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Investment + Incentives

There is broad agreement between the City of Portland, the State of Maine, and many other organizations that the creative economy is one of the keys to economic growth in the 21st century. Former Governor John Baldacci has said, “The creative economy is a catalyst for the creation of new jobs in Maine communities. People who create jobs want to live in places that have a diverse cultural mix and an innovative and educated workforce. Maine will be competitive economically if we continue to capitalize on the synergies between entrepreneurship, education, the arts, and quality of life.” Many government tax incentive and grant programs are available to start up and grow small and midsize businesses in Portland. In addition, there are private programs that are looking to fund and provide resources to these businesses.

Investment + Incentives

The City of Portland’s Economic Development Department has Creative Economy and Micro Business Loan Programs. Contact Business Programs Manager Nelle Hanig at (207) 756-8019 to find out more.

Maine & Company is a private, non-profit corporation that provides free and confidential services to companies moving to or growing in Maine. Resources include real estate site searches, data collection and analysis, incentives identification and valuation, site visit coordination, and financing coordination through their Maine Investment Exchange (MIX).

Maine Angels is a group of private investors interested in investing in and mentoring promising early-stage companies in Maine. The group generally meets on the fourth Friday of each month to review investment opportunities. Here's how to apply for Maine Angels financing.

The Portland Region Chamber of Commerce has a useful guide to many local and regional resources available to help businesses move to or grow in Portland. The Chamber also provides support and information about health insurance for small businesses and sole proprietors. If you are thinking of starting a business in Portland, there is a variety of federal, state, and municipal governmental resources that can assist you. The City of Portland has a Guide to Doing Business that includes a Start-Up Checklist with useful links and contact information. 

The State of Maine offers startup funding through the Finance Authority of Maine (FAME), the Maine Venture FundCEI Community Ventures, and Maine Technology Institute Seed Grants.

The State of Maine has many economic development resources available to businesses. Maine has recently expanded its Pine Tree Development Zone program to include businesses in Portland in a wide variety of sectors. Contact Portland area representative Brian Doyle at the Maine Department of Economic & Community Development at (207) 624-9807, (207) 441-6902, or to find out about tax incentives, reduced utility rates, help finding office space, and more. There are also dedicated venture capital funds and other funding sources that specifically invest in growing businesses in Maine and the Northeast.

All municipalities in Maine, including the City of Portland, can elect to offer businesses Tax Increment Financing incentives that help provide financing for infrastructure investments that will lead to increased tax valuations and related economic development benefits.

The State of Maine also has a variety of Tax Reimbursement Programs including Business Equipment Tax Reimbursement, Employment Tax Increment Financing, Pine Tree Development Zones, and Technology Tax Credits. As a further incentive to encourage small business startups, FAME offers the Maine Seed Capital Tax Credit Program.

There are a number of VC funds that specifically invest in the Northeast including: Borealis VenturesBrook Venture PartnersCEI VenturesMasthead Venture PartnersNorth Atlantic Capital, and Spinnaker Trust.