EDA set to distribute as much as $10M in grants to small businesses this week

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority will begin releasing an initial batch of awards from phase 2 of its Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program — possibly as much as $10 million — starting Monday morning.

Tim Sullivan, the CEO of the EDA, said the organization should be able to do a big batch this week.

“We’ll call those the easy ones — ones where there are no complications,” he told ROI-NJ. “They check all the boxes and come in clean.”

Others, Sullivan said, require a more manual review.

Having received Paycheck Protection Program funds from the federal government is the biggest reason an application would be held up.

Sullivan, however, stressed that fact does not eliminate a company’s ability to get a grant from the EDA.

“If you got PPP, it’s just a more complicated review,” Sullivan said. “It does not make you ineligible, it just means we have to look at more things to make sure it’s OK.”

The reason: You can’t get two federal grants for the same expenses,” Sullivan said.

“You have to be able to demonstrate more impact than just what you got for PPP, because this is federal money, and you can’t get paid twice,” he said. “The sad reality is almost everybody is going to have expenses drastically in excess of whatever support they’ve gotten.”

Sullivan said he expects the EDA to be awarding grants into July. Just how much grant money will be distributed is unclear.

When the EDA announced phase 2 — with $50 million from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act — officials said $5 million would be given to those on a waiting list from phase 1 and $15 million would be set aside for companies located in Opportunity Zones.

That left $30 million. But that number is changing. The EDA is now set to distribute $10 million of funds that were given to both Essex and Passaic counties — with the monies obviously earmarked for businesses in those counties.

The EDA remains hopeful it will be able to do the same for other counties, which makes sense, since it has the infrastructure set up. EDA officials said they are hopeful of announcing an additional county this week.

Sullivan had said previously that he figured slightly more than half of the more than 30,000 companies that applied would get a grant.

He also said those whose applications are rejected should not give up. He suggested they appeal the decision.

Often times, it’s just a matter of the application being incomplete or needing clarification, Sullivan said.

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