PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A nonprofit organization in Maine is getting help from the federal government to boost rural businesses in the state.

The federal Community Development Financial Institutions Fund is giving Coastal Enterprises Inc. $600,000 toward the effort. Most of the money is slated for CEI’s “Wicked Fast” loans program and its business advice, financial counseling and workforce development services, Democratic Rep. Chellie Pingree said.

The “Wicked Fast” loans are designed to provide up to $25,000 for start-ups and new small businesses. CEI has made more than 80 of them since starting the program two years ago, Pingree said.

Pingree said that the assistance will help ensure residents of rural or coastal areas have “the same support from their financial institutions as Mainers who live in Portland or Bangor.”

(Copyright (c) 2024 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Join our Newsletter for the latest news right to your inbox