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NJEDA Announces launch dates for $85 million Phase 4 of the Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program

Phase 4 provides short-term, immediate payroll and working capital support to NJ small and medium businesses and nonprofits

Launch dates for Phase 4 funding

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) announced last week Phase 4 of the Authority’s Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program, adding $85 million in funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Phase 4 will provide short-term operating support to a broad group of New Jersey small and medium sized businesses and nonprofits that have been negatively impacted during the declared state of emergency. More information is available here.

Interested business owners will need to pre-register here to access the application. Pre-registration will begin on Monday, April 19, 2021 at 9:00 a.m. and will close on April 29, 2021 at 5:00 p.m.  The application will be available via a phased approach following the end of the pre-registration period, as detailed below. Applicants must complete the full application to be considered for grant funding.

In line with Governor Murphy’s commitment to a stronger, fairer recovery, Phase 4 funding will be allocated to support the most adversely affected businesses, including restaurants, micro-businesses, and child care providers, as well as other small businesses. To ensure grants reach businesses in the hardest hit communities, including communities of color, one-third of funding will be targeted to businesses with a primary business location within the 715 census tracts designated as eligible to be selected as an Opportunity Zone. 

Phase 4, Small Business Emergency Assistance

newjerseyeda 🚨Reminders as we get set to launch Phase 4 of our Small Biz Emergency Assistance Grant Program: ✅Pre-registration opens tomorrow @ 9am
☑️Pre-registration is NOT first-come, first served ✅You MUST pre-register to apply bit.ly/NJEDA_Phase4 (via IG). 

“The economic impact this pandemic has wreaked in New Jersey is still being felt one year after it started, and it has disproportionally affected woman- and minority-owned businesses. The $85 million in additional funds committed to Phase 4 of the Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program will directly and expeditiously help these businesses stabilize their operations and minimize potential furlough or layoffs,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. “Businesses that are still struggling cannot wait for assistance and we are working uninterruptedly at the NJEDA to ensure that our communities don’t just survive the pandemic, but emerge from it stronger, fairer, and ready to rebuild.”

The Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program was created to provide funding as efficiently and quickly as possible to small and medium-sized businesses that needed payroll and working capital support as a result of adverse economic impacts following the March 9, 2020 declaration of a State of Emergency and a Public Health Emergency. Since the launch of Phase 1 of the program on April 6, 2020, the Authority has approved nearly 44,000 grant applications representing over $214 million in total grant funding awarded through Phases 1 – 3.  The program has evolved with each phase to offer expanded eligibility and award amounts.

What you can expect from Phase 4

Phase 4 funds aim to reimburse lost revenue as result of the business interruption caused by the pandemic between March 1, 2020 and the date of the grant agreement, providing the necessary resources to any eligible business that has been temporarily shut down, has been required to reduce hours, has had at least a 20 percent drop in revenue, has been materially impacted by employees who cannot work due to the outbreak, or has a supply chain that has materially been disrupted and therefore slowed firm-level production during the pandemic.

Phase 4 once again increases the amount of funding available to businesses. Grant awards will be calculated based on the number of full-time equivalent employees (FTEs) businesses employ. Micro-businesses with five or fewer FTEs and sole proprietorships will receive up to $10,000; businesses with six to 25 FTEs will receive up to $15,000; and businesses with 26 to 50 FTEs will receive up to $20,000. A grant size estimator is available here.

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To maximize the funding businesses can receive in Phase 4, grant awards will be based on the peak FTE count from a business’s past eight quarters of WR-30 filings. Businesses must use funds from the Grant Program for reimbursement of lost revenue as a result of business interruption caused by the pandemic. Businesses may not use grant funds for capital expenses.

The $85,000,000 in funds available through Phase 4 will be allocated as follows:

  • Restaurants: $35 million of funding to support businesses classified as “Food Services and Drinking Places” under NAICS code 722, given the disproportionate impact these businesses have experienced due to the pandemic, including caps on on-location dining and unusual costs they incurred to adapt their business models for safe operations.
  • Child Care Providers: $10 million of funding to support businesses classified as “Child Day Care Services” under NAICS code 624410, given the disproportionate impact these businesses have experienced due to the pandemic, including caps on capacity numbers and unusual costs they incurred to adapt their business models for safe operations.
  • Micro-businesses: $25 million of funding to support businesses that have had 5 or fewer FTEs in each of their past eight quarters of WR-30 filings (including businesses with no FTEs), given the unique financial vulnerability experienced because of the pandemic by micro-businesses, which typically have lower financial reserves.
  • Other small businesses (6-50 FTE): The remaining $15 million of funding will support businesses that are not eligible under the micro-business category. 

