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NJEDA announces Henri and Ida relief grant to support recovery for small businesses 

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) announced the approval of the Henri/Ida Business Assistance Grant Program. The $10.5 million program will provide short-term, immediate rent/mortgage reimbursement in grants of $1,000 to $5,000 for NJ businesses and non-profits that suffered physical damage from the effects of recent tropical storms Henri and Ida.

The NJEDA expects to launch an online application for the program at 9:00 a.m. on Friday, September 17th. 

About the Henri/Ida Grant Program

The Henri/Ida Business Assistance Grant Program will provide support to businesses and non-profits impacted by hurricanes Henri and Ida that have up to 50 full-time equivalent employees as reported on their last WR-30 form (Q2 2021) with the NJ Department of Labor and Workforce Development (DOL) and have a commercial location in the State that suffered physical damage as a result of tropical storms Henri and Ida. 

NJEDA

“Countless New Jersey businesses endured the wrath of Tropical Storms Henri and Ida in recent weeks, and today’s action by the NJEDA’s Board will allow us to move swiftly to help those businesses in need,” said Governor Murphy. “Time is clearly of the essence and we are determined to get funds out to businesses and non-profits as quickly as possible.”

Of the $10.5 million, $10 million will be available for businesses and non-profits impacted by Ida and $500,000 will be available for businesses and non-profits impacted by Henri. Additionally, to ensure grants reach the hardest hit communities, including communities of color, one-third of the $10 million in 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.

 

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“The NJEDA shares Governor Murphy’s sense of urgency as we work to provide support to small businesses and non-profits dealing with the impact of Henri and Ida,” said NJEDA CEO Tim Sullivan. “The need for assistance is particularly dire, as these storms occurred just as New Jersey was emerging from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s more critical than ever that we do our best to help impacted entities return to normal operations so they may continue their role as the economic drivers of New Jersey’s communities.”

Grant eligibility requirements 

Landlords and home-based businesses are not eligible for grant funding through this program. To be eligible, the applying entity must:

  • Provide certification of an unmet need due to damage and/or business interruption.
    • This includes, but is not limited to, flooding, interior or exterior damage to the building structure, roof damage, and siding damage, all of which are directly related to tropical storm Henri and Ida. Loss of power alone will not be considered physical damage.
  • Provide documentation of physical damage to the applicant’s physical commercial location.
  • Have been in operation on August 1, 2021.
  • Present a valid Employer Identification Number (EIN).
  • Submit recent wage reporting form (WR30), if applicable.
  • Submit evidence of an August rent/mortgage payment of at least $1,000 as well as have a need that is greater than $1,000.
  • Be registered to do business in the State of New Jersey, as evidenced by a valid Business Registration Certificate.
  • Be in good standing with the Department of Taxation and DOL, and if applicable, the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control, the Department of Children and Families, and/or the Department of Human Services.
  • Complete an affidavit identifying all funding sources related to recovery from tropical storms Henri and Ida, including prior grants, insurance, and Small Business Administration loans and grants.
  • Comply with any additional requirements that may apply.

You may be interested: Hurricane Ida leaves vulnerable communities in ruin

Application process

Business owners and non-profit leaders are asked to thoroughly document all physical damage as they prepare to apply for assistance through this and any future programs, including taking clear photographs and saving receipts for repairs and associated materials.

Online applications for the Henri/Ida Business Assistance Grant Program will be available at programs.njeda.com at 9:00 a.m. on Friday, September 17th, 2021.

Applicants who have not applied for NJEDA assistance in the past will need to create a new Username and Password. Applicants who have previously applied for NJEDA COVID-19 relief programs can use their existing Username and Password. The NJEDA encourages anyone considering applying to visit programs.njeda.com prior to September 17th to create a new Username and Password or to verify that they remember their existing Username and Password.

Applications will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis, based upon the date in which the Authority receives a completed application submission.

Businesses whose applications are denied will have the right to appeal. Appeals must be filed within the timeframe set in the declination letter (which must be at least 3 days but no longer than 10 days).

For more information, visit NJEDA Henri and Ida Relief

ICE detention contracts banned from New Jersey prisons

New Jersey bans local and private jails from entering into new ICE detention contracts as Gov. Murphy signs bill into law. 

Under the new law, local and private jails in New Jersey are now banned from “entering into, renewing, or extending immigration detention agreements”  with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The bill was quietly signed into law by Gov. Phil Murphy last Friday, making N.J. the fifth state to limit or ban contracts with ICE. 

“This win has been a long time coming, not just for immigrants in New Jersey but for every family separated by detention. Our state now joins the handful of others who are spearheading the fight to end ICE detention nationwide,” said Amy Torres, executive director of the New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice in a statement.

