Applications open for NJEDA’s Small Business Lease Assistance Program

EDA CEO Tim Sullivan talking about the proposed fund.

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority has opened up applications for its Small Business Lease Assistance Program, it announced Wednesday.

“Bringing small businesses back to New Jersey’s main streets and downtown areas is central to creating walkable, transit-accessible neighborhoods where people will choose to live and work,” Lt. Gov. Sheila Y. Oliver, who also serves as commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs, said.  “NJEDA’s Small Business Lease Assistance Program will help to attract new businesses, create new jobs, and lend a hand in community revitalization – it’s a win-win for New Jersey.”

The NJEDA said its program reimburses small businesses and nonprofits 15% of annual lease payments for two years when they rent market-rate, first-floor office, industrial or retail spaces in targeted cities throughout the state for a minimum of five years. The NJEDA also said it will only provide reimbursements on the first 5,000 square feet of leased space.

“Supporting small businesses that create good jobs for residents is a critical component of Gov. (Phil) Murphy’s plan to invest in communities,” NJEDA CEO Tim Sullivan said. “The Small Business Lease Assistance Program will provide businesses the support they need to get off the ground, helping to build more vibrant downtown areas that attract more businesses and the talent we need to build a competitive economy.”

The program is available in 13 cities, including five Garden State Growth Zones (Atlantic City, Camden, Trenton, Passaic and Paterson) as well as eight Urban Enterprise Zones (Bridgeton, Jersey City, Millville, Mount Holly, Phillipsburg, Plainfield, Salem and Vineland). In each municipality, the NJEDA said it can approve up to $100,000 in lease assistance per year for three years.

“The Small Business Lease Assistance Program is an important tool for creating vibrant, walkable communities,” Christina Fuentes, director of small business services at the NJEDA, said. “Small businesses are what make communities unique and helping them thrive is the best way to foster dynamic and inclusive cities and downtown areas that make New Jersey special.”