Gov. Phil Murphy today signed legislation that will make $15 million in grants available to small businesses and nonprofits in the state. To be administered by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA), the federal funds are part of five-bill, $100-million relief package.
According to Tim Sullivan, NJEDA CEO, the authority’s board will meet this Wednesday to discuss and approve the details of this and other aid bills the governor recently signed.
“The process for [applying for the grants] will kick off during the second part of this month,” Sullivan said. “This [money] is going to get out the door prudently, judiciously and expeditiously because businesses can’t wait.”
Gov. Murphy thanked New Jersey’s Congressional delegation for being able to put “hundreds of millions of dollars directly into downtown small businesses and community nonprofits.” He also commended the NJEDA for distributing more than $250 million in aid to some 55,500 businesses over the past year.
“The bill I sign today is purely additive to these efforts and will ensure we can do more,” Murphy said. “We will get to the end of the pandemic with our downtowns ready to achieve a future with a strong, fair and resilient economy, with small businesses leading the way in job creation and economic growth.”
The bill signing was held at Jammin’ Crepes in Princeton, a small business that previously received pandemic-related financial assistance. Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker, one of the bill’s sponsors, said a shop like Jammin’ Crepes is part of a community’s fabric and that money infused in small businesses usually stays within the local community.
“Study after study finds that for every dollar you spend on a small businesses, 70 cents stays in the community. That is why we have to support our small businesses here,” Zwicker said.
“I am proud to be a sponsor of this bill because, since the beginning of pandemic, small businesses have had tremendous problems. We are doing whatever we can to help them,” said Senator Linda Greenstein. “We are going to keep on building with all different kinds of legislation. The great thing is this is a grant program that will make all the difference in helping businesses stay alive.”
Sullivan added that this pandemic and related economic crisis has disproportionately affected small businesses, especially those owned by women and people of color.
“Since the [pandemic] more than 11,000 minority-owned businesses and more than 11,000 women-owned businesses have been able to participate in or grant programs. That’s a good start,” Sullivan said, “but we have a lot of work to do in focusing on the equity dimensions of this. We will continue to do that under the programs we are administering under the new bills.”
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