How to Apply 

Applications will become available on a rolling basis following the pre-registration period (April 19, 2021, 9:00 a.m. to April 29, 2021, 5:00 p.m.) Pre-registered applicants will need to return to https://programs.njeda.com/en-US/ to complete an application based on the following schedule:

  • Businesses that did not apply for, or were not approved for Phase 3 funding – 9:00 a.m. on May 3, 2021
  • Restaurants and child care providers – 9:00 a.m. on May 5, 2021
  • Micro businesses (five or fewer FTEs) – 9:00 a.m. on May 10, 2021
  • All other small businesses, excluding restaurants, micro businesses, and child care providers – 9:00 a.m. on May 12, 2021

Applications for each category will be open for a period of one week and will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis, based upon the date and time the Authority receives a completed application submission.

The NJEDA is partnering with three leading marketing agencies to coordinate strategic outreach to targeted communities. Tara Dowdell Group, Medina=Citi, and 360 Marketing and PR were selected to support these outreach efforts based on their established connections to diverse communities across the state. All three firms are minority- and/or woman-owned.

The NJEDA is providing the online pre-registration and application in English and Spanish and offering applicants access to interpretation services to support speakers of ten additional languages – Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese), Gujarati, Hindi, Italian, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, and Tagalog.

In addition to the Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program, the NJEDA administers a variety of technical assistance and low-cost financing programs for small and mid-sized businesses impacted by COVID-19. More information about these programs and other State support is available at https://business.nj.gov/covid or call 844-965-1125.

Immigrant mixed-households to receive stimulus checks

New stimulus checks are coming for jobless Americans. After months of negotiations, lawmakers struck a $900 billion COVID-19 stimulus deal. The new stimulus package was passed by the Senate earlier this week, just in time as nearly 12 million Americans are set to lose unemployment benefits the day after Christmas. 

People should start receiving their stimulus checks as early as next week. Checks will be sent via direct deposit for those with bank accounts.  In the spring, physical checks were mailed to Americans who didn’t have a bank account or for those the federal government didn’t have direct deposit information.

So what can we expect from the new stimulus package and who will be eligible to receive a stimulus check? Well, there have been some changes from the last stimulus package, one of the biggest being that mixed-status immigrant households will be eligible. 

Here’s what the stimulus package includes:

  • Americans who earned up to $75,000 in 2019 will receive a $600 direct payment. That is less than the $1,200 checks approved in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act in March. 
  • It provides $600 per child, up from $500 in the spring. The bill also includes $1,200 for couples making up to $150,000 a year.
  • The size of the benefit would be reduced for those earning more than $75,000, or $150,000 per married couple, similar to the last round of stimulus checks.
  • There is no cap on the number of children a household can claim, so a family of four would receive up to $2,400.

Who is eligible for stimulus checks:

  • For the first time, mixed-status households, or those where a family member doesn’t have a Social Security number, will be eligible to receive stimulus payments. This is a key change from the CARES Act.
  • Those without Social Security numbers, still aren’t eligible. But it would allow U.S. citizens who are married to foreign nationals without Social Security numbers to receive the aid.

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What else is included in the package?

The stimulus package will also include unemployment benefits will also extend all pandemic unemployment programs set to expire at the end of December by an additional 11-weeks through mid-March. 

The measure will also provide a federal unemployment benefit of $300 per week for up to 11 weeks. This however is less than the $600 previously provided under the CARES Act. 

Additionally, the stimulus package will include an extension of the small business Paycheck Protection Program, which expanded eligibility to local newspapers, broadcasters and nonprofits. It will direct another $20 billion to small business grants and $15 billion to live event venues.

