Are You Taking Advantage of the NJ Small Business Fund?
June 28, 2022
By William Gentilesco
On February 10, 2022, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (“NJEDA”) opened applications for its Small Business Improvement Grant.
The funds, which are eligible for reimbursement of up to 50% of total project costs up to $50,000 are available to businesses in New Jersey for various business improvement purposes.
The grant has a total fund of $15 million, $6 million of which is reserved for businesses and nonprofits located in designated Opportunity Zones. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until funding is exhausted.
What Can the Funds Be Used For?
The Small Business Improvement Grant is a reimbursement program for specific projects and purchases. The grant can be leveraged to cover various costs for building improvements as well as new furniture, fixtures and equipment.
What Projects and Businesses Are Eligible?
All creditworthy, small, minority-owned or women-owned businesses in New Jersey may apply for assistance under the Small Business Improvement Grant. Applicants must rent or own and operate a facility, meet the SBA’s definition of a small business (fewer than 500 employees), not be in default with EDA or state assistance and be able to certify that they pay wages that are the greater of $15/hour or 120% of the minimum wage rate.
Eligible projects are categorized as interior or exterior building improvements or purchases and/or the installation of furniture, fixtures and equipment. All projects must have commenced on or after March 9, 2020, to which the payment was made within two years of the application submission date. Projects or purchases must total a minimum of $5,000 to be eligible, which must be documented.
Outside of not falling under the above business or project criteria, the NJEDA classifies several specific situations that would make companies ineligible for the grant:
- Not being in good standing with NJ Department of Labor or NJ Department of Environmental Protection.
- Not providing a current tax clearance certificate.
- Submitting more than one application for the same EIN.
- Any home-based business.
The NJEDA also states that landlords and NJ state employees, officers or authorities that control more than 1% of the applying company are not eligible for the funds. The NJEDA has received a significant number of applications for this program. Interested small businesses are encouraged apply quickly as funding is limited.
How to Apply
Eligible, New Jersey-based business can apply on the NJEDA’s website. An approval fee of $100 is due at the time of approval and prior to execution of the grant agreement. According to Governor Murphy’s Office, as of May 5, 2022, 32 small businesses have already been approved for reimbursements from the grant since it was announced.