The $20 million Camden County CARES Small Business Grant Program was off to a booming start on its opening day Thursday, as more than 1,000 applications had been processed by 1 p.m.
The county, using money it received from the federal CARES Act, is awarding grants of up to $10,000 — depending on the size of the company and its revenue.
Freeholder Director Louis Cappelli Jr. said the county is doing everything it can to get the grants out to businesses as soon as possible.
“We hope to process these applications and get money into the hands of Camden County’s small business owners quickly, so that these funds can immediately be used to maintain and stabilize their operations,” Cappelli said.
“Small business proprietors and principals who have not yet applied should head to camdencountycares.com to complete their application as soon as possible while funds are still available. We expect to see significant interest in this program due to the pandemic’s widespread impact on the local economy.”
Grants could start going out to businesses by the end of the month.
County officials said applicants can apply directly at camdencountycares.com or by calling 833-487-0462. Applications will remain open until all funds have been awarded. Funding is available on a first-come, first-served basis, and operations that have not received federal support will be prioritized.
In order to qualify for a Camden County CARES Small Business Grant, the applicant must meet the following criteria:
- Business revenue has been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic;
- The business has been located in Camden County since Jan. 1, 2019, or earlier;
- The business employed 25 employees or full-time equivalents as of March 1, 2020; and
- The business earned $5 million or less in total revenue during 2019.
The business must not operate in any of the following categories:
- Banks or other financial institutions;
- Businesses where the primary products or services are oriented to specific ages (vaping, liquor stores, etc.); or
- Franchises, except for those franchises that are completely locally owned and operated.
U.S. Rep. Donald Norcross (D-1st Dist.) has been working in partnership with the county governing body to get federal funds back into the community as quickly as possible.
“The CARES Act has delivered critical federal resources to local governments, and I applaud Camden County’s innovation in creating this grant program to help small businesses who need it most,” Norcross said. “These grants will provide vital funding to the small businesses that power our local economy and that need our support during the ongoing public health crisis.”
Christine Renna, the CEO of the Chamber of Commerce Southern New Jersey, said this funding will be critical for the small businesses in the region.
“We know that our members are going through one of the toughest times in the modern era when it comes to running and operating a small business,” Renna said. “That said, we are proud to partner with Camden County as they get much-needed federal grant funds out to the business community during this time of significant need.”
The grant awards are built on businesses’ total 2019 revenue. Those that earned less than $25,000 could see grants up to $2,500 and those with revenue between $25,000 and $50,000 are eligible for grants up to $5,000. Businesses with revenue between $50,000 and $100,000 can receive up to $7,500. The maximum allocation, for those that collected more than $100,000 in 2019, is $10,000.