Advocates push for termination of all ICE detention contracts 

While the new law is a great step forward in ending the inhuman detainment of immigrants, it does not affect current ICE contracts, only future ones. In Bergen and Hudson county, long-term contracts still stand. Additionally, a private jail in Elizabeth recently extended its contract until 2023 while the bill waited to be signed. 

“The people inside are the ones being impacted by the delay,” said Chia-Chia Wang of the American Friends Service Committee. “I can only say it’s a hard lesson learned, but I don’t know if that can fully describe the real hardships people face inside.”

For years, counties such as Bergen, Essex, and Hudson defended the controversial practice of immigrant detention, which allowed the counties to rake in millions by charging ICE as much as $120 daily per detainee. However, recently the Democrats running these counties have shifted in their stance toward the practice, with Essex County announcing in April that it would cut its contracts with ICE and the other counties hinting they would be open to terminating their contracts as well

State Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (Image source)

Advocates are now pushing for more action, hoping to build momentum following the victory of this bill. Many are concerned about the hardships immigrants will face in the remaining facilities still under contract with ICE, especially as the COVID-19 Delta variant continues to spread. Wang has called for all N.J. ICE contracts to be terminated, and other advocates and officials continue to speak out and push back against ICE. 

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State Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, D-Bergen, a main sponsor of the law, chimed in stating “county jails and other entities should be used to house people accused of real crimes, not to arbitrarily hold people who are trying to live their lives and contribute like anyone else.”

“Many of these individuals are immigrants who have lived in New Jersey for years, enriching our communities, and strengthening local economies,” Weinberg added. “This is a common sense bill and a humane one.”

Last chance to pre-register for NJEDA Phase 4 of the Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program 

Pre-registration for Phase 4 of the Small Business Emergency Assistance grant program will close tomorrow, June 30th, at 5:00 p.m. EDT. Small businesses and nonprofits that missed previous deadlines to apply have another chance. 

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) announced that it reopened pre-registration for Phase 4 of its Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program back in late-May. The June 30th deadline is now quickly approaching. Read on to learn how you can pre-register and take advantage of this opportunity. 

Since the initial launch of the Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program back in April of 2020, the NJEDA has distributed more than $259 million in aid to some 55,000 businesses across the state.

Recently, Governor Phil Murphy announced the allocation of $200 million in additional funds to help fulfill Phase 4 grant applications. Small business owners and non-profits that have not previously applied for Phase 4 grants may pre-register as a preliminary step toward applying for grants of up to $20,000.

The $200 million in additional funds will continue to support the most adversely affected businesses in New Jersey, including: 

  • $20 million for bars and restaurants
  • $120 million for micro-businesses, $10 million for child care providers
  • $50 million for other small businesses and nonprofits with up to 50 full-time equivalent employees

“We’ve seen tens-of-thousands of small business owners in New Jersey benefit from this Grant Program offered by the NJEDA since it was initially launched in April of last year, so we’re very grateful to receive this additional funding that will help us fulfill many more requests for financial assistance,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. “Reopening Phase 4 will allow eligible small businesses and nonprofits in New Jersey apply for grants of up to $20,000 aimed to help them replace lost revenue during the pandemic and keep their doors open for business.”

Phase 4 funding is supporting 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, the NJEDA has assigned one-third of funding to businesses with a primary business location within the 715 census tracts designated as eligible to be selected as an Opportunity Zone. 

Last chance to pre-register for Phase 4. (Image Source: @newjerseyeda)

How to pre-register and apply for Phase 4 of the Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant

Interested business owners and non-profits will need to pre-register for Phase 4 here to access the application. Phase 4 Pre-registration reopened Wednesday, May 26th, 2021 and will remain open until Wednesday, June 30th, at 5:00 p.m. EDT. Don’t miss this opportunity. Register now! 

Applications will become available following the Phase 4 pre-registration period, as pre-registered applicants will be asked to return to https://programs.njeda.com/en-US/ to complete an application based on the following schedule:

  • Restaurants (Food Services and Drinking Places, NAICS begins with 722), Child Care Providers (NAICS code 624410) and Small Business (6 more Full Time Equivalent Employees): July 7, 2021, 9:00 a.m. EDT. 
  • Micro Business (5 or Less Full Time Equivalent Employees): July 8, 2021, 9:00 a.m. EDT.  

Applications will remain open through July 15, 2021, 5:00 pm EDT and will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis, based upon the date and time the Authority receives a completed application submission. Applicants must complete the full application to be considered for grant funding.

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.

Small businesses and nonprofits will need to show they have been negatively impacted during the declared state of emergency to be eligible for this grant. This includes businesses that have been temporarily shut down, have been required to reduce hours, have had at least a 20 percent drop in revenue, have been materially impacted by employees who cannot work due to the outbreak, or have a supply chain that has materially been disrupted and therefore slowed firm-level production during the pandemic.

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Need assistance with the application process? 

