The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) Board approved a suite of new programs designed to support businesses and workers facing economic hardship due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus COVID-19.
The package of initiatives includes a grant program for small businesses, a zero-interest loan program for mid-size companies, support for private-sector lenders and Community Development Finance Institutions (CDFIs), funding for entrepreneurs, and a variety of resources providing technical support and marketplace information. Taken together, they will provide more than $75 million of State and private financial support, with the opportunity to grow to more than $100 million if additional philanthropic, State, and federal resources become available. The initiatives will support between 3,000 and 5,000 small and midsize enterprises and are meant to complement recently announced federal economic recovery initiatives.
“NJBIA thanks Governor Murphy and the EDA for standing up these programs in expeditious order to bring much-needed support to many vulnerable New Jersey small- and medium-sized businesses and non-profits who need it most,” NJBIA President & CEO Michele Siekerka, Esq. said in a statement.
“Throughout this health crisis, we have fielded hundreds of calls and emails from New Jersey business owners unable to meet payroll and pay their bills because they have little to no revenue coming in and little reserves. By and large, they are desperate to stay afloat and devastated to have made difficult staff decisions,” Siekerka said. Read NJBIA’s full statement here.
“The outbreak of the novel coronavirus in New Jersey has sent us into uncharted territory, and the economic impacts will be significant and far-reaching, especially on Main Street. The scope and scale of this new challenge requires immediate action to support New Jersey workers and businesses,” said Governor Phil Murphy. “The new NJEDA programs announced today are a critical step that will mitigate the economic impacts of this unprecedented challenge and help workers and businesses to weather the storm and come out stronger when things return to normal.”
Development of the grant program, support for CDFIs, and flexibility for current NJEDA borrowers was enabled by the legislature through A3845. Primary sponsors of the legislation include Assemblymembers Roy Freiman, Louis D. Greenwald, Ronald S. Dancer, and Senators Nilsa Cruz-Perez, and Brian Stack.
The new NJEDA initiatives focus on businesses that have been hit hardest by the novel coronavirus outbreak: local small businesses, mid-size businesses that have had to close or drastically reconfigure operations, and new businesses who were just getting on their feet before the crisis hit. The programs provide a suite of compatible offerings that address these businesses’ varied needs and include mechanisms to provide funding and assistance as quickly as possible.
Many of the resources are designed to be scalable with the addition of federal and philanthropic resources if they become available. Philanthropic partners interested in donating to support the NJEDA’s small business grant program should reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Small- and medium-sized enterprises are the heartbeat of New Jersey’s economy and it is crucial that we do what we can to provide the resources and assistance they need to withstand the outbreak of novel coronavirus,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. “In coordination with our partners throughout State government, we are undertaking an unprecedented effort to support these businesses and the New Jersey residents who rely on them for their livelihoods. These are challenging times, but New Jerseyans are resilient, and together we will get through this and rebuild our economy.”
The suite of new initiatives includes:
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