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Business Support Services

Planning & Development TeaM: 

Saco's Planning and Development Department works to maintain an environment and process that are  responsive to the needs of the businesses and entrepreneurs in Saco, as well as those looking to establish, expand, or relocate new businesses in Saco.  We seek to ensure they have access to the resources and  infrastructure to successfully operate in highly competitive and often global markets.  

Our role is to assist businesses through the development approval process(es) within the City of Saco and coordinate their contact depending upon the size and nature of each opportunity.  This may include input from various departments, boards or commissions, and the City Council as part of the development approval process. We provide the same services at the state and federal level and with our utility partners.

FINANCING:
The Southern Maine Finance Authority (SMFA), formerly known as Biddeford-Saco Area Economic Development Corporation, is a nonprofit corporation (est. 1992) that assists emerging and expanding companies in Saco and York County.  The Corporation's mission is to promote sustainable economic prosperity through regional business lending, targeting underserved markets.  Through SMFA, Saco collaborate on programs, projects, and policies designed to increase employment and improve living standards.

SMFA's experienced staff is aggressive in utilizing traditional and nontraditional financial resources to meet each client's needs for real estate and/or equipment acquisition or expansions and other fixed asset financing and working capital. The Corporation makes direct loans and works closely with all banks in the community, as well as other regional, state, and federal economic development organizations.

Eligible applicants include the following:  industrial or manufacturing firms where the goods are assembled; wholesale and distribution companies and commercial enterprises that create or save jobs. Eligible project costs include: site purchases and development; new construction and or rehabilitation of existing buildings; machinery and equipment acquisition and or installation and working capital.

An application must be submitted to the agency along with a business plan and supporting financial statements. Private sources of financing must generally be injected before revolving loan funds are disbursed. Loan terms and conditions vary depending upon business needs, cash flow and assets being financed.  Interest rates are usually fixed for the term of the loan. Underwriting criteria are very similar to those of commercial lenders.

OTHER PROGRAMS:
The Small Business Administration, FAME and RECD all provide commercial loan guarantee programs to all of the local and regional financial institutions. FAME administers the SMART- E Bond Program, a tax-exempt financing program for manufacturing facilities including land and depreciable assets.

OTHER BUSINESS ASSISTANCE CONTACTS

BIDDEFORD-SACO CHAMBER OF COMMERCE & INDUSTRY:
The Chamber of Commerce & Industry brings a wide variety of benefits and opportunities to people in every field. Manufacturers, retailers, lodging, restaurants, financial institutions and professionals are partners with property owners, promoting the community as a great place to live and do business. For more information about the Biddeford-Saco Chamber of Commerce & Industry, call (207) 282-1567 or write or visit the office at 28 Water Street, Suite 1, Biddeford Maine, 04005.

MAINE DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMIC AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT:
The Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) assists firms considering locating or expanding with technical, site location, financial, training, marketing, and general business assistance. For more information: State House Station #59, Augusta, Maine 04333, or call (207) 287-3153.

FINANCE AUTHORITY OF MAINE:
The Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) is the state operated economic development agency which offers a wide array of financial assistance programs for Maine businesses. These programs include tax-exempt bond financing for multi-million dollar projects to commercial loan insurance. For more information call (207) 623-3262 or write: P.O. Box 949, Augusta, Maine 04330.