EDA emergency grant program overwhelmed by applications on 1st day

CEO Tim Sullivan said he was expecting the New Jersey Economic Development Authority’s $5 million Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program to be oversubscribed. But he said he never expected anything like this.

Sullivan, speaking at the state’s daily coronavirus briefing Friday, said the EDA reached 10,000 applications at 10:16 a.m. — 76 minutes after it began taking them. By 1:30 p.m., Sullivan said, the number had reached 16,500.

File photo
Tim Sullivan of the NJEDA.

The program, which will give grants of $1,000-$5,000 to small businesses of 10 employees or fewer, will not likely give more than 2,000 grants. (The grant amount is based on the number of employees.)

Sullivan said the organization already has begun reviewing applications and that he hopes to be sending out awards by the end of next week.

The application center is expected to remain open until next Friday, but grants are being awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis.

There is, however, reason to continue to apply. Sullivan said that, if an additional round of money becomes available — and he stressed he was not promising that — companies would not need to resubmit an application.

“We’re going to be oversubscribed,” he said. “It’s first-come, first-serve, (but) we are letting people take, essentially, a deli ticket. If there are rounds of further funding, they will already be in line if they’ve got a complete application.

“No representation that there would be further funding, but if there was, that’s how we would approach it.”

Not all small businesses are eligible for this initial round of funding, which is targeted to a few specific sectors. It’s unclear if additional award would go to additional sectors.

Gov. Phil Murphy said the grant program is the right thing to do for small businesses.

“We said this is a health crisis; it’s also an economic crisis — felt by many individuals who have lost their jobs and certainly felt by our small business community,” he said.

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