April 2020 Edition
Sponsored by People's United Bank
Maine Startups Hack COVID-19
On March 20, 65 Maine-based developers, analysts, public health professionals, and government officials brainstormed six products to combat the spread of COVID-19 as part of MyHealthMath's "Flatten the Curve" hackathon.

By April 3, one of the six products will be launched. To stay updated or become a part of the sprint, click here .
Free Remote Work Software from Maine Startup
Friday, a Portland-based startup building software to streamline employee communications and updates, is offering its software for free to Maine-based businesses with fewer than 50 employees.

Employers tackling the challenges of remote work can learn more and sign up for the free software here .
Central Maine Tech Night (CMTN) Goes Virtual
Following the social distancing recommendations of the Maine CDC and Governor Mills' administration, CMGC is changing the format of Tech Night to a virtual Zoom platform. Links to the Zoom presentations will be available on the Tech Night web page .

In the meantime, we have uploaded broadcasts of previous Central Maine Tech Nights - visit the Tech Night web page to browse. A selection of our most recent Tech Talks follows:
Maine startup skincare brand Marin is bringing to market the research discoveries of Lobster Unlimited (UMaine). Watch for: tips on how to commercialize innovations and for great before-and-after stories of consumers with eczema.

Current Greenlight Maine competitor Back40 built an online gear rental site to help Mainers and tourists easily access our state's natural beauty. Watch for: tips on finding the best distribution channel for your target audience.

When the product you need doesn't exist, developing the solution involves much more than learning code - it's all about customer discovery and market research. Watch for: tips on making an app into a business and for exploring an easier way to find recipes that fit your dietary restrictions.
April CMTN: Business Relief During COVID-19
With new legislation, stimulus packages, and changes to programs and policies from a range of economic development and financial agencies, it can be difficult for the small business owner affected by COVID-19 to understand what types of business relief are available.

In this live Zoom workshop, Maine SBA District Director Amy Bassett will provide an analysis of which programs offer benefits that fit your needs and share actionable advice on how to apply. Click here for details.
Small Business K now-How
The Rise of the Gig Economy and the Remote Worker
The same technologies that ushered in the gig economy have paved the way for the remote worker, who is an actual employee working from home. Upsides to hiring remote workers include:
  • Solutions such as live chat, video calls, internet meetings and cloud-based intranet systems allow businesses to work with gig workers or remote workers seamlessly and productively in a digital workspace.
  • By accepting remote workers, a small business can significantly expand its pool of qualified job seekers without having to ask them to relocate.
  • Studies have shown that companies that hire remote workers report higher retention rates due to increased employee satisfaction with their jobs.
Click here to discover how your business can take advantage of remote work.
Business Investment
Financial assistance to combat COVID-19 effects on business
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (passed March 18, 2020), the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act ( CARES Act , passed March 27, 2020), new SBA finance products , and IRS tax policy c hanges offer much-needed relief to small and medium-sized businesses.

Working Capital Loans
Thanks to the efficient and thorough response by Governor Mills' administration, Maine businesses and private non-profits are eligible for the Small Business Administration's Economic Injury Disaster Loans program . CMGC is ready to help prepare your application for the loan, whose features include:
  • Up to $2M maximum
  • 30-year term
  • 3.75 rate (business) or 2.75 rate (non-profit)
  • May be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other bills
  • NEW: the CARES Act adds a grant of up to $10,000 as an advance on your Economic Injury loan application
  • NEW: for non-disaster SBA loans, payments will be covered for 6 months through the Small Business Debt Relief Program of the CARES Act.

Forgivable Loans
Through the Paycheck Protection Program of the CARES Act, employers who apply for an SBA 7(a) loan to maintain payroll are eligible for loan forgiveness for an amount up to 8 weeks of payroll expenses.
  • Up to $10M maximum
  • 10-year term
  • 4% interest (on non-forgivable amount)
  • No loan fees
  • Excludes compensation in excess of $100k
  • Retroactive to February 15, 2020 to facilitate re-hire of laid-off employees

Tax Payment Extension
The IRS has issued an extension of up to $10M in federal corporate income tax payment, or up to $1M in federal individual and/or non-corporate income tax payment, may be delayed until July 15. However, taxes must still be filed by April 15. For this and additional finance-related resources for your COVID-19 response, visit Wipfli's online resource center .

The State of Maine has followed suit with an extension of the state income tax payment deadline until July 15, 2020. Taxes must still be filed by April 15.

