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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

SIA Scotch Whiskey, The Entrepreneurial Spirit Fund,

SIA Scotch Whisky partners with Hello Alice to launch groundbreaking new entrepreneurship fund

Did you know that in the United States, multicultural entrepreneurs have reportedly received only a 2% share of venture capital annually over the last decade? SIA Scotch Whisky, an award-winning spirits brand founded by a first generation Hispanic entrepreneur, is looking to help bridge this gap by partnering with Hello Alice and celebrated activist, actor and producer Wilmer Valderrama to launch The Entrepreneurial Spirit Fund by SIA Scotch. Spearheaded by SIA’s founder Carin Luna-Ostaseski and inspired by her journey of building the brand from the ground up, this initiative aims to challenge conventions and inspire others to achieve the unexpected.

SIA Scotch Whiskey, The Entrepreneurial Spirit Fund,

Carin Luna-Ostaseski and group (PRNewsfoto/SIA Scotch Whisky)

This new grant program will deploy a quarter of a million dollars to multicultural small business owners in need of support, especially after the additional challenges they face because of COVID-19. It will also offer recipients access to mentorship opportunities with SIA’s founder, who is one of the first Hispanic people in history to create a Scotch Whisky, and who faced many challenges during her own entrepreneurship journey. 

SIA Scotch Whiskey, The Entrepreneurial Spirit Fund,

Carin Luna-Ostaseski, Founder of SIA Scotch Whisky (PRNewsfoto/SIA Scotch Whisky)

“SIA Scotch Whisky was born out of passion, determination and perseverance – the same characteristics that drive many other entrepreneurs. As a first generation Cuban American, I experienced so many uphill battles, from securing funding to dealing with regulations and securing investors,” said Carin Luna-Ostaseski. “But, after finally getting crowdfunded on Kickstarter and seeing those first bottles on shelves, I knew my purpose was to help inspire other underrepresented entrepreneurs achieve their dreams too. I am so proud of The Entrepreneurial Spirit Fund and its mission to embrace the cultural diversity that helps define our country.”

The Entrepreneurial Spirit Fund by SIA Scotch launches in partnership with Hello Alice, a free online platform that guides business owners through the growth of their company and matches individuals with the resources to make their dreams a reality.

“Now, more than ever, it’s important to recognize the impact that multicultural small businesses have on their communities,” said Elizabeth Gore, President & Cofounder, Hello Alice. “In the last 10 years, multicultural entrepreneurs have represented over 50% of new businesses started and created 4.7 million new jobs, yet they are largely excluded in funding. We are thrilled to be continuing our support for this community in partnership with SIA Scotch Whisky.”

You might be interested: Say ‘Hello Alice’ to the platform that is opening doors for small businesses and new entrepreneurs

SIA Scotch Whiskey, The Entrepreneurial Spirit Fund,

Wilmer Valderrama joins SIA Scotch Whisky (PRNewsfoto/SIA Scotch Whisky)

Additionally, activist, actor and producer Wilmer Valderrama joins The Entrepreneurial Spirit Fund as partner, continuing his ongoing tireless mission to push for diversity and inclusion. “Supporting the progress and perseverance of multicultural entrepreneurs who are trying to achieve their dreams and disrupt the status quo is incredibly important to me. I’m so honored to partner with SIA Scotch Whisky on The Entrepreneurial Spirit Fund and I believe that their work will make a big impact, especially during these difficult times,” said Wilmer Valderrama

The Entrepreneurial Spirit Fund by SIA Scotch will award $10,000 grants to 25 qualifying entrepreneurs who self-identify as people of color, for a total of $250,000. To apply, visit siascotchfund.helloalice.com. To be eligible, the business owner must be a citizen or legal permanent resident of the United States, 25 years or older, and must operate in at least one of the following states where SIA is sold: California, Florida, Illinois, Nevada, New York and/or Texas. For complete eligibility criteria and important restrictions, visit the application site. Applications are open now through August 10, 2021, grant recipients will be announced by September 14, 2021 and funding will be distributed by October 8, 2021.

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”.

You might be interested: Additional Paycheck Protection Program Loan (PPP) calculation for small business

 “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.

financial assistance, Women's March on Washington

State by state financial assistance in response to harsh requirements for SBA loans

State by state financial assistance seems to be the only hope in this moment of COVID-19 crisis. The SBA loans harsh requirements are selective of which businesses are going to survive and which are going to close their doors forever. The real answer seems to be coming from state legislations and how each state government evaluates the needs of its constituents.

