NEW JERSEY — Good news, small business owners: The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) is implementing a third phase to the Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program! 

$70 million in additional funding from the Coronavirus Relief Fund will be used to provide short-term, immediate payroll and working capital support to New Jersey-based small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that have experienced adverse economic impact following the declared State of Emergency. 

Funding may be used to stabilize operations, minimize furloughs and layoffs, or as reimbursement of lost revenue due to pandemic-related business interruption. However, it is not permitted to be used for capital expenses. 

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So, what’s new in Phase 3?

First and foremost, there are far less restrictive eligibility requirements and new dedicated pools of funding for restaurants and micro-businesses under this phase. Similar to Phase 2, the program will not be restricted by North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code. Home-based businesses, sole proprietors and all 501(c) non-profit entities registered within the state are now eligible to receive funding. 

Additionally, the employee eligibility cap has been increased to no more than 50 full-time equivalents (FTEs). Awards will be fixed according to FTE bands and industry, as opposed to calculating grant awards on a per FTE basis. 

An applicant’s peak FTE count from the past six quarters of Employer Report of Wages Paid (WR-30) filing will be used to maximize their possible award. Although, a company will not receive grant funding based on a number of FTEs that exceeded the number of employees by the company in the filing period. Companies that are sole proprietorships or had no FTEs for each of the six quarters may be eligible to receive the minimum grant amount. 

Businesses that received approval for grant funding in Phase 1 or Phase 2 will also be eligible for funding in Phase 3.

According to NJEDA’s website, businesses that are not considered to be eligible for grant funding include those involving: gambling or gaming activities, the conduct or purveyance of “adult” activities/services/products/materials, any auction/bankruptcy/“going-out-of-business” sales, sales by transient merchants, Christmas tree sales or other outdoor storage, and any activity constituting a nuisance or any illegal purposes. 501(c) non-profit organizations whose primary activity is political lobbying are also not considered to be eligible for funding. 

Of the $70 million in Coronavirus Relief Fund funding available, $35 million will go toward restaurants, $15 million will go toward micro-businesses and $20 million will go toward other small businesses.

For each business category, 33 percent of the funding will be directed to support entities with a commercial business address or home address that is eligible to be selected as a New Jersey Opportunity Zone.

“Food Services and Drinking Places” businesses have NAICS beginning with 722. These types of businesses with 5 FTEs or fewer will be eligible to get an award size of $10,000. Others with 6-25 FTEs may receive $15,000. Those with 26-50 FTEs may receive $20,000.

Micro-businesses with 5 FTEs or fewer may get an award size of $5,000.

Other small businesses with 6-25 FTEs may get an award size of $10,000. Those with 26-50 FTEs may receive $15,000.

An eligible SME can submit one application per Employer Identification Number (EIN).

The CEO of each SME must make a few confirmations regarding the business: 1) that the business was in operation on Feb. 15, 2020, 2) the business will make a best effort to not to furlough or lay off any individuals from the time of application through six months after the end of the declared State of Emergency, 3) the business has been negatively impacted since the State of the Emergency and 4) the business currently has a material financial need that cannot be overcome without the grant of emergency relief funds.

SMEs must also provide documentation, such as a form of certification, at the time of application to indicate that it is: 1) registered to conduct business in New Jersey, 2) is in good standing with the state’s Department of Labor and Workforce Development and 3) meets the requirement by the Division of Taxation in the Department of Treasury to show the applicant does not have tax debts owed to the state. 

There is a required 10-day pre-registration process for applicants interested in the Phase 3 grant program. Within that time frame, applicants can submit business information and receive application information via email once the form becomes available. Pre-registration must be completed by 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020.

Once an application goes live, applicants have one week to submit the form.

The application for restaurants will open at 9:00 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020 and close at 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020.

The application for micro-businesses will open at 9:00 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 30, 2020 and close at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 6, 2020.

The application for all other eligible businesses will open at 9:00 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 2, 2020 and close at 5:00 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 9, 2020.

Applications will be reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis. If the NJEDA discovers not all the funding will be utilized by eligible applicants through Nov. 9, 2020, they may reopen pre-registration on Nov. 10, 2020 as well as the application on Nov. 17, 2020.

           

Funding will be disbursed in full as soon as possible once the grant application is approved. No fees will be collected by the NJEDA for the program. For more information on the Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program – Phase 3, visit http://cv.business.nj.gov