EDA creates $2M microlending grant pilot program

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority has created a new, $2 million pilot Micro Lender Support Grant Program, it announced Wednesday.

The program will make grant funding of up to $200,000 available to organizations that lend to small and microbusinesses in New Jersey, the EDA said in a news release, supporting costs associated with scaling up operations and offering direct assistance to businesses. These include Community Development Financial Institutions, Minority Depository Institutions and others.

“Small businesses are the bedrock of communities, and Gov. (Phil) Murphy has prioritized supporting those businesses that have been hit the hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic,” EDA CEO Tim Sullivan said in a prepared statement. “CDFIs and other lenders that specifically support microbusinesses have been crucial to helping these businesses keep the lights on, but the ongoing challenges of the pandemic have strained these organizations.

“The Micro Lender Support Grant Program will provide much-needed resources to help CDFIs and other lenders continue supporting small businesses that need help while increasing their capacity to serve even more businesses in need.”

The pilot program expands on the EDA’s support for CDFIs by providing additional funding and expanding the pool of potential partners, the EDA said.

Applications are slated to open April 19. Email smallbusinessservices@njeda.com for more information.