The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) recently announced Phase 3 of its Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program. Phase 3, which will be funded with $70 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding, significantly expands eligibility for the grant program and increases the amount of funding businesses can receive. To ensure funding goes to businesses hit hardest by the pandemic, Phase 3 sets aside funding for restaurants, micro-businesses and businesses based in Opportunity Zone eligible census tracts.
Interested business owners will need to pre-register to receive an application. Pre-registration will begin today, Oct. 19, and will close on Tuesday, Oct. 27. Pre-register here. The application will be available via a phased approach following the end of the pre-registration period, as detailed below. Applicants must complete the full application to be considered for grant funding.
Phase 3 further expands eligibility for the grant program and increases the amount of funding individual businesses can receive. Any business or nonprofit located in New Jersey, including home-based businesses, with 50 or fewer full-time equivalent employees (FTEs) is eligible to receive grant funding during Phase 3. Businesses that received funding in previous phases of the program are eligible to receive Phase 3 funding.
Phase 3 also increases the amount of funding available to businesses. Grant awards will be calculated based on the number of FTEs businesses employ. Micro-businesses with five or fewer FTEs and sole proprietorships will receive $5,000; businesses with six to 25 FTEs will receive $10,000; and businesses with 26 to 50 FTEs will receive $15,000. Phase 3 provides even larger grants for businesses that are classified as “Food Services and Drinking Places” (NAICS code 722). Businesses in this classification with five or fewer employees will receive $10,000; businesses with six to 25 FTEs will receive $15,000; and businesses with 26 to 50 FTEs will receive $20,000. To maximize the funding businesses receive, grant awards will be based on the peak FTE count from a business’s past six quarters of WR-30 filings. Businesses must use funds from the Grant Program for reimbursement of lost revenue as a result of business interruption caused by COVID-19. Businesses may not use grant funds for capital expenses.
The NJEDA is targeting Phase 3 grants to restaurants, micro-businesses and businesses in census tracts that were eligible to be designated as Opportunity Zones. $35 million of funding will be dedicated to support businesses classified as “Food Services and Drinking Places” under NAICS code 722 and $15 million will be directed to support “micro-businesses” that have five or fewer FTEs. The remaining $20 million will be available to support any eligible business.
Recognizing the significant need for relief, the NJEDA anticipates Phase 3 of the grant program will be oversubscribed. To streamline the application process, the Authority is requiring all applicants to pre-register online. Applications will become available on a rolling basis following the pre-registration period. Pre-registered applicants will need to return to complete an application based on the following schedule:
• Restaurants – 9 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 29
• Micro-businesses – 9 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 30
• All other businesses, excluding restaurants and micro-businesses – 9 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 2
Applications for each category will be open for a period of one week and will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.
More information about this grant program is available at https://cv.business.nj.gov.