NJEDA approves $11M+ to fund smallest businesses through Main Street Lenders Grant

Program will support hundreds of smallest businesses through low-interest financing

More than $11 million has been approved by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority for eight lenders and financial institutions through its Main Street Lenders Grant, according to a Tuesday announcement.

The Main Street Lenders Grant, which launched in July, awards grants to eligible Community Development Financial Institutions, Minority Depository Institutions and other entities that have at least 10 years of experience lending to small and microbusinesses.

Created under the New Jersey Economic Recovery Act of 2020 and funded with $15 million from the Main Street Recovery Program, the Main Street Lenders Grant offers eligible lenders grants of up to $1.5 million each, with up to $500,000 reserved for technical assistance needs.

Tim Sullivan.

“The Main Street Lenders Grant is another testament to Gov. Phil Murphy’s commitment to equity and inclusion and supporting small businesses to ensure economic prosperity in New Jersey,” NJEDA CEO Tim Sullivan said in a statement. “Forty percent of the funding to support loans will be set aside for microbusinesses in Opportunity Zone-eligible census tracts, allowing underserved areas the chance for continued growth.”

To date, the product has approved grant funding for the following lenders:

  • Elizabeth Development Co. of New Jersey will create a Post COVID Rebound Program. The PCRP will offer loans of between $10,000 and $30,000 for existing or startup microbusinesses in Elizabeth, Plainfield and Hillside Township;
  • Pursuit (formerly New York Business Development Corp. Local Development Corp.) will create a New Jersey Main Street Fund. The New Jersey Main Street Fund will offer loans of between $10,000 and $100,000 to low- and moderate-income and minority/women business enterprises in Opportunity Zones;
  • Union County Economic Development Corp. will create the Small Business Assistance Loan to offer loans ranging from $10,000–$15,000 at zero-percent interest and a five-year term for eligible microbusinesses. This UCEDC program will require no collateral;
  • The Enterprise Center Capital Corp. will utilize funding to create a New Jersey Acceleration Fund to support microbusinesses in Camden and South Jersey;
  • Eastern American Certified Development Co. will create three microloan products: 1) Fast and Easy Loan Program up to $10,000; 2) Growing Loan Program for up to $50,000 in funding; 3) Opportunity Loan Program for up to $100,000 in funding;
  • Greater Newark Enterprises Corp. will use the lending grant to support its Newark Entrepreneurs of Color Fund and offers loans from $10,000 to $50,000 for unbankable businesses;
  • Cooperative Business Assistance Corp. will use the grant to provide working capital loans from $10,000 to $100,000 at a 5% interest rate to qualified entities with a credit score at 650 or below; and
  • Regional Business Assistance Corp. will use funding to support existing businesses with capital loans ranging from $10,000 to $100,000. Each of RBAC’s loans will carry a 2% interest rate with a seven-year term.

“Local lenders were paramount to our ability to reach and support New Jersey’s smallest businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic and they remain vital partners in our efforts to build a stronger, fairer, and more equitable economy,” NJEDA Program Manager – Business Banking Naimah Marshall said. “Through the Main Street Lenders Grant, we are enhancing our ability to connect microbusinesses that often have difficulty accessing traditional financing with the resources they need to succeed.”

Microbusinesses can contact any of the lenders identified above and apply for financing directly with them, the EDA said.