Businesses recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic and hit by operating restrictions of the past 16 months can now take advantage of state grants under a new round of loans.
Under the Murphy’s Small Business Emergency Assistance Loan program, businesses and nonprofits affected by the pandemic can apply for loans of up to $ 100,000, from a 10 year term with 0% interest rate and deferred payments for the first two years.
The New Jersey Economic Development Authority, which manages the program, said pre-registration opens July 20.
It is the last of hundreds of millions of dollars in state support meant to keep establishments going during the litany of mandatory COVID-19 shutdowns that have hit businesses such as gyms, restaurants, bars, hotels , trade fairs and points of sale.
Companies have been scrambling for cash amid these shutdowns in order to stay afloat and keep their employees on the payroll.
Under the Federal Paycheck Protection Program, the US Small Business Administration approved 157,405 forgivable loans totaling $ 17.3 billion in 2020, and in 2021 approved 134,362 loans totaling approximately $ 8 billion.
And as part of the SBA’s Restaurant Relief Program, Team Biden has awarded nearly $ 924 million to 3,086 bars and restaurants across the state, less than half of the 7,792 New Jersey restaurants that requested funding.
Hundreds of millions of dollars have also been awarded by the state.
State officials argue that the finances of this latest cycle could be a boost for employers, especially small businesses, looking to scale up operations amid the reopening.
Tim Sullivan, who heads NJEDA, said these funds would be essential in helping business owners “reopen and thrive”, especially as the state prepares to “recover from the COVID pandemic- 19 ”.
Loans are initially limited to businesses with up to $ 10 million in annual revenue that added at least 500 square feet of new commercial space after January 1. Applications open at 9 a.m. on August 3.
Employers who do not meet this retail space requirement could apply for loans at 3 p.m. on August 13.
Real estate holding companies, home businesses, and gaming and adult companies are not eligible for loans. The funds can be used for rent and mortgage, inventory, utilities, payroll, and personal protective equipment like masks and gloves.
The funds could not be used for debt refinancing, construction, personal expenses of business owners and the purchase of furniture over $ 1,200.
One-third of the loans, $ 3.5 million, are earmarked for businesses in the state’s 715 poorest communities, known as the Zone of Opportunity-eligible census tracts.
Governor Phil Murphy in late June approved $ 20 million in COVID relief grants for bars and restaurants and $ 10 million for the “Sustain and Serve NJ” program – which effectively pays restaurants to prepare meals for some of the most needy residents of the state – on a $ 235 million public funding cycle for employers.
NJEDA is in the midst of a string of $ 85 million grants to help companies stay afloat. And the state budget Murphy’s approved last month includes $ 135 million in direct aid to businesses.
Murphy estimated that his administration has provided more than $ 600 million in grants, low-interest loans and other assistance since the COVID-19 closures took effect in March 2020.