The deadline is just hours away for businesses to pre-register to apply for grants from a $70 million program for COVID-19 relief for small business.
As of press time, more than 23,000 businesses filled out mandatory pre-registration information that is due at 5 p.m. on Oct. 27 in order to apply for the state funds, according to Jake McNichol, a spokesperson for the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, which oversees the program.
More recent numbers were not immediately available. Pre-registration is not on a first-come, first-serve basis, but the applications are, according to the NJEDA.
Gov. Phil Murphy earlier in the month said that the money would be vital to “keep our economic recovery moving” and to “help businesses” not only “get through this pandemic but emerge primed and ready for growth.”
The money comes from the state’s $2.3 billion federal COVID-19 relief aid.
Roughly 14,000 businesses applied for NJEDA grants from a $45 million pool of money an hour after applications opened in July.
For the latest round, restaurants can apply beginning 9 a.m. on Oct. 29 and micro-businesses – those with up to five employees – can apply beginning 9 a.m. the next day. All other businesses can begin applying at 9 a.m. on Nov 2.
In any case, applicants have a whole week from when applications open online to submit.
“This will be a lifeline for businesses that have been struggling and will ensure that our communities don’t just survive the pandemic, but emerge from it stronger, fairer, and ready to rebuild,” NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan said in a statement earlier this month.
A third of the $70 million will go toward businesses within one of the state’s 715 communities considered federal opportunity zones – the poorest neighborhoods in New Jersey and the nation – even though the federal government picked just 169 communities.
Grants are limited to businesses with up to 50 “full-time employees,” those working at least 30 hours a week according to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.
Micro-businesses could get grants up to $5,000, businesses with between six and 25 full-time employees can get up to $10,000, and businesses with between 26 and 50 full-time employees can get up to $15,000 in grants.
The NJEDA is setting aside $35 million for foodservice businesses like restaurants and bars, and $15 million toward micro-businesses. Murphy last week vetoed a bill setting aside $30 million for the same purpose, because of this newly announced $35 million pot of money.
The remaining $20 million can go toward businesses of any type of industry.