Paid Sick/Family Medical Leave Tax Credits
Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (passed March 18, 2020), companies with fewer than 500 employees will be refunded a certain amount of the wages paid to eligible employees on sick or family medical leave over a 2-week period. Eligible reasons for leave include:
  • Experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or caring for someone who is
  • Advised by healthcare practitioner to self-quarantine or caring for a quarantined individual
  • Subject to a local, state, or federal quarantine or isolation order
  • Caring for children because their school or childcare has closed due to COVID-19 precautions
The refund will be in the form of tax credits applied against the employer's FICA and Medicare tax liability. The maximum refund is $5,110 per eligible employee. Self-employed taxpayers may be eligible for a tax credit of up to $200/day. Note: this synopsis summarizes excerpts from this Wipfli article .

Employee Retention Tax Credit
Businesses with under 100 employees, businesses which had to fully or partially shut down operations, or businesses whose gross receipts declined by more than 50% compared to last year, are eligible for a maximum tax credit of 50% of up to $10,000 in eligible wages.

Please note that these resources and synopses reflect the most updated information at time of publication, and the accuracy of the information may change. CMGC recommends that you enlist the advise of financial and legal advisors when analyzing this information.
Don't Miss: Business Relief During COVID-19 Zoom Workshop
With new legislation, stimulus packages, and changes to programs and policies from a range of economic development and financial agencies, it can be difficult for the small business owner affected by COVID-19 to understand what types of business relief are available.

In this live Zoom workshop, Maine SBA District Director Amy Bassett will provide an analysis of which programs offer benefits that fit your needs and share actionable advice on how to apply. Click here for details.
Welcome Maine Crisp Co. as a new CMGC investor
Headquartered in Waterville, Maine Crisp Co. pairs Maine-grown buckwheat with organic seeds, berries, and nuts to make handcrafted, gluten-free, specialty crackers. The family-owned company's culinary innovation has won accolades from top chefs, and their crisps are available online and in many specialty food shops throughout the Northeast.
Top Stories of March 2020
Waterville Youth Center, Fairfield Area School District Launch Meal Programs for Children, Families - over 1,000 meals per day are prepared and served by the Alfond Youth & Community Center and MSAD 49 to feed children and families. Volunteers and donations are welcome.

Oakland Launches Meal Program, Local Grocer Work to Feed Elderly, Homebound During Pandemic - operated through the Town of Oakland's Parks & Recreation department, the program partners with Buddies Groceries to fulfill and deliver grocery orders for the elderly and homebound.

Waterville Emergency Operations Center in Full Swing - the operations center is led by incident commander and Police Chief Joe Massey, and includes the city's fire, police, finance, and IT departments. Following the model of FEMA's National Incident Management system, the group manages logistics, planning, and resource allocation in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Contact : Don Plourde
207-660-4000 dplourde@cbplourde.com
Central Maine Real Estate Spotlight
Featured Commercial Property Location :
Building Size: 112,200 sq.ft.
Land Size: 10.6 acres
Sale Price: $2,600,000
Property Features:
  • 20 ft. ceilings
  • 4 drive-in bays
  • Large warehouse or manufacturing facility with tenant in place
  • Expansive paved parking
  • Municipal water, sewer
  • Adjacent to U.S. Route 201
Workforce Investment
Employer Resources for COVID-19
Unemployment Insurance (UI)
Governor Mills' emergency legislation extends UI eligibility requirements to cover additional situations, including the temporary closure of all or parts of a business's operations, or the quarantining of an employee who intends to return to work once the quarantine is over. In addition, employees who are temporarily laid off (or "furloughed with intent to re-hire") will not be expected to look for other work, and the one-week wait period will be waived. Please note that the fundamental qualifications for eligibility have not changed; visit Maine Dept. Labor's Bureau of Unemployment Compensation website and their UI FAQs for details.

Expansion of Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, employees who are caregivers of children under the age of 18 are granted 12 weeks of FMLA if they have to remain at home to care for children whose school or childcare has closed due to COVID-19 precautions. While only weeks 3-12 are paid (maximum $200 per day, or $10,000 in aggregate), these employees may be eligible for emergency paid family medical leave, which provides for two weeks of paid leave. Even employees of companies with fewer than 50 employees are eligible for this benefit, although companies of this size may be exempt if paying for this benefit would endanger a company's ability to be a going concern.

