Update 01/20/21: The deadline to apply to the Grant Program has been extended through the expiration of the Governor's State of Emergency Order. Program funding remains available. 


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COVID-19 Hardship Small Business

Grant Guidelines


Revised February 2021



The City of South Portland’s Small Business Hardship Grant Program is designed to provide limited one time financial assistance to qualifying South Portland businesses adversely impacted by the COVID-19  pandemic, regardless whether they have remained open, have furloughed some or all of their  employees, have closed temporarily, or are in the process of re-opening. This program is not intended  to be a substitute for the Small Business Administration (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP),  Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, or the Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) COVID-19  Business Direct Loan Program. This program provides direct grants of up to two thousand dollars  ($2,000.00) to each eligible business as funds are available. 


The City of South Portland, through its City Manager and his/her staff, will:  

1.) Be responsible for overall administration of this grant program; 

2.) Implement a fair application process and answer questions from potential applicants;  3.) Determine the amount and terms/conditions of each grant; 

4.) Ensure that administration is in accordance with this Management Plan; and 

5.) Provide a quarterly report to City Council on the utilization of the grant program and the balance of  funds available, until such time that the grant program expires. 

The City Council may adopt amendments to the Management Plan, based on recommendations of the  City Manager and staff. The Finance Director of the City will be solely responsible for writing any checks  from the grant program. 


Businesses eligible for Hardship Grant funding must meet all of the following criteria: 1.) Must be a for-profit business with principal place of business located in the City of South Portland.

2.) Must have been open and operating before March 15th, 2020. 

3.) Must have employed between three and one hundred employees, in addition to the owner, as of  March 15, 2020. 

4.) Must be currently open and operating and employing at least one employee, in addition to the  owner, and must have rehired (or plan to rehire) one or more additional employees within the next six  months. 

5.) Must have received less than $10,000 in financial assistance from COVID-19 Federal or State loan and  grant programs, OR applied and was denied, OR applied and have not received a response, OR did not  utilize or was otherwise unable to access those programs. 

6.) Must be current on all municipal licensing, real estate and personal property tax obligations to the  City of South Portland. 

Use of Funds 

Businesses may use grant funding for the following qualified uses: 

Rent/Mortgage Assistance: costs associated with maintaining a business’s physical presence in  the City of South Portland. 

Operating support: ongoing costs such utilities, maintenance, supplies, etc. New Business Operations: activities that are new or have been established to maintain/expand  operations during the COVID-19 crisis. 

Business License and / or Personal Property Taxes: expenses due to the City of SouthPortland Capital Expenses: purchases of property, equipment, or building materials that will allow a  business to be operational during the COVID-19 crisis. 

Personnel Expenses: staff wages, salaries, insurance, and payroll taxes. 

Businesses must not use grants for any of the following: 

Expenses already incurred. 

Expenses not associated with business operations. 

Political contributions and campaign donations. 

Lobbying in the form of calls to action on a specific vote. 

Religious activities: including, but not limited to, religious services, promotion of religious  beliefs, or activities that are restricted to church or religious group membership. Transferring funds to another business or person ineligible for the grant. 

Application process: 

Prospective grantees will apply for the hardship grant by completing an application form provided by the  City. The City of South Portland will utilize the following grant application review process:

An Application Review Team (consisting of the Economic Development Director or his/her designee, the  Finance Director or his/her designee, and Assistant City Manager or his/her designee) shall review  applications received and determine eligibility. Applications may be reviewed and prepared in advance  by the Department of Economic Development with a recommendation to the team. 

The review process shall be based on materials submitted by the Applicant (below):  1.) Name & address of business (applicant) 

2.) Name & address of the person completing the application and relationship to the business  3.) Description of the business, typical number of employees, etc. 

4.) Years business has operated in South Portland and status as of March 15, 2020  5.) Description of the hardship and impact COVID-19 has had on the business 

6.) Financial statements of principals of the business 

7.) Amount of grant funds requested and the intended use/purpose of the grant funds 8.) Number and wage scale of employees currently employed, and to be hired or rehired and when  9.) Details on other COVID-19 financing loans and grants the business has pursued 10.)Any additional data that may be requested by the City’s Application Review Team 

Business deemed ineligible, or those that wish to appeal any decision of the Review Team, may appeal in  writing to the City Manager who will review the information independently and make a decision. Further  appeals may be made to the South Portland City Council. 

Program Funding 

The South Portland City Council may appropriate funds to this grant program, from time to time, in its  sole judgement. The primary source funding for this program is the Fairchild Semiconductor  Development District TIF Special Revenue Fund. The City will not process applications and issue payment  unless funds are available and have been appropriated for this purpose of this grant program. The City  will endeavor to provide the grant amount requested, but in the event requests exceed available  funding, the City may allocate and disburse a partial payment with the remaining balance to be paid as  additional funds become available. The maximum grant award per business is $2,000. 

Term of the Program 

This grant program shall expire concurrently with the expiration of the State of Civil Emergency  declared by the Governor of Maine in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, unless otherwise extended  by the South Portland City Council. In the event there are unused funds remaining upon expiration of  this program, those funds shall be returned to the TIF Special Revenue Fund from which they were  originally sourced.


What we will not fund, without exception

  • Expenses already incurred.
  • Expenses not associated with business operations.
  • Political campaigns.
  • Lobbying in the form of calls to action on a specific vote.
  • Religious activities: including, but not limited to, religious services, promotion of religious beliefs, or activities that are restricted to church or religious group membership.
  • Regranting to a secondary grantee through a competitive process.
  • Grant Cycle Application intake: City staff administrating the program cross-checks the legal name and address of each applicant and checks for required signatures and form.
  • Eligibility prescreening: City Staff reviews each application to determine if it meets the required grant program criteria.

Application Review Committee Review: A committee comprised of City’s Assistant City Manager, Finance Director, and Economic Development Director will review all Applications. The committee will discuss proposals and make final award decisions as a committee. The City will endeavor to provide the amount requested, as funding permits.

Application Confidentiality

  • Applications will remain confidential and will not be released to parties outside the City.


  • All applicants will receive a letter electronically notifying them if their request has been funded or declined once reviewed.


More Information

  • For more information, contact William J. Mann Economic Development Director at the City of South Portland at wmann@southportland.org .

Ready to apply?



Grant maximum shall not exceed prior year net income – this provision does not apply to new businesses less than one year old as of March 15, 2020.

The City reserves the right to modify these terms at its sole discursion at any time without prior notice. 

 Grant program materials are available in the following languages: