by Jim Pytell, Managing Editor on July 21, 2021
Gov. Phil Murphy today signed legislation that will provide $135 million of COVID-19 relief to small businesses. The bulk of the funding will be administered by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) as part of its Phase IV Emergency Grant and NJ Community Stage Relief Grant programs.
“The additional COVID-19 relief funding will be a lifeline to small businesses as they reopen and return to full capacity,” said EDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. “Targeted funds for restaurants, arts and culture organizations, and child care providers will be particularly important in ensuring businesses that were severely impacted by the pandemic have the resources they need to make a full recovery.”
To date, the NJEDA has allocated more than $650 million in aid to small businesses across the state.
Murphy explained that the $135 million breaks down into multiple categories to be allocated as follows:
- $55 million for eligible microbusinesses
- $10 million for eligible for-profit arts and cultural organizations
- $15 million for eligible food and beverage businesses
- $45 million for eligible businesses and nonprofits
- $10 million for eligible childcare providers
“Together with our partners at the federal level, the NJEDA and other departments have provided more than three quarters of a billion dollars to our small business community as we emerge from the pandemic,” Murphy said.
Source: NJ Business
The Small Business Emergency Assistance Loan Program provides direct financing of up to $100,000 to New Jersey-based businesses and nonprofits that have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Information on the program from our July 20, 2021 webinar:
Pre-registration for the Small Business Emergency Assistance Loan Program (Phase 2) will be open from 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday, July 20th, 2021 through 5:00 p.m. on Friday, July 30th, 2021. Pre-registration is open now and will remain open until Friday, July 30th, at 5:00 p.m. Pre-register here: bit.ly/NJEDA_LoanAppPortal. You must pre-register in order to apply. Pre-registration is NOT first-come, first-served.
Any business interested in applying for this loan program must pre-register on the NJEDA’s application portal during the pre-registration period in order to be eligible to apply. Pre-registration is not first-come, first-served, so entities may pre-register at any time during the open pre-registration period.
All businesses and nonprofits must meet the following baseline eligibility requirements:
- A physical commercial location in the State of New Jersey.
- In existence by the date of application launch.
- $10 million or less in annual revenue.
- Fully and properly registered to do business with New Jersey Department of Treasury, Division of Revenue and Enterprise Services.
- No tax debts due to the State.
- In good standing with the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, with all decisions of good standing at the discretion of the Commissioner of the Department of Labor and Workforce Development.
Businesses that meet these baseline eligibility requirements will be sorted into Stage 1 and Stage 2 applicants.
- Stage 1 applicants must have acquired at least 500 square feet of additional space by executing a new lease, leasing additional space, or acquiring an owner-occupied commercial space on or after January 1st, 2021.
- Stage 2 applicants are those that do not meet the new lease, additional leased space or acquired owner-occupied commercial space criteria. Stage 2 applicants that meet the baseline eligibility requirements above ARE eligible for financing.
The following types of businesses ARE NOT eligible:
- Home-based businesses. A home-based business is a business operated out of a residential property not zoned for commercial activity.
- Real estate holding companies.
- Businesses related to gambling or gaming activities.
- Businesses related to the purveyance of “adult” (i.e., pornographic, lewd, prurient, obscene) activities, services, products, or materials (including nude or semi-nude performances or the sale of sexual aids or devices).
- Auction or bankruptcy or fire or “lost-our-lease” or “going-out-of-business” or similar sales.
- Traveling merchants.
- Christmas tree sales or other outdoor storage.
- Any other activity constituting a nuisance.
- Businesses that are illegal under the laws of the State of New Jersey.
Available Funding and Eligible Funding Uses:
Businesses and nonprofits may apply for loans of up to $100,000.
The State has allocated a total of $10 million for the Small Business Emergency Assistance Loan Program (Phase 2). In line with Governor Murphy’s commitment to building a stronger, fairer New Jersey, $3.5 million will be reserved for entities located in one of the 715 census tracts that were eligible to be designated as an Opportunity Zone.
For for-profit entities, the maximum amount a business is eligible to receive will be based on the owners’ average credit scores. Once this cap is determined, the amount the entity is approved for will be based on validation of support provided for the uses requested (i.e. if a business applies for and is eligible for $100,000based on credit score, but the documentation provided only supports $85,000 –the request will be reduced to $85,000).
The majority business owner will be required to have an average minimum credit score (FICO) of 600 to be eligible for funding. When there are multiple owners with equal ownership, NJEDA will review the lowest average credit score of all owners and will use the lowest average credit score to determine the amount of funding available. In cases where the lowest average score is below 600, the applicant entity would be eligible for up to $50,000, provided at least one other majority owner has an average credit score above 600.
Below is a chart that estimates your loan size based on credit score:
Loan amounts to non-profit entities will be based only on validation of support provided for the uses requested, but they must also meet a minimum Debt Service Coverage Ratio (DSCR)of 1.00x based on the entity’s most recent tax return or financial statement.
*Financing can only be used for expenses incurred on or after August 3rd, 2021.
- Personal protective equipment
- Furniture, fixtures, or equipment that do not require professional installation costs in excess of $1,999.00
The following are NOT eligible uses of Phase 2 Loan funding:
- Operating expenses incurred prior to August 3rd, 2021
- Refinancing of existing debt
- Personal, non-business obligations or costs incurred by related entities
- Construction-related expenses or contracts
- Furniture, fixtures or equipment requiring professional installation costs in excess of $1,999.00
Interest Rate & Terms:
The Small Business Emergency Assistance Loan Program (Phase 2) is structured specifically for entities facing economic challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Financing received through the program is subject to flexible terms, including:
- 10-year term and amortization
- 0% interest rate
- Deferred repayments for 24 months
There are no fees associated with the Small Business Emergency Assistance Loan Program (Phase 2) for the first five years of the loan. After five years, the NJEDA’s standard modification fees will apply, if applicable.
Process to Pre-Register and Apply:
Step 1: Log into the NJEDA Application Portal
If you have never applied for NJEDA financing before, visit the NJEDA application portal now to create a new username and password. Store this information so that you can easily locate it for when the pre-registration period opens.
If you have applied for financing and cannot remember your information, you will be able to reset your password through the portal.
If you have any difficulties creating or finding your username and password, please consult the first several slides of the Sample Pre-Registration document for clear instructions or call the NJEDA Call Center at 844-965-1125 for assistance.
PLEASE NOTE: Creating a username and password does not mean that you are pre-registered for the Phase 2 Loan Program. You will still need to complete a Phase 2 pre-registration form, which will be available from Tuesday, July 20th, 2021 through Friday, July 30th, 2021.
Step 2: Pre-Register
All businesses and nonprofits that would like to apply for financing through the Small Business Emergency Assistance Loan Program (Phase 2) must complete the pre-registration form on the NJEDA’s application portal. This form will only be available from 9:00 a.m. EST on Tuesday, July 20th, 2021 through 5:00 p.m. EST on Friday, July 30th, 2021.
Pre-registration is not first-come, first-served, but it is strongly encouraged that applicants start the form as early as possible.
On the pre-registration form, entities should be prepared to provide the following information:
- Contact information for someone who is authorized to speak on behalf of the entity, such as an owner or an executive such as a CEO or Executive Director.
- Full name of the registered legal entity.
- Ownership structure (sole proprietorship, LLC, Non-Profit Organization, etc.).
- 9-digit Employer Identification Number (EIN; Federal Tax ID Number).
- Date the entity was legally formed.
- Annual revenue based on most recent business tax filing.
- Total amount of other Federal, State, or county/municipal COVID-19 relief funding applied for and received.
- Lease information about any new or additional space leased after January 1st, 2021, if applicable.
- Loan amount the business is requesting from the NJEDA (cannot exceed $100,000).
Step 3: Complete Application Form:
Qualified businesses and nonprofits that submit a completed pre-registration will be able to apply for financing through the Small Business Emergency Assistance Loan Program (Phase 2) in stages.
- Stage 1 entities will have an exclusive 10-day window to apply for the program, beginning at 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday, August 3rd, 2021.
- Stage 2 entities will be able to apply beginning at 3:00 p.m. on Friday, August 13th, 2021.
Generally speaking, applications will be reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis, based on the date and time the NJEDA receives an entity’s completed application form.
When you apply for the loan, please be prepared to provide the following information about your entity and entity’s ownership:
- Names, personal addresses, dates of birth, and social security numbers of any individuals or entities with ownership of the applicant entity.
- Information on how the entity intends to use the loan. If you are using the loan for furniture/fixtures/equipment or personal protective equipment, you will need to know whether those items require professional installation and the estimated cost to professionally install them, if applicable.
- Information on other Federal, State, or county/municipal assistance the entity has applied for and/or received. This may include but is not limited to, PPP, SBA EIDL, NJRA grants, and NJEDA grants or loans. For each item you list, you will need to know: Was your entity approved, declined or is it still under review? What was the amount your entity applied for and/or received? If approved, what is the funding being used for?
- Answers to the State’s basic debarment questionnaire. This includes being able to affirmatively certify that: the applicant entity is not a home-based business; the applicant entity is not a prohibited business; the applicant entity has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic; the applicant entity will make a best effort not to lay off any additional employees and to re-hire any whom you have already laid off; the information you are providing in the application is correct; you will allow the NJEDA to check your entries against other State sources of data; you will authorize NJEDA to obtain a credit report on all guarantors; you are current on all state obligations.
Step 4: Upload Financial Information
Once the NJEDA receives your completed application form, staff will conduct a preliminary review to determine if your entity is eligible. All applicants will receive a communication from the NJEDA, even if the Authority does not move forward with your application.
If your entity is determined to be eligible, you will receive an email from the NJEDA with instructions to provide additional financial information about your entity. Once you receive this notification from the NJEDA, you will need to log back into the application portal to upload the required financial information. You will have 5 days from the date/time the NJEDA sends the request to upload the required information.
In order to be as prepared as possible to provide the documentation the NJEDA needs, please see the Document Upload Checklist.
Step 5: Closing
If the NJEDA offers your entity a loan, you will be asked to provide following as part of the closing process:
- Evidence of proper business insurance coverage.
- Copies of a government issued photo identification document for all individuals who may become party to the loan.
- ACH details to enable transmission of proceeds.
From the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA): Public feedback to a draft rule proposal for the new Main Street Recovery Finance Program, as established under the New Jersey Economic Recovery Act of 2020 (ERA), is requested. The Main Street Recovery Finance Program is a $100 million fund, under which grants, loans, and technical assistance will be made available to support small and micro businesses in New Jersey. The Main Street Recovery Finance Program will not only provide grants directly to businesses but will also develop pilot programs over time that will provide loans to other micro business lenders like Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs), increasing their lending capacity to support more New Jersey micro businesses.
Members of the public can also provide input during the NJEDA’s public listening sessions, which are scheduled for the following times:
Monday, July 12th at 5:00 p.m.
Tuesday, July 13th at 2:00 p.m.
Thursday, July 15th at 10:00 a.m.
Today, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) announced two new grant program guidelines to distribute approximately $80 million in American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds directly to nonprofit arts and culture organizations and to local arts agencies to subgrant deeper into communities across the country. Earlier in the Spring, NEA distributed an additional $52 million of ARP funds to every state, jurisdictional and regional arts agency across the country for regranting purposes.
We are happy to report that applicants for this new grant program will NOT have to be a previous NEA grantee to be eligible to apply. There is a quick turnaround time for submitting applications. The NEA is providing robust technical assistance and we will also be hosting two ArtsU free webinars (see below) to provide additional assistance with speakers from the NEA.
NEA’s ARP Local Arts Agency Subgranting Guidelines are now available and the Application Deadline is Thursday, July 22, 2021. Approximately $20 million will be available for this category for grant amounts of $150,000, $250,000, or $500,000.
NEA’s ARP Direct Grants to Arts and Culture Organizations Guidelines are now available and the Application Deadline is Thursday, August 12, 2021. Approximately $60 million will be available for this category for grant amounts of $50,000, $100,00, or $150,000.
