Big Support Needed for Small Businesses

It is no secret that the current public health emergency has taken a toll on our economy and our business community. This is especially true for our small business community. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration’s New Jersey profile, New Jersey is home to 861,000 small businesses which employ over 1.8 million people, or nearly half of our total workforce.

But small businesses aren’t just your favorite local restaurants and bakeries, shops and boutiques downtown, or salons and barbershops. They literally represent 99% of all New Jersey businesses – accountants, family pharmacies, small law firms, IT services, and the list goes on and on.

The help that these businesses will need is unprecedented. Government at all levels is identifying ways to support these businesses, which are always there for us. Below is a list of some of the most recent program announcements. And even if you’re not a small business owner, chances are, someone in your family, friend network or neighborhood is. Feel free to share the information below with them.

Please also know that I am currently exploring even more ways we can assist our small businesses during this challenging time. In the meantime, please be safe and healthy, stay home, wash your hands, and be ever mindful of the need to socially distance.

FEDERAL PROGRAM – U.S. SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION

The Small Business Administration (U.S. SBA) has an Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program and other programs geared toward small businesses. New Jersey was recently approved for this program. The SBA loans offer up to $2 million in assistance and is economic support to help overcome loss in revenue. The loans can be used to pay debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses and 2.75% for non-profits and the loans have long-term repayments up to a maximum of 30 years. You can learn more info here: https://www.sba.gov/page/coronavirus-covid-19-small-business-guidance-loan-resources or by calling the SBA disaster assistance customer service center at 1-800-659-2955 or e-mail disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

Small businesses and non-profits can also get up to $10,000 advance on an Economic Injury Disaster Loan even if your previous application was declined or still pending. Apply now: http://sba.gov/disaster.

SBA also has a Paycheck Protection Program which will provide much needed relief to help keep workers employed. The new program will help small businesses with their payroll and other business operating expenses. It will provide critical capital to businesses without collateral requirements, personal guarantees, or SBA fees – all with a 100% guarantee from SBA. All loan payments will be deferred for six months. SBA will forgive the portion of the loan proceeds that are used to cover the first eight weeks of payroll costs, rent, utilities, and mortgage interest. Learn more about the Paycheck Protection Program and how to apply: https://sba.gov/coronavirus

STATE PROGRAM – NJ ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY

Last week, the NJ Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) announced several new programs that are designed to support businesses facing economic hardship. I proudly supported the legislation enabling the creation of these programs in the Senate. These programs are listed below and include grants, zero-interest loans, funding for entrepreneurs, among others. More info can be found here: https://cv.business.nj.gov.

  • Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program – A $5 million program that will provide grants up to $5,000 to small businesses in retail, arts, entertainment, recreation, accommodation, food service, and other services – such as repair, maintenance, personal, and laundry services – to stabilize their operations and reduce the need for layoffs or furloughs. The application opens on Friday April 3 at 9am – apply at cv.business.nj.gov.
  • Small Business Emergency Assistance Loan Program – A $10 million program that will provide working capital loans of up to $100,000 to businesses with less than $5 million in revenues. Loans made through the program will have ten-year terms with zero percent for the first five years, then resetting to the EDA’s prevailing floor rate (capped at 3.00%) for the remaining five years.
  • Community Development Finance Institution (CDFI) Emergency Loan Loss Reserve Fund – A $10 million capital reserve fund to take a first loss position on CDFI loans that provide low interest working capital to micro businesses. This will allow CDFIs to withstand loan defaults due to the outbreak, which will allow them to provide more loans at lower interest rates to microbusinesses affected by the outbreak.
  • CDFI Emergency Assistance Grant Program – A $1.25 million program that will provide grants of up to $250,000 to CDFIs to scale operations or reduce interest rates for the duration of the outbreak.
  • NJ Entrepreneur Support Program – A $5 million program that will encourage continued capital flows to new companies, often in the innovation economy, and temporarily support a shaky market by providing 80 percent loan guarantees for working capital loans to entrepreneurs.
  • Small Business Emergency Assistance Guarantee Program – A $10 million program that will provide 50 percent guarantees on working capital loans and waive fees on loans made through institutions participating in the NJEDA’s existing Premier Lender or Premier CDFI programs.
  • Emergency Technical Assistance Program – A $150,000 program that will support technical assistance to New Jersey-based companies applying for assistance through the U.S. Small Business Administration. The organizations contracted will be paid based on SBA application submissions supported by the technical assistance they provide.

COUNTY PROGRAM – BURLINGTON COUNTY BRIDGE COMMISSION

Also announced last week, the Burlington County Bridge Commission (BCBC) is offering small business loans to eligible Burlington County businesses. For those of you not familiar with this organization, the BCBC not only focuses on transportation matters but helps Burlington County identify innovative financing programs and even community and economic development opportunities. The working capital loans are up to $10,000 for each job retained with a maximum of $50,000. These loans are offered at an interest rate of 2.4375% and have a maximum payback period of 10 years. More information about the loan program and loan applications is available online at: https://bcbridges.org/financial-resources-programs/.


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