NJEDA launches $1M small business e-commerce support program

Calling all restaurants, retail shops, personal care businesses or any small business in New Jersey looking for support to adapt and grow their e-commerce side — the New Jersey Economic Development Authority has launched a $1 million program to help.

According to a Wednesday announcement, the EDA’s new pilot will provide free e-commerce and digital marketing consulting services to small businesses across New Jersey.

Yes, free.

Including website design and development, online ordering implementation, online appointment booking implementation, e-commerce design and development, and online marketing plan development, the NJEDA Small Business E-Commerce Support Program will offer up to $11,400 in consulting services to eligible businesses to help them adapt to the growing e-commerce economy, which has boomed since the pandemic.

The program was approved in December by the NJEDA’s board.

Tim Sullivan. (File photo)

“As consumers become more reliant on online services, our small businesses along our Main Streets need resources to help them modernize, expand their customer base and stay competitive,” NJEDA CEO Tim Sullivan said. “Under Gov. (Phil) Murphy’s leadership, New Jersey invested hundreds of millions of dollars to help small businesses keep their doors open during the pandemic. The Small Business E-Commerce Support Program, and others in the pipeline, will continue to help bolster the resilience of small businesses and preserve our Main Streets as the bedrock of New Jersey’s economy.”

To be eligible, a restaurant, retail store or personal care business must be in a commercial location with a physical storefront and meet the U.S. Small Business Administration’s definition of a small business.

Business type will be verified by NAICS Code, location will be verified via Google Maps search results, business registration and good standing will be confirmed by required submission of a New Jersey Division of Taxation current tax clearance certificate and small business status will be verified using the SBA Table of Small Business Size Standards.

The NJEDA said it contracted with seven consulting firms to provide e-commerce and digital marketing services to small businesses for a two-year term, with two one-year extension options. The total combined contract award is based on a budget of $1 million.

Interested businesses should contact the consulting firm of their choice directly. Contact information for each firm can be found here.

The firms include:

  • Beyond Media Global, Paramus;
  • eGrove Systems Corp., East Brunswick;
  • Masterpiece Advertising, Atlantic City;
  • New Frontier, Millburn;
  • Positive Solutions, Robbinsville;
  • Tara Dowdell Group, Jersey City;
  • 360 Marketing and PR, Camden.

“When we invest in the growth of small businesses, we invest in the growth of entire communities — paving the way for economic empowerment,” NJEDA Chief Community Development Officer Tai Cooper said. “With a concentration on women-, minority- and veteran-owned small businesses in Opportunity Zones, this program will help our most diverse businesses grow, thrive and succeed.”

This program is funded by the Main Street Recovery Finance Program, which was established under the New Jersey Economic Recovery Act of 2020. The ERA created over 15 programs, including the Main Street Recovery Program, which is a $100 million small business support program. The Small Business E-Commerce Support Program is the fifth pilot program the NJEDA approved under the Main Street Recovery Finance Program.