The New Jersey Economic Development Authority is opening preregistration on April 19 at 9:00 a.m. for businesses to apply for some of the $85 million in COVID-19 monetary relief, with applications set to formally open at the start of May.
That preregistration process is a required first step to be considered for grant funding, according to the NJEDA, and will be open online until April 29 at 5:00 p.m.
“Certainly brighter days are ahead for small businesses … but this pandemic is still very real and very present,” Tim Sullivan, who heads the NJEDA, said at a remotely-held board meeting April 14.
Closures, reduced capacity, sanitization requirements and other COVID-19 restrictions have devastated businesses up and down the state, triggering some of the highest unemployment rates in decades.
Gov. Phil Murphy approved the $100 million in grant funding, paid for by the Trump-era federal COVID-19 relief package from 2020. GOP and Democratic lawmakers want a greater say in how $6.4 billion of upcoming federal aid would be used to help keep afloat businesses.
A $15 million pot of grant funding for pandemic-hit arts, theater and culture organizations will be jointly administered by the NJEDA and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. Applications for that will move forward at a later date, according to an NJEDA spokesperson.
According to the governor’s office, over the past year the NJEDA awarded $250 million in grants, low-interest loans and other forms of COVID-19 monetary relief to roughly 55,000 businesses.
Sullivan said that the grant money will “help these businesses stabilize their operations and minimize potential furlough or layoffs.”
Micro-businesses – those with up to five full time employees – are eligible for grants of up to $10,000, as are sole proprietors. One of the bills Murphy approved sets aside $25 million for that purpose.
Grants are capped at up to $15,000 for businesses with between six and 25 full-time employees and up to $20,000 for businesses with between 26 and 50 full-time employees. Grant sizes can be calculated online.
In addition to the micro-business funding, the state is setting aside $35 million for pandemic-hit bars and restaurants, $10 million for child care services, and $15 million for businesses that do not meet these other criteria.
Businesses that did not apply for or not get grants under a prior round of nearly $146 million of state grants can begin applying on May 3 at 9:00 a.m. Following that are restaurants and child care providers who can apply beginning two days later at 9:00 a.m. on May 5, then micro businesses at 9:00 a.m. on May 10, and any other businesses at 9:00 a.m. on May 12.