Gov. Phil Murphy announces $100 million CARES Act funding for NJ small businesses affected by COVID-19

COVID-19 had hit small businesses the hardest, with many having to shut down for extended periods of time and severely limit their services leading to loss of revenue and financial hardship. Luckily relief is on the way for New Jersey small businesses as Gov. Murphy announces $100 million in additional CARES Act funding to support NJ residents and businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.   

CARES Act funding to support NJ businesses

It’s no secret that COVID-19 has had a severe impact on the global economy. For months, businesses came to a screeching halt and for states like New Jersey, where small businesses are integral to the economy, local communities felt the economic blow hard. 

“Small businesses and the people they employ are the backbone of New Jersey’s economy, yet they have borne a disproportionate share of the burden of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Governor Murphy. “If we are to emerge from this pandemic stronger and more resilient than we were before, it is incumbent on us to support them in any way possible. This additional funding helps us accomplish that goal.”

The additional aid comes as a relief to many NJ restaurant and small business owners who have struggled the most during this time. The bulk of the money, $70 million, will be distributed to restaurants, microbusinesses, and other small businesses through Phase 3 of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program. An additional $10 million will be used to help small businesses purchase Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) through the NJEDA Small and Micro Business PPE Access Program. 

Phase 3 of the Grant Program expands eligibility to any business with 50 or fewer full-time equivalent employees (FTEs) and increases the amount of funding businesses can receive. To ensure funds flow to businesses that need them most, Phase 3 includes set-asides for grants to restaurants and micro-businesses. $35 million will be dedicated to support businesses classified as “Food Services and Drinking Places” under NAICS code 722 and $15 million will be directed to support “micro-businesses” that have five or fewer employees. The remaining $20 million will be available to support any eligible business.

“I want to commend our state leaders for working together to get the federal coronavirus relief dollars we passed last spring into the hands of those who need it most,” said U.S. Senator Bob Menendez.  “This $100 million fund announced today by the Governor and our legislative leaders comes from the money we in Congress included in the CARES Act to help combat the economic fallout of this pandemic.  The federal money will help struggling New Jersey small businesses stay open, help them get the personal protective gear they need to keep employees and customers safe, and provide additional rental and food assistance to residents who need it most.”

In line with Governor Murphy’s commitment to a stronger, fairer recovery, one third of each of these pools will be directed to support entities that are located in census tracts that were eligible to be selected as a New Jersey Opportunity Zone.

 The Administration is also providing $10 million of additional CARES Act funding to support the Authority’s Small and Micro Business PPE Access Program. Launching in late October, this program will utilize an innovative public-private partnership model to enable businesses with 100 employees or fewer to receive grants in the form of automatic discounts on PPE purchased through NJEDA-approved “Designated Vendors”.

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 “Supporting small businesses is vital to ensuring New Jersey’s economy withstands the immediate impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and is well-positioned for a strong recovery. The Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program and the PPE Access Program are powerful tools that will help thousands of business owners and employees face the challenges the pandemic has created,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. “Governor Murphy’s strong leadership throughout this outbreak and commitment to supporting these critical programs will provide immediate relief to the business owners and workers who need it most while continuing our progress toward a stronger, fairer recovery.”

Launched in early April, the Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program provides grants to small businesses impacted by the pandemic. To date, over 19,000 small businesses have benefited from the program.

Additional relief for renters and food banks 

The pandemic has also had a devastating impact on many vulnerable NJ families. To help protect them the Administration will also provide $15 million more in rent relief for New Jersey tenants through the DCA’s COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program. This program reduces the burden renters face by paying landlords directly for up to six months. The funding announced today will cover rent incurred from August 1, 2020 through December 30, 2020. Payments per household will depend on a variety of factors such as location, rental market, family size, and average per household income.  

“The additional support we are providing will extend relief to tenants so they can focus their limited resources on staying safe and secure,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver, who serves as DCA Commissioner.

Photo by Joel Muniz on Unsplash

Lastly, $5 million will go toward supporting food banks and other hunger relief efforts. 

“The coronavirus outbreak has exacerbated existing hunger issues and has created new struggles for families who have lost jobs and wages,” said NJ Agriculture Secretary Douglas Fisher. 

The CARES Act funding will go toward helping New Jersey’s food banks, pantries, and soup kitchens expand their capacity for these continually increased demands so that they can help feed more NJ families in need.