The NJEDA will continue to provide the online pre-registration and application in English and Spanish, 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.

 

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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. Businesses and nonprofits can use the Eligibility Wizard to identify which emergency assistance programs they may want to consider for their business’s specific needs. More information about these programs and other State support is available at https://business.nj.gov/covid or call 844-965-1125. 

To learn more about NJEDA resources for businesses call NJEDA Customer Care at 609-858-6767 or visit https://www.njeda.com and follow @NewJerseyEDA on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

minority and women

NJ Treasury announces greater opportunities for minority, women, and veteran owned businesses

The Department of the Treasury has announced several key initiatives that will advance the Murphy Administration’s commitment to ensuring Minority, Women, and Veteran-Owned Businesses (MWVOB) can more fully participate in New Jersey’s multi-billion dollar supply chain. These initiatives will include a disparity study, diversity portfolio manager, and new Minority and Women Business Enterprise (MWBE) regulations which will help create greater opportunities for minority, women, and veteran owned businesses. 

First disparity study in nearly 20 years 

Chief among these initiatives is the commissioning of the first disparity study in nearly 20 years. This study will measure current spend data, which is viewed as key to identifying and opening up new opportunities for MWVOBs to contract with the State of New Jersey to provide goods and services. The  study has been a priority for the Murphy Administration from day one. 

NJ Diver's licenses

Governor of New Jersey Phil Murphy

“This disparity study is not only long overdue, it is an integral part of our vision for a stronger, fairer, and more resilient, post-COVID economy that opens doors for diverse businesses to play a greater role in shaping our state’s future,” said Governor Phil Murphy. “This study will provide us with an opportunity to create a more equitable business environment, which is a win for us all.”

The study was announced last fall by State Treasurer Elizabeth Maher Muoio at the inaugural Garden State Minority-, Women- and Veteran-Owned Business Summit organized by Treasury’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion, which is headed up by the State’s Chief Diversity Officer Hester Agudosi.

“Recognizing how long it has been since the last study was conducted, we tried to ensure that this new study will capture as much data as possible, beyond just statistics that are available on our spend, but also including outreach to stakeholders and community groups as well,” said Treasurer Muoio. “This will give us the tools and the information necessary to determine where our strengths and weaknesses lie so we can implement more equitable procurement strategies moving forward. The state has a vast supply chain of goods, commodities, and professional and financial services and in a truly equitable society every qualified vendor in our state should have the opportunity to participate in the economy fueled by their tax dollars.”  

The Office of Diversity and Inclusion will oversee the effort, which is the first study of its kind to be commissioned by the State since 2003 and will be conducted by Mason Tillman Associates, LTD. 

The goal of the study  is to research, structure, and conduct a comprehensive and legally defensible disparity study of the State’s contract awards in construction, goods, and services over a five year period (July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2020) to determine whether there is a disparity between the number of qualified minority, women, and veteran-owned businesses ready, willing, and able to perform services, and the number of vendors/contractors actually engaged to perform such services. 

The disparity study will include a review of contracts for construction, goods, commodities, and services and shall be appropriately structured so that the state may, if appropriate, use the information to create race- and/or gender-neutral, and if necessary, race- and gender-conscious methods of achieving those goals for state contracts and employment by state vendors.

“This is a critical time as the COVID-19 crisis has laid bare the structural disparities that have persisted in this country and state with the greatest impact on Black and Latinx communities,” said Chief Diversity Officer Hester Agudosi. “Entrepreneurship is an essential driver of societal health and wealth, and a formidable engine of economic growth.  The findings and recommendations brought forth from the study will enable the state to address any disparities that may exist in public contracting and level the playing field for diverse business owners and entrepreneurs.”

Diversity Portfolio Manager to manage State’s pension fund 

Additionally, Treasurer Muoio also announced the hiring of lifelong New Jersey resident Edward Ramos for the newly created position of Diversity Portfolio Manager within the Division of Investment (DOI). Ramos holds both an MBA and CFA and has over 25 years of experience investing in over 50 different countries where he has a demonstrated track record of success and a long history with public pension plan clients. 

Ramos will be an integral part of DOI’s ongoing efforts to identify a wider universe of diverse investment fund managers, brokers, consultants, and advisers to help manage the State’s roughly $80 billion pension fund.

“Having been born and raised in the Garden State, I personally know quite a number of the 800,000 pension beneficiaries who are relying on our team at the Division of Investment to provide them the best returns possible for their retirement funds in return for the hard work and dedicated careers they provided to the state,” said Ramos. “As an investment professional for over 25 years, I am bringing my unique global experiences and strong network in the universe of diverse portfolio managers and funds to cast the net wider in our search for true talent in pursuit of higher returns.”

