New Ventures Maine (NVME) has been awarded $85,000 in grant funds from national and regional organizations focused on supporting new and established small businesses in Maine and New England. The objectives of these grants are to strengthen Maine small businesses and increase the financial security of business owners.

The Betterment Fund provides two years of focused support to establish a Building Resilience with Rural Entrepreneurs project in western, northern and downeast Maine. This project will assist rural entrepreneurs in the start-up, rebuilding or growth stage.

NVME will work with entrepreneurs and partners to explore digital access for businesses, support economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, provide guidance in the form of resources, group work sessions and small business planning classes.

The Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO) and GoDaddy provided a second year of funding to support small businesses in New England to thrive online. This grant funding provides an opportunity for underserved entrepreneurs to learn about, assess and create an online presence. Grow your Business Online will be offered beginning in January.

As part of the program, entrepreneurs receive free products including a domain name, hosting, web builder, branded email, email marketing and SEO for two years. Coaching sessions with GoDaddy experts and working/lab sessions are available to entrepreneurs as they develop or refresh their web based marketing.

Maine Community Foundation’s Downeast Innovation Fund awarded NVME’s North Central/Downeast Region funding to strengthen collaborative partnerships within the Downeast Entrepreneurial Ecosystem, Four Directions Development Corporation and Eastern Maine CA$H Coalition.

This grant supports marketing and delivery of online training, small group networking sessions and individual advising/coaching. Existing businesses, aspiring entrepreneurs or unemployed persons seeking a new path in self-employment will benefit. Funds will be used to help spread word about marketing mini-grants and matched savings programs including Wabanaki Savings Accounts, Rainy Day Savings and Family Development Accounts.

AARP Foundation awarded NVME funding for the fourth year to support low-income older adults as they explore self-employment and develop businesses. NVME will use this funding to market and deliver online training and individual coaching. WFY@50+: Taking the Next Step builds upon the exploration of self-employment and provides individualized assessment, coaching, and business training to older entrepreneurs ready to implement their business ideas.

NVME provides ongoing support, referrals and resources for “encore entrepreneurs” as they move forward to create successful and sustainable businesses.

New Ventures Maine is a statewide, community economic development program of the University of Maine at Augusta/University of Maine System. NVME creates an empowering environment for Maine people to define and achieve their career, financial and small business goals. Through tuition-free classes and individual coaching, they help people find good jobs, start or return to college, launch small businesses, manage their money and build their assets. All interactive classes and workshops are available online. Individual appointments are available by video conference or phone.

For more information on business programs and services offered by NVME, visit New Ventures Maine- Small Business.