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Economic Development

$11M+ in Main Street Lenders Grant Approved for Micro Businesses

The grant program will support hundreds of micro businesses through low-interest financing

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) today approved more than $11 million to eight lenders and financial institutions through its Main Street Lenders Grant. The grant program, which launched in July, awards funds to eligible Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs), and other entities that have at least 10 years of experience lending to small and micro businesses.

The Main Street Lenders Grant, which was created under the New Jersey Economic Recovery Act of 2020 and funded with $15 million from the Main Street Recovery Program, offers eligible lenders grants of up to $1.5 million each, with up to $500,000 reserved for technical assistance needs. Entities approved for the grant will provide flexible and low-cost financing through working capital term loans to qualified micro businesses, as well as technical assistance to help micro businesses access capital.

According to NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan, “Forty% of the funding to support loans will be set aside for micro businesses in Opportunity Zone-eligible census tracts, allowing underserved areas the chance for continued growth.”

To date, the product has approved grant funding for the following lenders:

  • Elizabeth Development Company of New Jersey will create a Post COVID Rebound Program (PCRP). The PCRP will offer loans of between $10,000 and $30,000 for existing or startup micro businesses in Elizabeth, Plainfield, and Hillside Township.
  • Pursuit Lending (formerly New York Business Development Corporation Local Development Corporation) will create a New Jersey Main Street Fund. The New Jersey Main Street Fund will offer loans of between $10,000 and $100,000 to low- and moderate-income and minority/women business enterprises in Opportunity Zones.
  • Union County Economic Development Corporation (UCEDC) will create the Small Business Assistance Loan (SBAL) to offer loans ranging from $10,000–$15,000 at zero-percent interest and a five-year term for eligible micro businesses. This UCEDC program will require no collateral.
  • The Enterprise Center Capital Corporation will utilize funding to create a New Jersey Acceleration Fund to support micro businesses in Camden and South Jersey.
  • Eastern American Certified Development Company will create three micro loan products: 1) Fast and Easy Loan Program up to $10,000. 2) Growing Loan Program for up to $50,000 in funding. 3) Opportunity Loan Program for up to $100,000 in funding.
  • Greater Newark Enterprises Corporation will use the lending grant to support its Newark Entrepreneurs of Color Fund and offers loans from $10,000 to $50,000 for unbankable businesses.
  • Cooperative Business Assistance Corporation (CBAC) will use the grant to provide working capital loans from $10,000 to $100,000 at a five-percent interest rate to qualified entities with a credit score at 650 or below.
  • Regional Business Assistance Corporation (RBAC) will use funding to support existing businesses with capital loans ranging from $10,000 to $100,000. Each of RBAC’s loans will carry a two-percent interest rate with a seven-year term.

“Local lenders were paramount to our ability to reach and support New Jersey’s smallest businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic and they remain vital partners in our efforts to build a stronger, fairer, and more equitable economy,” said NJEDA Program Manager – Business Banking Naimah Marshall. “Through the Main Street Lenders Grant, we are enhancing our ability to connect micro businesses that often have difficulty accessing traditional financing with the resources they need to succeed.”

Micro businesses can contact any of the lenders identified above and apply for financing directly with them.

To access more business news, visit NJB News Now.

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