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Under the Murphy Administration, DOI has demonstrated a commitment to increasing opportunities for MWBEs. Since January of 2018, $1.4 billion of $4.4 billion in new capital has been committed to MWBE (Minority and Women Business Enterprises) fund managers, representing 31% of all newly committed capital. By comparison, from 2013 to 2017, $1.23 billion – or 7.25% – in new capital was committed to MWBE fund managers.

With the creation of the new position of Diversity Portfolio Manager and the hiring of Ramos, DOI hopes to build on its efforts to position New Jersey as a leader amongst public pension plans in utilizing a wider universe of diverse financial professionals.

Long-awaited overhaul of MWBE regulations 

Lastly, Treasury recently adopted new MWBE regulations that create a more business-friendly process for MWBE certification. The regulations are designed to streamline the procedures to become certified by: allowing for provisional certification, which is particularly helpful to companies in their infancy who may not have all the requisite documentation available just yet; creating an elongated three year certification period rather than requiring yearly recertification; establishing reciprocity with other certification entities, most importantly the federal Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE); and establishing a clear cut process for applicants to challenge a certification denial. 

The long-awaited overhaul of the regulations was proposed in mid-August after the previous administration had let the old regulations lapse. The newly proposed regulations underwent a public comment period that closed on October 16. They were approved for publication in mid-November and officially published in the New Jersey Register on December 21.

Any business looking to be certified as a small-, minority-, women-, veteran-, or disabled veteran-owned business should visit the Department of the Treasury’s online portal to get started on the application. Businesses can now become certified in more than one category for just one single fee.

 Any business looking to be notified about state procurement opportunities for goods and services should register their company with NJSTART, the State’s eProcurement system, at www.njstart.gov.

covid19 vaccination

COVID19 Vaccination marks historic day in New Jersey

As Covid19 vaccination marks a historic day in New Jersey, Gov. Phil Murphy, First Lady Tammy Murphy, University Hospital President and CEO Shereef Elnahal, State health Commissioner Judy Persichilli and Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo, Jr. walked around the University Hospital’s COVID-19 vaccine clinic at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School in Newark.
They watched the first five New Jersey healthcare workers being vaccinated. A small medical refrigerator stocked with thawed vaccines stood next to three computer screens at the end of the room.
covid19 vaccination

Governor Murphy, University Hospital President and CEO Dr. Shereef Elnahal, Department of Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School Dean Dr. Robert Johnson, and Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo, Jr. visit and inspect University Hospital’s COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic in Newark on Tuesday, December 15, 2020 (Edwin J. Torres 2020).

Maritza Beniquez, a resident nurse at the University Hospital emergency department, answered a series of questions from ambulatory care tech Sady Ferguson as pharmacists readied the coronavirus vaccine: Does she have allergies? Did she have a fever in the last 48 hours? Is she pregnant or planning on getting pregnant. Did she have recent exposure to COVID-19?“Every day in the emergency room,” Beniquez answered.

Maritza Beniquez was the first person in New Jersey to receive the vaccination. (Photo credit Edwin J. Torres 2020).

Covid19 vaccination starts with Pfizer vaccine

Beniquez smiled as Ferguson injected the Pfizer vaccine into her right arm at 8:10 a.m. on Tuesday, making her the first New Jerseyan to receive the coronavirus vaccine outside of clinical trials. She received her first dose of the two-dose vaccine on her 56th birthday at University Hospital’s COVID-19 vaccine clinic at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School in Newark.

“This is the best birthday present ever!” Beniquez said, as people clapped and cheered. “I can see that light at the end of the tunnel. This is it. It’s a great way to celebrate my birthday.”

Beniquez remained in her blue leather chair for fifteen minutes, until hospital staff told her she was free to go. She said she examined her arm after because she didn’t feel the shot.
Four other healthcare workers received Covid19 vaccinations during Murphy’s visit: Robert Johnson, dean of the Rutgers New Jersey Medical School; Justin Sambol, senior associate dean for clinical affairs at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School; Yvelisse Covington, medical office assistant in the Obstetrics and Gynecology Clinic at University Hospital; and Charles Farmer, an emergency room doctor at New Jersey Medical School.
Covid19 vaccination

Four other healthcare workers received vaccinations during Murphy’s visit: Robert Johnson, dean of the Rutgers New Jersey Medical School; Justin Sambol, senior associate dean for clinical affairs at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School; Yvelisse Covington, medical office assistant in the Obstetrics and Gynecology Clinic at University Hospital; and Charles Farmer, an emergency room doctor at New Jersey Medical School. (Photo credit Edwin J. Torres 2020).

On Tuesday, about 80 healthcare workers total will be inoculated at the University Hospital clinic. The clinic –which has the capacity to vaccinate 600 people a day–will be open from 8:30 to 7:00 p.m. each day, depending on supplies, according to Andre Emont, director of pharmaceutical services at University Hospital. The hospital received just under 3,000 doses in its first shipment.