EDA assists 10K small businesses impacted by COVID-19

    The New Jersey Economic Development Authority announced on Monday it has supported more than 10,000 small businesses since the start of the pandemic through its COVID-19 response programs.

    In total, the EDA provided more than $44.2 million to 10,624 businesses since mid-March through grants, low-cost loans and partnerships with investors and Community Development Financial Institutions, or CDFIs.

    “These programs have provided a vital lifeline to many small businesses as we navigate how to safely restart our economy while continuing to prioritize public health,” Gov. Phil Murphy said. “We continue to be fully committed to helping businesses weather this crisis.”

    The EDA said it also has a technical assistance program for businesses struggling to adapt to new health and safety guidelines.

    “While the COVID-19 pandemic is first and foremost a public health crisis, it has also created major economic challenges that have hit minority- and women-owned businesses the hardest,” NJEDA CEO Tim Sullivan said. “While there is still significantly more work to do, the insights we have gained from what we have accomplished so far will guide our next steps toward addressing business owners’ concerns and helping them prepare for a strong recovery.”

    The largest of the EDA’s COVID-19 relief programs is the Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program. Launched in April with $5 million of EDA funds, it initially offered grants of up to $5,000 to certain small businesses, such as restaurants and in-person retail. In June, the EDA used $50 million in CARES Act funding to expand the first phase of the program by $5 million and launch phase 2 with $45 million. Phase 2 expanded to include more businesses and a grant size to up to $10,000. To date, 10,415 small businesses have received grants worth $33 million through the SBEAG program (Phase 1, 3,383 businesses; Phase 2, 7,032 businesses). The average grant size was $3,000.

    Here are the other initiatives:

    • Small Business Emergency Assistance Loan Program, provides working capital loans of up to $10,000 to businesses with less than $5 million in revenue. To date, 76 loans have been closed for a combined total of $5.13 million;
    • CDFI Initiative, through this, the EDA has partnered with six New Jersey-based CDFI’s to provide low-cost financing to small- and micro-businesses. So far, 121 loans worth a total of $3.7 million have been given out;
    • NJ Entrepreneur Support Program, provides 80% loan guarantees for working capital loans to entrepreneurs. To date, the program has supported investments in 12 companies with $1.72 million in guarantees.

    The EDA said it will continue to process applications for its existing programs and award funding when appropriate.

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