Please note that these resources and synopses reflect the most updated information at time of publication, and the accuracy of the information may change. CMGC recommends that you enlist the advise of financial and legal advisors when analyzing this information.
Workforce training has not stopped at Kennebec Valley Community College. In response to COVID-19, Maine Governor Janet Mills has signed Executive Order 25 FY19/20 to expedite online training for critical jobs using  Maine Quality Center  (MQC ) grant funds.

The MQC program offers workforce training grants to Maine employers interested in providing training for new or current employees to strengthen or grow an employer's workforce . Governor Mills' Executive Order has lifted restrictions on residency requirements, enrollment eligibility, employer matches, and hourly wage requirements after training completion. 

If you're an employer with training needs that can be delivered online or might be adapted to online delivery through simulation or other technologies, please call Elizabeth Fortin, Dean of Workforce Development to discuss. KVCC is eager to ensure that the businesses of mid-Maine are best positioned to jump start our local economy as soon as possible.
Quality of Place
Sponsored by MaineGeneral Health
8 ways consumers can support local businesses while practicing social distancing
Following the recommendations of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Maine CDC, and Governor Mills’ administration, many Mainers are practicing social distancing to reduce their exposure to, and the spread of, the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). As social distancing changes our consumption habits and alters our normal routines, businesses are also adapting. Here are eight ways you can support your local businesses while practicing social distancing:

  1. Buy gift certificates. This helps shops and restaurants with cash flow during lean times, and you’ll have a treat to look forward to after the need for social distancing subsides.
  2. Order to-go. Many restaurants that do not advertise take-out and delivery are happy to package your order to-go for your pick-up. Even as municipalities order the closure of restaurants and bars, these establishments may still – but are not guaranteed to – offer take-out and delivery, with only the dine-in option unavailable. Check your local restaurants’ and municipality’s policies.
  3. Shop remotely. Enlist the help of local shop owners to find the perfect gift. You can pay over the phone or online, and either pick up the item(s) or have them shipped.
  4. Join local subscription clubs. Many local specialty grocers, salons, independent bookstores, and other small businesses offer “of the month” clubs and subscription boxes. This is a great opportunity to try new products and receive a surprise in the mail, which is especially welcome while staying at home.
  5. “Window shop” on social media. Local businesses are increasing the inventory they are showcasing on Facebook and Instagram – check out your local shops’ social media accounts to window shop online.
  6. Donate to your favorite non-profits. If social distancing has generated extra savings, consider donating to your favorite non-profits. Many non-profits have had to cancel fundraising events or close, which eliminates attendance fee revenues.
  7. Stock up on local produce. While grocery shopping, look for produce, breads, vitamins, soaps, and other goods from local farmers. You can try freezing or canning to extend the life of perishable produce.
  8. Remember that local establishments prioritize your health and safety. Check their websites and social media accounts to review the extra precautions local businesses are taking to keep consumers safe.
MaineGeneral's COVID-19 Update
We know many of our patients have questions about the coronavirus.

MaineGeneral has been monitoring the situation and makes decisions based on best ways to protect our patients, staff, visitors and community .

Click here for up-to-date information we hope you will find helpful, and here for a video from Dr. Diaz.
Stay connected with CMGC:
If you are an investor in CMGC and would like to submit content to CMGC Intelligence , simply reply to this e-mail to speak with Elaine Theriault-Currier.
Board of Directors:

Chris Gaunce, chair – Central Maine Motors Auto Group
Michael Heavener, vice chair – Town of Winslow
Beth Gibbs, treasurer – Thomas College
Lucille Zelenkewich, secretary – Bar Harbor Bank & Trust
John Dalton, past chair – Northern Light Health: Inland Hospital
Elizabeth Fortin – Kennebec Valley Community College
Paul Stein – MaineGeneral Health
Darlene Ratte – Best Western Plus
Michael Roy – City of Waterville
Gary Bowman – Town of Oakland
Michelle Flewelling – Town of Fairfield
Brian Clark – Colby College
Michael Runser – Valley Beverage
Allan Rancourt – Kennebec Federal Savings
Lisa Hallee – Bill & Joan Alfond Foundation
Donald Plourde – Coldwell Banker Plourde Real Estate
Tom Meucci - Huhtamaki

 Ex-Officio Board Members:
Laura Cyr – Kennebec Valley Council of Governments
Christian Savage - Somerset Economic Development Corporation
James Dinkle – Kennebec Regional Dev. Authority / FirstPark