Americans for the Arts President and CEO Nolen V. Bivens enthusiastically applauds the NEA’s goal for this supplemental federal recovery program for the arts, as stated by the NEA’s Acting Chairman Ann Eilers: “A primary goal for the National Endowment for the Arts is to incorporate principles of equity, access, and inclusion in its implementation of the ARP grant program. These efforts constitute a critical step in the agency’s engagement with communities traditionally underserved by government.” Bivens added, “At a time when much of the arts and culture sector is still unemployed – arts jobs are down 21% since before the pandemic according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics – I fully support NEA's funding which will assist the relief and recovery of the arts and culture sector.”
Ruby Lopez Harper
Vice President, Equity and Local Arts Engagement
Americans for the Arts
1000 Vermont Ave NW 6th Floor
Washington, DC 20005-4940
This law was signed by Governor Phil Murphy on Nov 4, 2020. (S-864) (P.L.2020.C117) .
Published July 2 - Updated July 5 by NJBIA
Gov. Phil Murphy has signed a law appropriating $100 million in federal American Rescue Plan funds to support childcare providers and the childcare workforce with grants for facility improvements, business assistance, workforce development and more.
The NJBIA-supported bill (S-3990/A-5863), sponsored by Senator Shirley Turner (D-15) and Assemblywoman Lisa Swain (D-38), provides critical assistance for childcare businesses that have been struggling since the COVID-19 pandemic from steep financial losses and an ongoing staffing crisis that must be addressed so that working parents can find safe places for their children and return to their jobs.
“The COVID-19 pandemic laid bare the inequities created by the lack of access to affordable childcare that many working families face,” said Governor Murphy, who signed the bill into law on Thursday night. “This funding, made possible by the Biden administration, will assist our childcare providers and childcare workforce that have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic and beyond in our state.”
Town hall meetings organized by the NJBIA and the New Jersey Business Coalition during the past year have focused attention on the crisis in the childcare industry, where hundreds of facilities have been forced to close over the past year due to decreased enrollment, state COVID-19 mandates affecting staffing and class size, and a precipitous drop in revenue.
“Licensed childcare centers have been devastated by the pandemic and those that did make it though the past year are really struggling financially,” said NJBIA Chief Government Affairs Officer Chrissy Buteas. “This law is important to the entire business community, not just the childcare industry, because without access to safe childcare, parents cannot return to work.”
The new law appropriates $100 million to the state Department of Community Affairs, which will make $15.5 million available to the Department of Children and Families (DCF); $54.5 million available to the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA); and $30 million to the Department of Human Services (DHS) for programs to assist childcare businesses and workers.
Primary sponsors of the law, in addition to Turner and Swain, were Senator M. Teresa Ruiz, and Assembly members Andrew Zwicker, Vincent Mazzeo, Joanne Downey, Roy Freiman, Gabriela Mosquera, Shanique Speight, and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin.
Applications are now open for the Emerge program, a new jobs-based tax credit program created under the New Jersey Economic Recovery Act (ERA) of 2020 and administered by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA). The Emerge program will drive economic development in New Jersey by making tax credits available to projects that invest private capital into the state and create good-paying jobs, with a focus on the State’s priority sectors.
The Emerge program application, as well as complete rules, eligibility requirements, award sizes, and other information, are available at https://www.njeda.com/emerge.
“Creating good jobs for New Jerseyans has always been central to my administration’s efforts to build a stronger, fairer New Jersey and has become even more important as we begin our recovery from the economic devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Gov. Phil Murphy. “The Emerge program is a well-crafted, targeted tax incentive program that will drive job creation and equitable economic growth throughout New Jersey.”
“Supporting projects that bring good jobs to New Jersey is crucial to recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic and achieving Governor Murphy’s vision for a stronger, fairer New Jersey,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. “Launching the application for the Emerge program is a major step forward that will open the door to exciting new economic development projects while also remaining true to our commitments to equity, transparency, and accountability. This will set New Jersey on the path to long-term, sustainable, and fair economic success.”
“New Jersey’s recovery from COVID-19 hinges in large part on our ability to attract and retain businesses to the state and create good jobs for New Jersey residents,” said Senator Paul A. Sarlo, who serves as chairman of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee. “The Emerge Program is a critical economic development tool that will bring successful businesses to New Jersey, incentivize them to create jobs for New Jersey residents, and promote expanded economic opportunities.”
