CHRISTIE ADMINISTRATION ANNOUNCES $260 MILLION STRONGER NJ BUSINESS GRANT PROGRAM WILL LAUNCH MAY 1
Small Businesses Impacted by Superstorm Sandy Encouraged to Apply for Assistance at application.njeda.com/strongernjbusiness
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TRENTON, N.J. (April 30, 2013) – In support of Governor Chris Christie’s commitment to get grant assistance to storm-impacted businesses as quickly as possible, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) today held a special Board meeting approving the creation of the Stronger NJ Business Grant Program. Beginning May 1, small businesses that sustained at least $5,000 in Sandy-related physical damage can apply for grants of up to $50,000.
The EDA’s action comes one day after the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) approved New Jersey’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Disaster Recovery Action Plan. Governor Christie called on the EDA to administer $460 million of the state’s CDBG Disaster Recovery allocation to support the recovery of impacted businesses. The Stronger NJ Business Grant program is the first of these CDBG-funded business recovery programs and will utilize $260 million of the allocation.
At the Board meeting, EDA Chief Executive Officer Michele Brown noted that businesses in the 113 most impacted municipalities incurred in excess of $380 million in commercial property loss and another $63 million in business interruption loss. Brown also spoke of the acute needs of tourism-driven businesses and other companies along the Jersey Shore.
“The Governor’s immediate goal is to get grant assistance to impacted businesses to ensure they have the capital needed to resume or maintain their operations,” Brown said. “The Stronger NJ Business Grant program will allow us to get critically needed funding to our impacted businesses in the most expeditious way.”
Under the Stronger NJ Business Grant program, small businesses may apply for grants of up to $50,000 per location. All applicants under the program must have sustained at least $5,000 in Superstorm Sandy-related physical damage, including damage to real property and non-perishable/non-consumable inventory. Eligible uses of grant funds include reimbursement of working capital, inventory, equipment, renovation and new construction at the place of business. HUD may require funds for physical damage, including equipment, furnishings, fixtures, machinery, and construction to be subject to additional reviews, environmental clearances, and National Flood Insurance Protection coverage that could delay the provision of grant assistance. Grants to businesses located in Special Flood Hazard Areas may be structured as forgivable loans in order to assist the applicant in complying with federal requirements for property insurance.
As required by HUD for CDBG Disaster Recovery funds, grants under the program must be used to satisfy “unmet needs,” which are defined as financial needs not satisfied by other public or private funding sources, including FEMA Individual Assistance funds, Small Business Administration (SBA) disaster loans or private insurance. Priority will be given to applicants with locations in the nine most impacted counties, as defined by HUD, including Atlantic, Bergen, Cape May, Essex, Hudson, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, and Union. HUD requires 80 percent of CDBG Disaster Recovery funds to be allocated to these areas.
To be eligible, businesses must have at least one location in New Jersey and entities must have been in existence at the time of the storm. Applicants must also be a small business, as defined by the SBA, and have annual revenues of at least $25,000 and no more than $5 million. Businesses must have less than $1 million of liquid assets at the time of application. Additionally, businesses must have applied for a disaster-related loan through SBA.
The following entities are not eligible for funding through the Stronger NJ Business Grant program: businesses located in Coastal Barrier Resource Areas; home-based businesses that do not have a separate business entrance, excluding Bed and Breakfast establishments; casinos; and, privately-owned recreational facilities that serve a predominantly higher-income clientele. Nonprofits, including those engaged in industrial and commercial activities, may only utilize funds for renovation or new construction of a physical structure. Churches may utilize the funding only for renovation or new construction of portions of the church’s physical structure with non-sectarian uses.
Applications must be received on or by October 31, 2013. For more information on the Stronger NJ Business Grant program, including the complete list of eligibility and eligible uses of funds visit application.njeda.com/strongernjbusiness or call EDA’s Sandy hotline at 1-855-SANDY-BZ (1-855-726-3929).