The first checks from a $200 million emergency assistance program for small employers in Maine are expected to be distributed next week, according to state economic officials.

Phase I of the Maine Economic Recovery Grant program awarded $105 million to about 2,300 small businesses and nonprofits. The application deadline for a second phase, with $95 million available, lapsed on Oct. 29.

The average grant award is $45,000, according to the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development. The state’s seven economic development districts, which processed grant applications, will start sending out checks starting next week, said Jonathan Poole, the department’s business development manager, during a monthly update on Wednesday.

“Businesses should keep their eyes open for checks next week,” Poole said.

The first phase of the grant program was open only to companies with 50 employees or less and excluded some nonprofits. The second phase was open to companies that employ up to 250 workers, some previously excluded nonprofits and businesses that had been open less than a year.

During the videoconference update, DECD Commissioner Heather Johnson said it was unlikely the grant program would be expanded again.

“I don’t think there will be a Phase III of this exact program,” Johnson said. “We continue to look at additional creative solutions to support businesses and nonprofits across the state.”

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