TRENTON, NJ - Seeking to give small business that have been especially hard hit by the economic fallout from COVID-19 a boost, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) has announced that applications for the expanded Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program will become live at 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday, June 9.

Taking an even more active stance in support of these businesses that exist in traditionally underserved, and underfinanced communities, $15 million of the total $45 million allotted to Phase two of the program, has been reserved for those in any of the 715 Opportunity Zone-eligible census tracts designated across New Jersey.

In addition to English, applications for the program will also be available in 10 other languages included Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Gujarati, Italian, Korean, and Polish. With applications being reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis, the sample application is available by clicking here so that businesses can prepare ahead of the official program opening. 

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“The coronavirus pandemic is forcing all of us to grapple with unprecedented challenges, but small business owners and their employees are undoubtedly among the most severely impacted members of our communities,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. “From the start of the pandemic, the Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program has played a central role in supporting New Jersey’s small business community. The expanded program will allow us to serve thousands more businesses in need and our focus on equity will ensure it benefits the communities COVID-19 has hit the hardest.” 

The program is a continuation of one established by the EDA, at the direction of Governor Phil Murphy, to mitigate the economic impact of public health policies, including the closure of non-essential businesses, to limit the spread of COVID-19. To date, $8 million has been provided to neary 2,500 businesses across all 21 New Jersey counties.

Utilizing $50 million in federal dollars received through the CARES Act, the EDA is allotting $5 million to support businesses in Phase 1, with being delivered in grants of up to $10,000 each to previously ineligible businesses. Included in the newly eligible businesses are those with up to 25 employees, and an addition to the types of businesses that can apply and receive funds. Home based businesses and sole proprietorships, as well as some nonprofit organizations, are also now eligible.

“New Jersey’s diversity is our strength. When we take extra steps to ensure equitable access to programs, we not only support a broader range of businesses and communities, but we also create more jobs and economic growth that benefits everyone,” said NJEDA Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer Michelle Bodden. “Setting aside a portion of Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program funding for businesses in at-risk communities and providing translation services for applicants who do not speak English are crucial steps that will increase the program’s impact and ensure relief goes where it is needed most.”

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