Your business might be eligible for New Jersey small business grants if your revenue dropped significantly due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Grants from federal funds total $16.78 billion, while contributions from local governments total $13.52 billion. New Jersey’s economy depends on small businesses, sole proprietorships, and large corporations for financial assistance and economic relief through business grants. Nearly 10,000 farms and 195,445 businesses operate in New Jersey. Government agencies and corporate or private foundations may award grants to eligible businesses to assist with economic growth.
New Jersey pays over $177.07 billion in wages and salaries, with almost 39,707 companies filing bankruptcy annually. Starting and expanding a business cannot be funded by the federal government. Entrepreneurs in New Jersey can obtain private grants to start or expand their businesses, and grants are not repaid. Small business grants help you get the funds you need for your business growth.
New Jersey Small Business Grants
Residents of New Jersey can apply for grants for small businesses. Listed below are a few New Jersey grants you may find useful.
New Jersey State Trade Expansion Program
In partnership with the SBA, the New Jersey Business Action Center developed the New Jersey State Trade Expansion Program (NJ STEP) to provide financial awards to small businesses in New Jersey that are new to exporting and those that already export.
Your business must meet the following criteria to be considered for NJ STEP:
- The company is registered in New Jersey and is domestic
- Small as defined by the SBA
- As of the application date, the business has been in operation for at least one year
- Compliance with New Jersey’s tax laws
- Production of goods or services containing at least 51% American content
- Registered with NJ START and have a DUNS number
Eligible businesses for the New Jersey State Trade Expansion Program will be considered to receive financial awards to offset export promotion costs partially.
FY22 Business Marketing Initiative
To encourage national and international business entities to relocate and expand in New Jersey, the New Jersey Department of State (“NJDOS”) seeks proposals for 5,000,000 Dollars in grants to develop and implement a business marketing initiative. Grants will be awarded between August 1, 2021, and July 31, 2022, for the year 2022. Interested New Jersey non-profit 501c3 organizations with experience working with other government agencies or public entities are invited to submit proposals.
NJEDA Aspire Development Tax Credit Program
Founded under the New Jersey Economic Recovery Act of 2020 (ERA), the Aspire program is administered by the NJEDA. Tax credits are provided through the Aspire program to projects that have financing gaps for mixed-use, transit-oriented development.
The Aspire program is part of the ERA’s suite of economic development resources to address the ongoing effects of COVID-19 on New Jersey’s economy. Tax credits are available for New Jersey commercial and residential development projects with a financing gap to encourage mixed-use, transit-oriented development.
Depending on the project’s location, the type of financing available, and other factors, the amount of tax credits a project can receive is determined by a percentage of its eligible project costs. Tax credits are available for up to $42 million for most projects, but up to $60 million may be available for projects that meet specific criteria. Tax credits of up to $350 million are available for “transformative projects” that meet certain parameters.
The cost of transformative projects must reach at least $100 million, and the area of the project must be at least 500,000 square feet or up to 250,000 square feet for projects at film studios. Moreover, transformation projects must demonstrate special economic importance to New Jersey to attract or retain employers and skilled workers.
Minimum cost and size thresholds apply. Retail or commercial space must exceed 100,000 square feet. Depending on location, residential projects must cost between $5 million and $17.5 million.
Morris County Small Business Grant Program
The Morris County Commissioners and the Morris County Chamber of Commerce have committed $10 million of their American Rescue Plan Act funding to support our community’s small businesses and non-profit organizations as they struggle to adapt to the effects of a persistent pandemic.
Our community’s economy remains largely dependent on small businesses and non-profit organizations. Morris County offers direct financial assistance to ensure their survival, recovery, and ultimate success.
Small businesses, business owners, and non-profit organizations experiencing costly interruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic can apply for up to a maximum grant award of $15,000 in grants through the Morris County Small Business Grant Program.
- The business must be legally established in Morris County as a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, non-profit, or limited liability company since January 1, 2019.
- It must have a revenue of less than $5 million annually
- On March 3, 2021, the company had 25 or fewer full-time employees (FTEs). Part-time employees equal 12 FTEs.
- Grants are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis
- It is required that the expenses be incurred on or after March 3, 2021, to qualify for reimbursement
- It must be located in Morris County
Small Business Improvement Grants
Building improvements and the purchase of new furniture, fixtures, and equipment are covered by the Small Business Improvement Grant. Funds from the Main Street Recovery Finance Program will finance the Small Business Improvement Grants worth $15 million.
Approximately 40 percent of this $15 million will be allocated to businesses and non-profits in Opportunity Zones. There will be a rolling acceptance of applications until all funding has been allocated.
- A landlord is not eligible for this program.
- You can use one federal Employer Identification Number (EIN) with just one application.
- A single EIN will limit applications from multiple locations under a single EIN, but one may pool project costs across multiple locations.
- It is open to small businesses and non-profit organizations
- Project cost must be at least $5,000
- The applicant must own or rent the facility that is being improved
Gloucester County Small Business Recovery Program
Gloucester County launched a Small Business Recovery Program in response to the economic hardships suffered by small businesses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For-profit businesses are eligible to receive grant awards up to $10,000. This program is funded by CARES Act funds provided through the Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG-CV) administered by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). An estimated $1.2 million has been allocated for awarding eligible businesses.
