Every small business knows it needs personal protective equipment for its employees and, potentially, customers. Getting that PPE — on a smaller scale — is not always easy or cost-efficient. The New Jersey Economic Development Authority is trying to change that.
On Thursday, the EDA announced small businesses in the state are eligible to purchase PPE at a discounted price through the NJ Small and Micro Business PPE Access Program.
The EDA program will use a public-private partnership model to provide automatic discounts on PPE purchased through EDA-approved “Designated Vendors.”
Small businesses can purchase discounted PPE and apply for grants to help pay for them at the state’s COVID-19 website. Click here.
The EDA has approved three “designated vendors” for the launch of the program, including Boxed, an online shopping club that delivers household essentials in bulk, and Office Depot. These designated vendors have created “microsites” where New Jersey-based businesses can register and purchase a curated selection of PPE products at a 10% discount.
Links to these microsites also are available here.
The state also will be making $20 million in grants available next month, potentially adding more savings.
The need for small businesses to have PPE took on an even greater urgency this week, when Gov. Phil Murphy signed an executive order mandating a number of safety issues, including having a supply of PPE for your workforce.
To help businesses understand what PPE they need to purchase, the EDA has also created an interactive Small Business PPE Planning Tool. Developed in consultation with the New Jersey Department of Health, this tool helps businesses understand PPE product requirements and estimate their organizational PPE needs.
The online tool also can be accessed at the site. Click here.
In addition to the PPE Access Program, the NJEDA administers a variety of grant, low-cost financing and technical assistance programs for small and midsized businesses impacted by COVID-19. Comprehensive information about these programs and other state support for businesses impacted by the pandemic is available here.
Tim Sullivan, the CEO of the EDA, said ensuring equitable and reliable access to affordable PPE is vital to helping businesses reopen and operate safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The PPE Access Program takes an innovative approach to solving this problem that will make it easy for small business owners to determine what protective equipment they need and to purchase that equipment at an affordable price,” he said. “This addresses multiple, overlapping economic challenges associated with the pandemic and sets us on the path to a stronger, fairer recovery.”
The EDA developed the program in response to consistent concerns emerging from Gov. Phil Murphy’s Restart and Recovery Commission and input from numerous small businesses indicating the need for readily available, fairly priced PPE.