID-19 and after. Through the Tom Glenn Community Impact Fund, we are offering grants of up to $1,500 to support island and coastal small businesses, artists and makers, and working waterfront businesses during this time.

Learn more and apply here

Commercial Currents Podcast

The Commercial Currents Podcast shares stories and solutions from small business owners and entrepreneurs on Maine’s islands and coast. In the wake of COVID-19, small businesses everywhere are struggling to make sense of the rapidly changing economy. Listen as we highlight some of the challenges they’re facing, discover what’s working well, and find the bright spots and opportunities that exist for small businesses today.


Commercial Currents Newsletter

Commercial Currents is a monthly email and blog newsletter that shares stories from Maine’s island and coastal communities about economic stability and resilience. Written and compiled by our Small Business team, these articles include valuable information on everything from business inspiration and time management to taxes, seasonality, and the everyday challenges that a small business owner faces. To learn more and read through archived editions, visit our blog.

Subscribe here


The Island Institute connects fishermen, artists, makers, small businesses, and entrepreneurs to resources that can help improve income stability, business efficiency, and economic productivity, and allow businesses to expand and reach new markets. To inquire about any of our services, please contact Craig Olson or other staff contacts as listed below:

  • Archipelago retail store for artists and makers & the annual Artists & Makers Conference (ContactLisa Mossel Vietze, Archipelago Director)
  • Upcoming small business workshops, grant and loan support through the Tom Glenn Community Impact Fund, and Commercial Currents articles (ContactCraig Olson, Senior Community Development Officer – Business)


Funding partners for our small business support include: John T. Gorman Foundation, NorthLight Foundation, Jane’s Trust Foundation, Manton Foundation, and Elmina B. Sewall Foundation.