Business types eligible for the funding opportunity include retail, restaurants, entertainment, hospitality, and non-professional services, including seasonal businesses with fewer than twenty (20) employees (including full- and part-timers) as of December 31, 2020. You cannot use the assistance for home-based businesses and businesses deemed ineligible. For CDBG assistance to maintain employment, the business must submit a statement explaining Coronavirus business disruption or revenue loss.
NJEDA Main Street Lenders Grant
Micro business lenders can use the Main Street Lenders Grant to create new micro business loan products or augment existing financial assistance programs. Additionally, lenders may qualify for grants to provide technical assistance to micro-businesses to better prepare them for loan approval.
Loan grants of up to $1 million are available to eligible lenders to establish or expand micro business lending products. Under the Main Street Lenders Grant, any eligible entity may apply for up to $1.5 million ($1 million in lending and $500,000 in technical assistance grants).
By providing the lenders with the ability to expand services, lenders can create or expand existing micro business loan products, provide technical assistance to businesses struggling to qualify for loan programs, and facilitate the distribution of low-interest loans. Any loan products created by the lender and funded through this grant need to meet the following requirements and be flexible to meet micro-businesses needs.
- You must have experience lending money to small and micro businesses for at least a decade as a lender.
- There is no restriction on the lender being located outside New Jersey; however, grant funds must be used for loan products and technical assistance that serve only businesses located in New Jersey and are eligible for the program.
- Applicants must be a member of a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), Minority Depository Institution (MDI), or another lender eligible to participate in this program.
- The loan must be for micro-businesses with less than ten full-time employees at the time of application and with a revenue of less than $1.5 million (in the year of the loan application) to qualify.
- The micro-business must have a physical location in New Jersey, which could also be a home-based business.
- A micro business can use a loan to purchase equipment, rolling stock, and operating expenses, including payroll, marketing, inventory, rent, property taxes, utilities, and other expenses related to their daily operations.
- You cannot use the loan to restructure existing debt or finance, build, reconstruct, demolish, alter, repair, maintain, or install equipment where such activity exceeds $1,999.99.
NJEDA Main Street Micro Business Loan
Main Street Micro Business Loans provide up to $50,000 in funding to New Jersey micro-businesses with less than ten full-time employees and less than $1.5 million in annual revenue. It replaces the Micro Business Loan Program that NJEDA established in 2019.
In addition to capital for inventory, equipment (that does not require installation or construction work totaling more than $1,999.99), and working capital for business operations, $20 million funds are available for Main Street Micro Business Loan financing programs. No interest will be charged during the first year, and no payments will be due during the 10-year term.
There will be $8 million set aside for businesses and non-profits in the 715 census tracts that have a primary business location within the Opportunity Zones to help them receive investment opportunities that are equitable and inclusive.
Micro businesses, whether non-profits, for-profits, or home-based*, who wish to apply for the Main Street Micro Business Loan must meet the following requirements:
- For the most recent fiscal year (if the business has annual revenues), gross revenue must be less than $1.5 million.
- Credit scores of at least 600 from at least one owner are required.
- The business employs a maximum of 10 full-time employees.
- Must have a business location in New Jersey (other than the home office) with legal business registration in New Jersey.
- Before the application date, the company must have existed for at least six months, as evidenced by its formation/incorporation date
- It is only possible to lend to one business entity at a time.
- This loan is available to those who have already been awarded a Micro Business Loan, so long as they meet all the eligibility requirements.
- Under this new product, an entity with multiple locations (if each location operates under only one EIN) can only submit one application (under the sole entity).
NJEDA Main Street Recovery Finance Program
This program assists New Jersey micro-business owners who want to start or expand their businesses and partnering entities that can provide services to them. These entities include Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and Economic Development Corporations that meet certain legislative requirements to qualify. There has been an allocation of $100 million for the Main Street Recovery Finance Program as part of the Economic Recovery Act. There will be a variation in award sizes depending on the product.
New Jersey GrantWatch
A website called New Jersey GrantWatch is a great tool that can help small businesses find relevant grants. You can get small business loans and grants through this website from several local, state, and federal agencies. GrantWatch can help you find grant writers who can assist you in preparing outstanding grant proposals. Getting a grant is as simple as answering a few additional questions on the application form.
Grant-related information is accessible only if you have a subscription. An annual subscription costs $199 per year and $18 per week. In addition to the inability to access grant details, free members cannot submit grant applications.
Amber Grants for Women
If you are a female entrepreneur based in New Jersey, you may want to consider applying for the Amber Grant. This grant is particularly awarded to women-owned businesses. Amber Grant judges award a $10,000 prize each month to women entrepreneurs. When all twelve monthly prizes have been awarded, one winner will receive $25,000, which means if you win both monthly and yearly prizes, you will receive a total of $35,000.
If you wish to apply for an Amber Grant, you must fill out a brief application, submit some personal information, and pay a $15 application fee. As the application doesn’t require much information, you may also want to describe what you plan on doing with the grant if you receive it. Your business will stand out to the committee if you explain why a grant would be beneficial for you.
The Bottom Line
It may be a good time to consider other small business loan options while you await the approval of your small business grant since securing a grant can take time. In New Jersey, minority-owned businesses and small business owners have access to a wide range of loan programs to help them start or expand their operations.
If you can’t find a small business grant in New Jersey, you might want to think about small business grants in other states. In every state, small and mid-sized businesses can access many grants designed specifically for underrepresented populations.
Are you interested in learning more about different grants and programs that can help you with your living situation? Check out the rest of Gov Relations’ blog section today!