CAMDEN, NJ — Roughly 2,700 business owners have already applied for $20 million in small business grants via a CARES-funded program announced toward the end of July — with over 400 applications submitted from Camden City alone.
Given the ever-growing demand brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, Camden County announced Thursday that another $5 million will be added to the pot.
"By zip code and municipality, it is clear that this grant funding is getting into the right hands," said Vice President of the Camden Business Association Nichelle Pace, who has led efforts on the ground in Camden.
Freeholder Director Lou Cappelli said the business needs of the community “could not be addressed in full” by the first round of funding.
“This second round is intended to make sure that no eligible business is left behind,” Cappelli said. “These businesses are the backbone of our economy, and we are doing everything within our power to support them during this crisis.”
Since applications opened, $4 million has been officially awarded with the remaining $16 million currently pending. Decisions have only been made on just shy of 700 submissions.
Businesses can apply by visiting camdencountycares.com.
“We know that every penny counts right now and the expansion of this initiative to ensure every small business has a chance to get grant funding is vital,” said the president and CEO of the South Jersey Chamber of Commerce. “The $5 million expansion also underscores the fact that the Board gets it - they know how tough it is to run a business and they know the pressures that the pandemic is putting on small business owners and our membership.”
Eligibility rules (courtesy of the county) are as follows:
- Business revenue has been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic
- The business has been located in Camden County since January 1, 2019 or earlier
- The business employed 25 or fewer employees as of March 1, 2020
- The business earned $5 million or less in total revenue during 2019
The business must not operate in any of the following categories:
- Banks or other financial institutions
- Businesses where the primary products or services are oriented to specific ages (vaping, liquor stores, etc.)
- Franchises, except for those franchises which are completely locally-owned and operated