Maine Small Business Development Centers provided free business advisory services to 1,400 entrepreneurs in 2017, helping them start 98 new businesses, save or create 661 jobs and access $44 million in capital, the Maine SBDC said Tuesday.

Over its 40-year history, the joint state and federal program has worked with an estimated 62,000 clients in Maine, helping them start nearly 2,500 new businesses and access nearly $705 million in capital, Maine SBDC said in a news release.

Return on investment for Maine SBDC is evaluated annually through an independent study of the program conducted at Mississippi State University. The university’s most recent report indicated that for every dollar invested, $4.16 was returned in incremental tax revenue, the release said.

“As we reflect on the last 40 years, we’re encouraged by the program’s ability to have a real impact on the economic success of the state of Maine year after year,” said Maine SBDC Director Mark Delisle. “Activities that yield positive returns over an extended period, such as those carried out by the Maine SBDC, stand as a solid investment. We look forward to another 40 years of helping Maine’s entrepreneurs and small businesses succeed.”

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