A business plan is an invaluable component for getting started in farming. One will be necessary for obtaining any sort of financing. If the task of writing one seems somewhat daunting, there are many organizations and programs that offer training and assistance for free or at minimal cost. These are some that exist in Maine.
• Coastal Enterprises, Inc.
CEI’s Maine Farms Program offers several programs to assist farmers, including graphic design assistance, loan programs, and the New American Farmers project.
In conjunction with the Maine Department of Agriculture, Food and Rural Resources, CEI also administers the Farms for the Future program, which provides business planning assistance and grants.
• Eastern Maine Development Corporation (EMDC)
From micro start-ups to expanding small businesses, can help with marketing, manufacturing, government contracting, finance, and international trade. Participates in Maine SBDC program.
• Maine.gov Agricultural Business Information
This governmental site includes useful links for those looking to have agricultural businesses in Maine, including a questionnaire from the Cooperative Extension on whether farming in Maine is right for you. It also includes links to trade organizations and regulations for agricultural businesses.
• Maine Small Business Administration (SBA)
SBA offers business training and financing. Site includes an online tutorial for getting started in a small business.
• Maine Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE)
SCORE provides free business consultation to entrepreneurs. This website is for the Portland office, but provides contact information for SCORE offices throughout the state.
• Maine Small Business Development Centers (SBDC)
Provides comprehensive business management assistance, training, resource and information services to Maine's micro, small and technology-based business communities. Whether one has an established business or is about to acquire or start a new creative venture, one can obtain no-cost to client, confidential, professional business management assistance, valuable information, expert training and extensive resource links.
• Maine Women’s Agricultural Network
Provides networking opportunities, business planning, workshops and other information to women in agriculture.
• Northern Maine Development Commission (NMDC)
Offers Economic Development, Business Finance, Small Business Counseling and Planning services for northern Maine. Participates in Maine SBDC program.
• NxLevel Business Planning and Tilling the Soil of Opportunity
Offers online entrepreneurial training as well as in-person training courses including “Tilling the Soil of Opportunity”. For information about local programs, call Tessa Burpee at (207) 368-4433.
• Women, Work and Community
Offers business and financial planning training as well as micro-loan programs.