“As we begin the process of recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, we have an important opportunity to build a more prosperous and equitable employment landscape in New Jersey,” said Senator M. Teresa Ruiz. “The Emerge program will play a key role in our economic recovery by driving job creation and economic growth in impacted communities throughout the state.”
“The only way for New Jersey to fully recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated economic impacts is to drive job creation and economic growth in communities throughout the state,” said Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin. “The Emerge program is a thoughtfully-crafted incentive that will effectively support business growth in New Jersey while also creating a more fair and equitable economy where all New Jerseyans can succeed.”
“The launch of the Emerge program application is an important step in the process of moving from short-term responses to the immediate COVID-19 crisis to long-term, forward looking programs that will drive recovery and economic growth,” said Assemblywoman Eliana Pintor Marin. “By focusing on job creation, this program responds directly to the need to get New Jerseyans back to work while also attracting successful, growing companies that will serve as engines of economic growth for years to come.”
The Emerge program is part of the suite of programs created under the ERA to address the ongoing economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and build a stronger, fairer New Jersey economy. Through the Emerge program, small and large businesses, as well as non-profits, can apply for tax credits to support projects that meet minimum capital investment, job creation or retention, and other requirements. Projects can qualify to receive tax credits over a seven-year eligibility period, starting after the NJEDA confirms the applicant has completed its investment, employment, and other eligibility requirements.
Base tax credits will range from $500 to $4,000 per job, per year, depending on location and other aspects of the project. Bonuses are also available based on certain criteria such as project location, industry, and alignment with other policy objectives. These bonuses can increase annual per-job credits to a maximum of $8,000 per job. Projects with significant numbers of retained jobs (at least 500 or 1,000 jobs depending on the project’s location) can receive tax credits for retained jobs; however, the ERA sets the amount of tax credits for each retained job at half the amount that would be awarded for equivalent new jobs. Jobs that are covered by a labor harmony agreement are eligible for an additional $1,000 bonus over the capped amounts.
To be eligible for tax credits under the Emerge program, projects must create or retain a minimum number of jobs. The job creation requirement is lower if a business is primarily engaged in a targeted industry or if a business is a “small business” as defined in the program rules. Additionally, at least 80 percent of incented employees’ work time must be spent in New Jersey, and the business must commit to stay in the qualified business facility for at least 1.5 times the duration of the eligibility period. A minimum capital investment in the qualified business facility is required based on the use. Businesses may make an equivalent donation to a Recovery Infrastructure Fund in place of investing in their project facilities. Small businesses are not required to make capital investments.
All projects that receive tax credits under the Emerge program must meet minimum environmental standards, meet prevailing wage obligations for all construction workers and building service workers, and provide health care for employees. Projects that have a total cost of $10 million or more are also required to enter into a Community Benefits Agreement with the NJEDA and the municipality or county in which the project is located. These agreements will create a Community Advisory Committee to monitor compliance with the respective agreement.
To ensure a strong return on investment for New Jersey taxpayers, projects that receive tax credits under the Emerge program must yield a minimum net positive economic benefit to the state of 200 to 400 percent depending on project location and the nature of the project. Applicants must also demonstrate that they are considering a viable out-of-state location, and awards will be limited to the amount the NJEDA determines is necessary to induce the project to locate or remain in New Jersey. The NJEDA will also review detailed financial information about the project to verify the award of tax credits is a “material factor” in the business’s decision to create or retain jobs in New Jersey.
The Emerge program is capped with the Aspire program – a separate ERA program designed to catalyze community redevelopment – at $1.1 billion per year over six years. To ensure the benefits of the program are distributed equitably throughout the state, the Emerge and Aspire program cap is split between northern and southern counties for the first three years of the respective programs. Any unused tax credits for a particular year may be carried forward to the subsequent year subject to geographical and amount limitations in place at that time.
In addition to the Emerge program, the ERA creates a suite of programs that includes tax credits to incentivize job creation, new construction, and revitalization of brownfields and historic properties; financial resources for small businesses; support for new supermarkets and healthy food retailers in food desert communities; new funding opportunities for early-stage companies in New Jersey; and support for the growing film and digital media industry. More information about these programs is available at https://njeda.com/economicrecoveryact.
Source: NJ Business