Last Friday, Governor Janet Mills announced a $200 million program that will provide grants to Maine businesses with less than 50 employees that have been deeply impacted by the ongoing pandemic. There is a tight window for applications, so we wanted to take this opportunity to tell you a little bit more about the grant.
Last August we shared our first Business Podcast round-up, so it felt like a good time to update the list.
First of all, a lot has changed in the world and the business landscape, and there are some great podcasts to help you make sense of the current climate. And second, we are about to re-launch our own Commercial Currents podcast, and our series “Business in Uncertain Times.”
For the past 37 years, the Island Institute has worked in, and become a part of, Maine’s island and coastal communities. Once you’ve lived in a small community for a period of time, the interconnectedness of everything and everyone begins to be revealed. If you grew up there, it’s simply in your DNA. If you move there from “away” like many of us, it takes some time to begin to understand. I’m a firm believer in the theory that those who understand it stay, and those who don’t leave.
The Maine Primary Election for several state and local offices is now on Tuesday, July 14, 2020. This election—originally scheduled for June 9, but delayed due to the COVID-19 crisis—is about choosing nominees for U.S. Senate and U.S. House seats, as well as seats in the Maine state legislature and local offices. If you don’t vote, you are leaving it up to others to make these choices for you.
As we grapple with the impacts the COVID-19 pandemic on our businesses, there can be comfort in finding that we are not alone. That what we are seeing along Maine’s coast mirrors what is happening nationally, even internationally. The Small Business Roundtable, with Facebook, recently released their first State of Small Business Report, surveying 86,000 business owners to understand what is working for them, and where they are struggling.
In Maine’s seasonal economy, many rely on what we like to think of as the three-legged stool of seasonal work: a mixture of summer, winter, and year-round employment—or small businesses that contract and expand as the season allows. A downturn in one means that we try to increase sales in another. One leg gets a little wobbly, and we strengthen the others. We never planned for all three legs to be swept out from under us. Now, resilience has taken on a whole new meaning. It’s now about adaptation for survival.
The coronavirus, the pandemic, the lock-downs, the general disruption to our lives and those of our neighbors, the severe impact on businesses (especially the small and extremely small): all of these developments are entwined and are wreaking havoc on our communities and our ability to plan for the future. Unlike other economic downturns, the economic fallout from the coronavirus was sudden and steep. Like other economic downturns, the amount of time it will last—and which is the right path out—is unknown.
Maine’s creative economy is an important driver in many coastal communities which, according to the “Waypoints: Livelihoods” publication, have an average self-employed rate of 23%. Therefore, since the shutdown in late March, we have been doing several things earnestly: listening to artists, providing resources to support the self-employed, and sharing stories. Sharing stories is a powerful means of sharing solutions and strengthening connections. This has been at the core of Archipelago’s mentoring program for the last seven years as artists have shared their inspirations, failures, solutions, business models, and networks.
If you are a small business owner in Maine you’ve probably seen all of the emails whizzing by about the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program funds being replenished. We just wanted to take this opportunity to provide you with information and links, both new and updated, to help you navigate this new funding landscape. Details of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) listed below:
For the fourth episode in our “Business in Uncertain Times” podcast series, we speak with Shannon Byers, a business advisor with the Maine Small Business Development Centers and the center director for the location at Coastal Enterprises, Inc. in Ellsworth. As a business advisor, Shannon has she been helping business owners navigate federal aid and also innovate and think creatively right now.