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Small Business Relief Program

Application details for the $10 million small business relief program aimed at helping businesses that were hurt by Tropical Storm Ida are expected to be announced Wednesday morning, following a special meeting of the board of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority.

The program, which was announced Friday morning, will award grants of up to $5,000 to small businesses (up to 50 employees) that were damaged by Ida, which ravaged the state last Wednesday and into Thursday. The proposed program will be presented to the EDA’s board for the necessary approval, which is considered a formality.

Landlords and home-based businesses currently are not eligible for grant funding in the proposed program. Under the preliminary plan, to be eligible, the applying entity must:

  • Provide certification of an unmet need due to damage and/or business interruption;
  • Provide documentation of physical damage to the applicant’s physical commercial location;
  • Present a valid Employer Identification Number;
  • Submit recent wage reporting form (WR30), if applicable;
  • Be registered to do business in the state;
  • Be in good standing with the Division of Taxation.

Gov. Phil Murphy and EDA CEO Tim Sullivan implored businesses to maintain all possible documents related to the damage, including pictures and all receipts.

As proposed, grants will be provided in the form of reimbursement of August rent or mortgage ($1,000 minimum rent eligibility). To ensure grants reach businesses in the hardest-hit communities, including communities of color, one-third of the $10 million in funding available through the program will be targeted to businesses with a primary business location within the 715 census tracts designated as eligible to be selected as an Opportunity Zone. The funding, which will come from a program set up by the EDA, will be in addition to any other aid businesses receive, Murphy said.

“We have a plan in place to assist our small businesses as quickly as possible,” he said. “This is immediate, and separate and apart from whatever the feds end up doing.”  Murphy said he hopes the program is just the first of many for small businesses. On Friday, Murphy said he has spoken to both President Joe Biden and Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Deanne Criswell about emergency funding — and that the state already received the first step, which is the emergency declaration. That means the state will get equipment and reimbursement for emergency expenditures, and that federal agencies will quickly come in and make assessments as to how much more aid we are potentially eligible for. Murphy, who made the announcement Friday after touring Millburn, said the need is obvious. “Just walking through for a few minutes in the downtown area, it is clear that the damage caused by weather is significant by any measure, and recovering and rebuilding will require economic support,” he said. “And we will be there.”