The board of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority is expected to approve a desire to make veterans organizations and business/industry groups eligible for the $45 million Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program, which will begin accepting applications Tuesday.
The change will allow all 501(c) nonprofit organizations to apply for what is the second phase of the program — which is intended to provide grants of up to $10,000 to small businesses and nonprofits impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
The change will not be formally approved until later in the day Tuesday, but EDA head Tim Sullivan is encouraging these types of organization to apply at 9 a.m., when the application goes live, to ensure they will not miss out.
“While this change in eligibility is contingent upon the board’s approval, all 501(c) organizations can apply for funding, along with other eligible small businesses and nonprofit organizations, to enable them to apply before the program becomes oversubscribed,” Sullivan said.
In addition, one-third of funding allocated to Phase 2 will be reserved for businesses in any of the 715 census tracts that were eligible to be selected as a New Jersey Opportunity Zone. Business owners can check if their business is located in an eligible zone using the OZ Mapping Tool.
The grant application will be available (again, at 9 a.m. Tuesday) in English and Spanish. A sample application that business owners can use to prepare is available in English, Spanish and 10 additional languages (Arabic, Chinese [Mandarin and Cantonese], Gujarati, Hindi, Italian, Korean, Polish, Portuguese and Tagalog) at cv.business.nj.gov.
Grants will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.
State Sen. Vin Gopal (D-Ocean Twp.), who chairs the state Senate Military and Veterans Affairs Committee, said the state needs to support its veterans.
“Veterans services organizations provide a safety net for men and women who have sacrificed for our country as they return to their everyday lives,” he said. “It is our duty to make sure they have they have the mental health, financial and career resources they need to successfully make that transition.”
Phase 1 of the grant program launched April 3. It had only $5 million in NJEDA funds and only 501(c)(3), 501(c)(4), and 501(c)(7) organizations were eligible to apply for grants of up to $5,000. The program was quickly oversubscribed.
The change being proposed to the NJEDA board Tuesday would enable all types of 501(c) nonprofit entities to apply for grants of up to $10,000. This includes 501(c)(6) organizations, the designation for membership-based business and industry groups, as well as 501(c)(19) veterans organizations.
Eligibility changes for Phase 2 included increasing the employee cap for businesses from 10 full-time employees to 25 FTEs and remove the North American Industry Classification System code restrictions that were in place for Phase 1 to allow almost all businesses as well as certain nonprofit organizations to qualify for funding. Phase 2 also makes grants available to home-based businesses and sole proprietorships, which were ineligible during Phase 1.
“The proposed expansion of eligibility for the Small Business Emergency Grant Program will ensure the continuity of crucial resources and services that sustain our communities,” Sullivan said. “We encourage all 501(c) organizations interested in pursuing grants to apply when the application goes live at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, June 9.”
As part of the application, the business’s CEO or equivalent officer must certify that the company was in operation on Feb. 15, 2020, has been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak and will make a best effort not to furlough or lay off any employees.
To comply with duplication of benefits provisions within the Stafford Act, all applicants will also be required to fill out an affidavit identifying all funding previously received related to COVID-19, including Small Business Administration loans and grants, forgivable portions of Payroll Protection loans, and Economic Injury Disaster grants.