Business Education Financing Programs Provider Profiles


A Maine Model for Coordinating Small Business Assistance

Maine has a myriad of service providers and resources to assist existing and prospective small business owner/operators develop and grow their businesses. BusinessFirst is a model collaboration program to enable those providers and resources on a regional level to be of better service to the small business community whom they serve.

Premise: Cooperation and collaboration, guided by democratic principles within a coordinated partnership can produce better service for Maine’s Small Businesses, thereby strengthening them and encouraging economic growth, while preserving the primary missions of the partners/members.

Statement of Purpose: Under the general direction of Maine’s Small Business and Entrepreneurship Commission, the State’s Entrepreneurship Working Group has been chartered by the Commission to set overall direction, coordinated funding and standards for regional small business assistance partnerships around the state, entitled BusinessFirst. Each regional partnership, through cooperative and collaborative effort, enhance the delivery of small business assistance thereby increasing entrepreneurial activity and strengthening entrepreneurship through better service to Maine’s small businesses to foster a stronger Maine economy.


  • A. Foster communication and coordination amongst small business service providers.
  • B. Promote efficient use of resources to the benefit of small business.
  • C. Develop regional small business assistance strategies.
  • D. Strengthen local government, community and private industry support of small business.

Typical Regional Partnership Membership: SBA, Maine Small Business Development Centers, SCORE, Economic Development Districts, Chambers of Commerce, Adult Ed, Community Development Corporations, Colleges and Universities, UMaine Cooperative Extension, Women, Work and Community, Career Centers, Maine MEP, Maine International Trade Center, Maine’s Women’s Business Center, Maine Procurement Technical Assistance Center, CAP Agencies, Merchants Associations, RC&Ds, Town Economic Development Offices and other partners as deemed appropriate by the regional BusinessFirst partnership.

Partnerships currently underway:

  • BusinessFirst BBD serving the greater Brunswick, Bath, Damariscotta region.
  • BusinessFirst LA serving the greater Lewiston, Auburn region.