Business owners that sought assistance from the Maine Small Business Development Centers raised $47.1 million in capital during 2016, more than any other year in the program’s 40-year history, according to the Maine SBDC’s recently released annual report.
Last year, the Maine SBDC’s 14 certified business advisors met with and assisted 1,583 clients. A survey of those clients revealed that they had secured $47.1 million, which includes owner investment, lender financing, and other capital raised. The Maine SBDC clients also reported 102 new business starts and helping clients create or save 1,006 jobs during the year.
The Maine SBDC has 22 locations throughout the state. The clients it served in 2016 were nearly evenly split between entrepreneurs starting new businesses (47%) and existing business owners (53%). The industries within which the clients operate was also well diversified among retail businesses (19.8%), home-based businesses (12.3%), manufacturing (10.2%), food services and accommodation (9%), and agriculture, forestry and fishing (7.3%).
Of the $47.1 million in capital secured, businesses in Penobscot County captured the largest portion, raising $16.4 million, followed by Cumberland County-based businesses with $12 million. However, the Maine SBDC had many fewer clients in Penobscot County (186) than it did in Cumberland County (429). Crunching the numbers shows that Penobscot County business owners on average were able to secure roughly $88,000 compared to Cumberland County business owners, who raised on average $28,200. The county with the third largest amount of capital raised was Aroostook County with $5.5 million.
Unfortunately, the Maine SBDC reports that while 14 clients were assisted in Washington County and 17 in Sagadahoc County, there were zero new business starts in those counties, no new jobs created, and no capital raised.
The Maine SBDC’s 2016 budget was $1.9 million, the majority of which came from the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development ($780,830) and the U.S. Small Business Administration ($675,000).
An independent economic impact study outsourced to a professor at Mississippi State University found that for every dollar invested in the Maine SBDC, $2.82 was returned to the state in the form of tax revenue.