COVID-19: NJ Announces $60M of Additional Covid-Relief Small Business Grants

On November 11, 2020, Gov. Phil Murphy announced a commitment of at least $60 Million in additional relief grants under Phase 3 of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority’s (NJEDA’s) Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program (SBEAG).

This funding is in addition to $70 M of funds already allocated for the current phase of the SBEAG program and will enable the NJEDA to fulfill grants for the entire pipeline of eligible businesses that applied for Phase 3 funding prior to the application deadline.

Without this additional funding, approximately 13,000 of the nearly 22,000 businesses that applied for Phase 3 grants would have been denied a grant given the amount of interest in the program.

Per NJ Business Today, the NJEDA’s suite of COVID-19 relief programs provides a variety of resources for businesses of all sizes, including grants for small businesses, zero-interest loans, support for private-sector lenders and CDFIs, and funding for entrepreneurs.

One of NJEDA’s relief programs is the SBEAG, which provides grants to small businesses impacted by the pandemic.

To attempt to achieve an equitable distribution of funds, the NJEDA set aside 1/3 of the funding for this program to support qualified businesses located in NJ Opportunity Zones. The goal of this new round of allocations is to help minority and women-owned businesses obtain some of the available grant funds.

According to NJ Business Today, more than 22,000 small businesses have been approved for grants worth more than $64.9 million through Phases 1 and 2 of the Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program. The average grant award has been roughly $3,000, which indicates the average approved business has three full-time equivalent employees.

Phase 3 significantly expands eligibility for the Grant Program and increases the amount of funding businesses can receive.

Eligibility – Any business or non-profit located in New Jersey, including home-based businesses, with 50 or fewer full-time equivalent employees (FTEs) is eligible to receive grant funding during Phase 3, including businesses that received funding in previous phases of the program.

Opportunity Zone Set Asides – To ensure funding goes to businesses hit hardest by the pandemic, Phase 3 sets aside funding for restaurants, micro-businesses, and businesses based in the state’s 715 Opportunity Zone-eligible Census tracts.

To date over $250 M of funding from NJEDA has been allocated to support small businesses with a significant focus being on restaurants, micro-businesses, and minority- and women-owned firms.

In addition to the SBEAG Program, the NJEDA administers a variety of technical assistance and low-cost financing programs for small and mid-sized businesses impacted by COVID-19.

More information about NJEDA’s programs and other State support is available at https://covid19.nj.gov.

Duane Morris has created a COVID-19 Strategy Team to help organizations plan, respond to and address this fast-moving situation. Contact your Duane Morris attorney for more information. Prior Alerts on the topic are available on the team’s webpage.

If you have any questions about this post, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, Elizabeth Mincer, Paul Josephson, Matthew LoBello or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Be well and stay safe. 

 

COVID-19: NJEDA available sources of Funds and Loans for Businesses in NJ

Good morning and I hope you and yours are doing well and staying safe.

I came across a piece from the Southern NJ Chamber of Commerce that outlined the programs below and reminded me of the various non-COVID related programs that still exist and are open for assistance from the NJEDA.

Worth taking a look if you have a need:

* Micro Business Loan Program: Through this program, the NJEDA makes financing of up to $50,000 available to for-profit New Jersey businesses, which can use the financing for working capital or to purchase equipment. To ensure that the financing is accessible to the early-stage and micro businesses that need it most, to qualify, a business must have annual revenues of less than $1,500,000 in the most current fiscal year and cannot have more than 10 full-time employees at time of application.

* Small Business Fund: The Small Business Fund offers loans of up to $500,000 for qualifying creditworthy small, minority- or women-owned businesses in New Jersey with up to $3 million in revenue that have been in operation for at least one full year and may not have the ability to get bank financing. Not-for-profit corporations that have been operating for at least three full years may also be eligible for assistance under the Small Business Fund.

* Direct Loans: Direct loans are available up to $2 million for fixed assets, and $750,000 for working capital. New Jersey businesses in need of financing and committed to job creation/retention may be eligible for direct loans through the NJEDA when conventional financing is not available. NJEDA’s direct loan financing offers competitive interest rates and terms.

