Want some of $70M in grants N.J. has for small businesses? You need to preregister by 5 p.m. today

When Gov. Phil Murphy announced the state was making $70 million of CARES Act money available to small businesses — especially the restaurant industry — on Oct. 13, there was much rejoicing from the business community.

Small business owners may have missed one important detail: In order to be eligible, you need to preregister by 5 p.m. Oct. 27 (that’s today, Tuesday).


The grant money will be distributed by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority as part of Phase 3 of its Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program.

If you need help registering, the EDA has a prerecorded demonstrational webinar to provide assistance with the preregistration process.

Here are more details you need to know about the programs:

How much grant money is available? It’s a $70 million program (through CARES Act funding) to provide grants to small businesses impacted by COVID-19 — but it increases grant awards to a minimum of $5,000 (even for sole proprietorships).

How big can businesses be? The program expands eligibility to businesses with up to 50 full-time equivalent employees, or FTEs. Here’s a look at the payouts by size (and the awards are higher for restaurants):

  • 1 to 5 FTEs: $5,000;
  • 6 to 25 FTEs: $10,000;
  • 26 to 50 FTEs: $15,000.

What businesses are being targeted? The state hopes to provide grants to those in the hardest-hit industries, with targeted funding for restaurants, microbusinesses and businesses in historically disadvantaged communities:

  • $35 million dedicated to support businesses classified as “Food Services and Drinking Places” under NAICS code 722;
  • $15 million directed to support “microbusinesses” that have five or fewer FTEs;
  • $20 million available to support any eligible business.
  • 33% of each pool will be targeted to businesses in Opportunity Zone-eligible census tracts.

More money for restaurants: There are larger grants for businesses that are classified as “Food Services and Drinking Places” (NAICS code 722):

  • 5 or fewer FTEs: $10,000;
  • 6 to 25 FTEs: $15,000;
  • 26 to 50 FTEs: $20,000.

Next step: Applications for these grants will become available on a rolling basis following the preregistration period:

  • Restaurants (up to 50 FTEs): 9 a.m. Oct. 29 (Thursday);
  • Micro Businesses (1-5 FTEs): 9 a.m. Oct. 30 (Friday);
  • All other applicants (6-50 FTEs): 9 a.m. Nov. 2 (Monday).

One more thing: Applications will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis, so applicants should complete applications as soon as possible.

The EDA will host a live webinar at 11 a.m. Tuesday (that’s today) to walk applicants through what to expect when the application becomes available and answer questions. Please click here to join the webinar. The passcode, if needed, is phase3.

This webinar will be recorded and made available at cv.business.nj.gov later in the day for those unable to attend.