Start Your Own Business

for New Mainers

The New Mainers Resource Center has resources to help you start your own business.

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Start your own business

Starting Your Own Business

If you’re ready to go it alone and start your own business, find resources below to help guide you on your journey.

Click on a program below to learn more.

CEI StartSmart logo
New Ventures Maine logo
Maine SBDC logo
SCORE Maine logo
City of Portland seal
Finance Authority of Maine logo
CEI StartSmart logo


StartSmart is a free business development program run by Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI) that helps immigrants start or grow a business with:


  • Evaluate your business idea
  • Develop a business plan
  • Review location choices
  • Help identify sources of financing
  • Organize your bookkeeping
  • Strengthen marketing and advertising


  • Rebuild your credit
  • Apply for a business loan


  • Permits and licenses
  • Taxes
  • Insurance

Interpreters are available.

CEI’s StartSmart Program
2 Portland Fish Pier
Suite 201
Portland, ME 04101
Phone: (207) 775-1984

New Ventures Maine logo

New Ventures Maine

New Ventures Maine interactive classes and workshops are available online. Choose a Class to sign up for free online workshops and classes. We are not offering in-person classes at this time. Individual appointments are available by video conference or phone.

New Ventures Maine (NVME) can help you:

  • Research your idea — can you do it? Is it worth it? Can it bring the necessary income?
  • Get organized and put a plan together.
  • Turn your dream into reality.

Core classes include:

  • Venturing Forth: Business Planning for Entrepreneurs
  • Business Basics
  • Introduction to Self-Employment

Other resources include:

  • FDA matched savings for business expenses
  • Individual business advising
  • Introduction to Self-Employment

New Ventures Maine — South Portland
175 Main Street
South Portland, ME 04106
Phone: (207) 799-5025

Maine SBDC logo

Maine Small Business Development Center

The Maine SBDC provides free business advising to entrepreneurs and small businesses around the state. For new and existing businesses it provides advising, training and educational resources on the following topics and more:

  • Business planning and startups
  • Financial Analysis
  • Marketing and sales
  • Credit and financing
  • Operations and management

Meet with a Maine SBDC Business Advisor

Maine Small Business Development Centers
55 Exeter St.
Portland, Maine 04102
Phone: (207) 780-4420

SCORE Maine logo


The SCORE is a nonprofit organization providing educational workshops and helping small businesses get started, grow and operate effectively.

With locations around the state, SCORE Maine’s services include:

  • Education workshops on planning and financing
  • Mentoring services
  • SCORE also provides educational programs for tax preparers and agents

Click here for Free Mentoring Services.

SCORE Maine — Portland
100 Middle St., 2nd Fl.
Portland, Maine 04101
Phone: (207) 536-1143

City of Portland seal

City of Portland Housing and Economic Development Business Financing

Portland’s Business Loan and Grant Programs provide financial assistance to new and existing Portland businesses.

Information about Getting Financial Support for Your Business:
(click to expand)

Financial support for my business from Portland Housing and Economic Development


City of Portland — Housing & Economic Development
389 Congress St., Room 308
Portland, Maine 04101
Phone: (207) 874-8683

Finance Authority of Maine logo

Finance Authority of Maine

The Finance Authority of Maine provides services to help businesses get started, get capital and other resources. They have a Business Roadmap for starting a business.

PO Box 949
5 Community Drive
Augusta, ME 04330
Phone: (207) 626-3263
Email: for business-related questions