The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) launched a $1 million pilot program this week that will provide free e-commerce and digital marketing consulting services to small businesses across New Jersey to help them adapt to the growing e-commerce economy, which has boomed since the pandemic.
The Small Business E-Commerce Support Program will offer up to $11,400 in consulting services to eligible restaurants, retailers, and personal care businesses to assist with the development of websites, e-commerce platforms, and digital marketing plans. The NJEDA Board approved the program during its December board meeting.
“As consumers become more reliant on online services, our small businesses along our Main Streets need resources to help them modernize, expand their customer base, and stay competitive,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. “Under Governor Murphy’s leadership, New Jersey invested hundreds of millions of dollars to help small businesses keep their doors open during the pandemic. The Small Business E-Commerce Support Program, and others in the pipeline, will continue to help bolster the resilience of small businesses and preserve our Main Streets as the bedrock of New Jersey’s economy.”
To be eligible, a restaurant, retail store, or personal care business must be in a commercial location with a physical storefront and meet the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) definition of a small business. Business type will be verified by NAICS Code, location will be verified via Google maps search results, business registration and good standing will be confirmed by required submission of a NJ Division of Taxation current tax clearance certificate and small business status will be verified using the SBA Table of Small Business Size Standards.
Services small businesses can receive include web page design and development, online ordering implementation, online appointment booking implementation, e-commerce design and development, and online marketing plan development. Restaurants and personal care businesses can receive up to $11,400 in consulting services, while retail stores can receive up to $10,800.
The NJEDA has contracted with seven consulting firms to provide e-commerce and digital marketing services to small businesses for a two-year term, with two one-year extension options. The total combined contract award is based on a budget of $1 million. Interested businesses should contact the consulting firm of their choice directly. Contact information for each firm can be found here.
The firms include:
“When we invest in the growth of small businesses, we invest in the growth of entire communities – paving the way for economic empowerment,” said NJEDA Chief Community Development Officer Tai Cooper. “With a concentration on women, minority, and veteran owned small businesses in Opportunity Zones, this program will help our most diverse businesses grow, thrive, and succeed.”
This program is funded by the Main Street Recovery Finance Program, which was established under the New Jersey Economic Recovery Act of 2020 (ERA). The ERA is a recovery package to help the state address the economic impacts of the pandemic and build a stronger economy that invests in innovation, small businesses, and New Jersey’s communities. The ERA created over 15 programs, including the Main Street Recovery Program, which is a $100 million small business support program. The Small Business E-Commerce Support Program is the fifth pilot program the NJEDA approved under the Main Street Recovery Finance Program.
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