* Premier Lender Program: In partnership with two dozen banks throughout New Jersey, The Premier Lender Program offers up to a $2 million loan participation or $1.5 million loan guarantee for fixed assets, and up to a $750,000 loan participation or $1.5 million guarantee for term working capital. Line of credit guarantees of up to $750,000 are also available.

More details about each of these programs can be found on the NJEDA’s website at http://www.njeda.com/small_midsize_business

NJEDA also launched a suite of programs specifically designed to address the COVID era challenges the outbreak has caused. These initiatives include grants, loans, guarantees, and support for entrepreneurs and community development financial institutions. The grant and loan programs are currently oversubscribed, but the NJEDA is actively seeking funding from federal, corporate, and philanthropic sources to expand them.

Small business owners seeking more information about any of these programs should visit New Jersey’s COVID-19 Business Information Hub at https://cv.business.nj.gov.

Duane Morris has created a COVID-19 Strategy Team to help organizations plan, respond to and address this fast-moving situation. Contact your Duane Morris attorney for more information. Prior Alerts on the topic are available on the team’s webpage.

For Further Information:

If you have any questions about this post, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, Paul Josephson, Jimmy Greenberg or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Be well and stay safe!

PA – “Non-Life Sustaining” Business Closure of Physical Locations Questions and Waiver Process – Required Shut Downs

As you are likely aware, on Thursday, March 19th, by Executive Order, the Wolf Administration ordered the physical location shut down of all “non-life sustaining” businesses in order to attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19.

A list of what qualifies as “non-life sustaining” was published on line and is attached for your review. Some businesses like grocery stores, pharmacies, hospitals, e.g., are very logical, others are a bit more surprising (e.g., beer and liquor sales).

Per Governor Wolf’s and the Department of Health’s orders, businesses that were non-life sustaining were ordered to close their physical locations on March 19, at 8:00 PM.

As of last evening, March 20th, these orders are still effective, however, the enforcement timing will change and become effective on Monday, March 23, at 8:00 AM.

If you are not sure if your business falls within a GREEN area (one that is permitted and life sustaining) or a RED area (one that is not deemed to be life sustaining and therefore must close your physical location) per the Commonwealth’s chart, there is a process to inquire, ask questions, and ask for a waiver.

Questions and Waiver Requests:

Those businesses requesting clarification on whether they are defined as life-sustaining should check the list, https://www.scribd.com/document/452553026/UPDATED-Industry-Operation-Guidance-March-20-2020 and can email the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) customer service resource account at ra-dcedcs@pa.gov, or call 1-877-PA-HEALTH and select option 1 to reach DCED staff.

Please note that the list has been modified since its original posting on Thursday and some additional notes have been added (including some construction related notes).

For businesses that determine from the list that they are non-life sustaining, but would like to seek a waiver, there is an online waiver application.

When a business completes a waiver form, a team of professionals at DCED will review each request and respond based on the guiding principle of balancing public safety while ensuring the continued delivery of critical infrastructure services and functions. Those requesting a waiver will be notified via email if their operations may re-open.

NOTE – Per updates issued last night, businesses applying for a waiver are REQUIRED to remain closed until a decision is made about their application. This is NEW.

Also, please be aware that DCED offers working capital loans that could be of assistance to businesses impacted by COVID-19. Resources and information will be posted to http://dced.pa.gov/resources as they become available.

In addition, Governor Wolf announced the availability of low-interest loans for small businesses and eligible non-profits in all 67 counties in Pennsylvania through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

Attaching the updated list of life-sustaining and non-life sustaining businesses as of 5:45 pm on 3-21-20 – NOTE that this list has been modified 2x since original date of publication on Thursday so please make sure you are looking at the most up to date list –  https://www.pa.gov/guides/responding-to-covid-19/#ForBusinesses

To list is attached and available here: https://www.scribd.com/document/452553026/UPDATED-5-45pm-March-21-2020-Industry-Operation-Guidance

We will continue to track local and national information and report as new news becomes available through our COVID taskforce. If you care to look directly, go to www.governor.pa.gov and www.doh.pa.gov.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us via email and we will call you back to discuss your concerns.  We can be reached at any of the following email addresses and will direct your inquiry to the appropriate person within our COVID Taskforce – bamolotsky@duanemorris.com; slcaffrey@duanemorris.com; jsegal@duanemorris.com or dcanderson@duanemorris.com.

Be safe.