The NJ EDA is asking all small businesses to urgently participate in a survey to help make quick decisions on how to allocate funding. Fill out the survey at the end of the article if your business is in New Jersey.

Women's March on Washington

The Economic Injury Disaster Loans are no different from any other SBA response: good credit, collateral and ability to repay, in addition to a max 3.75% interest rate, are required in a moment in which uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic’s economic impact is the number one concern small businesses face.

This economic impact is not measurable in the way a natural disaster would be. There is not end in sight, and when it ends, there is no certainty of how long it would take for businesses to recover.

Other state bills are asking for more comprehensive financial assistance

In contrast, House Small Business Committee Chairwoman Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY) introduced the COVID–19 Relief for Small Businesses Act of 2020, comprehensive legislation that would provide relief to small businesses facing consequences from the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.

financial assistance

Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY)

“After speaking with my Committee colleagues and hearing firsthand of the struggles facing countless small businesses due to the coronavirus pandemic, I am introducing sweeping legislation to tackle the economic hardship and fallout facing our nation’s employers and workers,” said Chairwoman Velázquez. “This bill offers across the board solutions from channeling capital to small businesses in need by providing zero-interest direct loans, grants, and loan debt relief, to increasing access to federal contracts, and equipping entrepreneurial development centers with the technology they need to serve entrepreneurs remotely.”

Key components of the bill include:

  • The creation of an SBA Business Stabilization Direct Loan Program that authorizes $100 billion to offer interest-free loans with up to 50% loan forgiveness to qualified employers.
  • The authorization of $100 billion to provide up to $100,000 in direct grants for small businesses impacted by COVID-19. These grants would be targeted to businesses that have had to close their doors temporarily due to the outbreak.
  • Immediate loan debt relief to current and new SBA borrowers.
  • Expediting and streamlining the SBA’s economic injury disaster loan program to ensure small businesses can access cash easier and faster.
  • The authorization of additional grant funding to allow SBA resource partners to ensure they can provide education and marketing materials to educate small business customers on the public health emergency and steps to protect the business and maintain operations.
  • Amending several contracting provisions to provide more opportunities for small businesses affected by the outbreak to quickly and efficiently be awarded government contracts.

Now compare these options with the actual SBA Economic Injury Loans:

To be eligible for EIDL assistance, New Jersey-based small businesses or private non-profit organizations must have sustained economic injury, as well as being located in a disaster-declared county or contiguous county, which all New Jersey counties currently are.

Credit Requirements

  • Credit History – Applicants must have a credit history acceptable to SBA.
  • Repayment – Applicants must show the ability to repay the loan.
  • Collateral – Collateral is required for all EIDL loans over $25,000. SBA takes real estate as collateral when it is available.
  • SBA will not decline a loan for lack of collateral, but SBA will require the borrower to pledge collateral that is available
  • The interest rate is determined by formulas set by law and is fixed for the life of the loan. The maximum interest rate for this program is 3.750 percent.
  • The law authorizes loan terms up to a maximum of 30 years. SBA will determine an appropriate installment payment based on the financial condition of each borrower, which in turn will determine the loan term.

lack of access to capital

In any case, we will have to wait and see how the response is state by state.

The problem is, families depending on their employers and small business owners themselves don’t have much time to wait. Thousands of small business have been force to close due to the quarantine.

The NJ Economic Development Authority  in partnership with the Office of the Governor of New Jersey, is working to develop programs and resources to support New Jersey’s business community during the COVID-19 outbreak.

SMALL-TO-MEDIUM ENTERPRISE (SME) FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE SURVEY

They’re seeking information from small-to-medium enterprise owners and leaders to inform the development of new programs and initiatives to support organizations during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The survey can be accessed at this link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CVSupport.

They are trying to generate responses quickly as they will use this information to guide the development of short-term support that will be launched imminently.

You might be interested: Beyond COVID-19: Be proactive about your business cash flow

SBA Loan applications

If you want to take the plunge, here are the different ways the SBA is accepting applications. And good luck trying to enter the website!

Applicants may apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information and download applications at disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.

Applicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov for more information on SBA disaster assistance. Individuals who are deaf or hard-of-hearing may call (800) 877-8339.

Completed financial assistance applications should be mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155

Technical Assistance for Applying for SBA EIDL Loans

The State of New Jersey is currently developing plans to offer technical assistance to businesses that wish to apply for SBA disaster loans. As new information about these resources become available, it will be posted here.

Updated: March 20, 2020
Source: SBA Disaster Assistance in Response to the Coronavirus