EDA board approves rules for $100M Main Street program aimed at jump-starting small business

Application process, timeline still being worked out

The rules covering the Main Street Recovery Program — a $100 million small business support program that will fund multiple financial assistance products aimed at supporting the growth and success of small businesses — were approved by the board of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority on Thursday.

The rules approved create two grant products funded by the Main Street Recovery Program, which was part of the Economic Recovery Act of 2020:

  • The Small Business Lease Assistance Grant: A $10 million program that will provide grants to businesses entering new or amended leases with at least five-year terms that include at least 250 square feet of street-level space. This grant funding will offset a portion of annual lease payments for two years.
  • The Small Business Improvement Grant: A $15 million program that will provide grants up to $50,000 to reimburse businesses for a portion of costs associated with improvements and/or the purchase or installation of furniture, fixtures and equipment since March 9, 2020.

Applications for these programs are currently under development. The NJEDA will announce the application timeline for both programs soon. For more information, click here.

In addition to the Small Business Lease Assistance Grant and the Small Business Improvement Grant, the NJEDA intends to pilot additional products to be funded through the Main Street Recovery Program, making up the rest of the $100 million program.

The EDA anticipates these pilot programs will include financing to help microbusiness lenders provide more low-cost loans and technical assistance for microbusinesses and an expansion of the NJEDA’s existing Micro Business Loan Program through which the authority will provide low-cost financing directly to eligible microbusinesses.

Please note: 40% of all Main Street Recovery Program funds are reserved for businesses located in census tracts that were eligible to be designated as Opportunity Zones. Providing dedicated funding for these census tracts helps to ensure equitable access to resources for communities and businesses that have historically struggled to access resources.

The Main Street Recovery Program is part of a suite of programs created or expanded under the ERA that includes tax credits to incentivize job creation, new construction and revitalization of brownfields and historic properties; financial resources for small businesses; support for new supermarkets and healthy food retailers in food desert communities; new funding opportunities for early-stage companies in New Jersey; and support for the growing film and digital media industry.

EDA CEO Tim Sullivan said the program will have great impact.

“The Main Street Recovery Program approved today will build on the NJEDA’s successful COVID-19 relief programs to provide new resources tailored specifically to help business owners recover from the impacts of the pandemic and prepare for long-term success,” he said.