TRENTON, N.J. (December 16, 2020) – The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) today announced that applications are open for Sustain and Serve NJ, a $2 million grant program that will provide funding to organizations to purchase meals from New Jersey-based restaurants that have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. More information and the program application are available at https://business.nj.gov/covid/eligibility-for-sustain-and-serve. Applications are due by January 8, 2021.
 
While restaurants may not directly apply for Sustain and Serve NJ grants, restaurants interested in providing meals through the program may opt to have their information posted publicly on the NJ COVID-19 Business Information Hub by completing the Sustain and Serve NJ Restaurant Interest Form available at https://forms.business.nj.gov/ssnj/restaurants/interest/.
 
“The NJEDA’s COVID-19 relief efforts have prioritized supporting industries and communities that have been the most severely impacted by the pandemic. We know the restaurant industry has been hit particularly hard, and we are committed to ensuring restaurants have the resources they need to stay in business while keeping their employees and customers safe,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. “Phase 3 of the Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program committed more than $35 million in targeted funding to restaurants. Now Sustain and Serve NJ builds on that with additional relief for our restaurant sector. This is crucial to ensuring New Jersey’s communities and economy withstand the pandemic and are in a strong position to recover.”
 
The COVID-19 pandemic has hit restaurants harder than almost any other industry. Without assistance, 37 percent of New Jersey restaurant owners predict they will have to close in the next six months. To support restaurants impacted by the pandemic, Sustain and Serve NJ makes up to $2 million of funding from the NJEDA Economic Recovery Fund available to organizations in New Jersey. Eligible organizations will receive grants of at least $100,000 for bulk purchases of meals from New Jersey-based restaurants.
 
The program is open to entities that are legally registered to do business in New Jersey and are in good standing with the New Jersey Department of Labor and the New Jersey Division of Taxation, including 501(c) non-profit organizations. Grant applicants will be required to demonstrate prior bulk purchases of 3,000 or more meals valued at $50,000 or more from New Jersey-based restaurants since March 9, 2020.
 
In addition to meeting these requirements, applicants will need to identify the restaurant or restaurants from which they will be purchasing meals. To receive funding, participating restaurants must have 50 or fewer employees; maintain a physical commercial location in New Jersey; be legally registered to do business in New Jersey; be in good standing with the New Jersey Department of Labor, New Jersey Division of Taxation, and (where applicable) the New Jersey Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control; and possess valid certification from municipal or county government inspection showing a current rating of Satisfactory per the New Jersey Retail Food Establishment Rating system. Restaurants will also have to certify that they were in operation on or before February 15, 2020, and detail how their business has been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
Applications for Sustain and Serve NJ grants are due by January 8th, 2021. Restaurants may not directly apply for grants, but may express interest in the program and have their information posted publicly by completing the Sustain and Serve NJ Restaurant Interest Form. Applicants can refer to the list of restaurants that have expressed interest when deciding where to purchase meals. Inclusion on this list is not an endorsement from NJEDA as to eligibility and applicants are strongly advised to exercise due diligence when selecting participating restaurants.
 
Grant funding awarded through the Sustain and Serve NJ Program will be restricted to expenses related to the direct cost of purchasing meals, as determined by participating restaurant(s). This cost may include the restaurant’s cost of food and ingredients, labor, packaging, facilities, and profit margin. Sales tax and gratuity cannot be paid for using grant funds. Reimbursement will be capped at $10 per meal. No other expense incurred by the grantee, whether in support of the meal purchase from the restaurant or otherwise, is eligible. Grant funding can only be used to support expenses incurred between the date of grant execution and April 30, 2021.
 
In addition to Sustain and Serve NJ, the NJEDA administers a variety of grant, low-cost financing, and technical assistance programs for small and mid-sized businesses impacted by COVID-19, including $35 million of targeted grant funding for restaurants through Phase 3 of the Authority’s Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program. Comprehensive information about these programs and other State support for businesses impacted by the pandemic is available at https://cv.business.nj.gov.
 
 
About the New Jersey Economic Development Authority
The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) serves as the State’s principal agency for driving economic growth. The NJEDA is committed to making New Jersey a national model for inclusive and sustainable economic development by focusing on key strategies to help build strong and dynamic communities, create good jobs for New Jersey residents, and provide pathways to a stronger and fairer economy. Through partnerships with a diverse range of stakeholders, the NJEDA creates and implements initiatives to enhance the economic vitality and quality of life in the State and strengthen New Jersey’s long-term economic competitiveness.
 
To learn more about NJEDA resources for businesses call NJEDA Customer Care at 609-858-6767 or visit https://www.njeda.com and follow @NewJerseyEDA on FacebookTwitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
 

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COVID-19 Outbreak
New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA)
Sustain and Serve NJ
 
Para ver esta información en español, haga clic aquí

Overview
 
On March 9, 2020, Governor Phil Murphy issued Executive Order 103, declaring a State of Emergency and a Public Health Emergency to ramp up New Jersey’s efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19. Governor Murphy has continued to extend the Public Health Emergency since that date.
 
Subsequent containment measures were implemented, including restrictions on public gatherings and mandated closure of non-essential businesses. While these measures are consistent with similar measures being taken nationally that are expected to limit the public’s exposure to COVID-19, there has been and will continue to be a significant adverse impact on the state’s economy.
 
Businesses classified as “Food Services and Drinking Places” under NAICS code 722 (described in this document as “Restaurants”), have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, because of caps on location dining and unusual costs incurred to adapt business models for safe operations.
 
With the Public Health Emergency in place and millions of New Jerseyans abruptly staying home, restaurant revenue has plummeted or disappeared, and many restaurants have had little choice but to change – or abandon – their operating model overnight, with some having to close their doors completely and lay off or furlough all staff. Many restaurants that have changed their operating model have rapidly shifted to a takeout-only model, which resulted in a significant reduction in staff.
 
In 2019, according to the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (NJDOL), 270,000 restaurant workers were employed in New Jersey. Since the beginning of the pandemic, as of October 31, NJDOL reports that 131,710 restaurant workers have filed Unemployment Insurance claims. In 2018, the National Restaurant Association reported there were over 19,000 restaurants in New Jersey.
 
Prior to the pandemic, the sector was growing, with NJDOL projecting the sector would expand by more than 12 percent by 2026. Now, the New Jersey Restaurant and Hospitality Association estimates as many as 30 percent of New Jersey restaurants remain at risk of permanent closure.
 
While these figures are staggering, they were likely mitigated, in part, due to several New Jersey-based initiatives that emerged in direct response to COVID-19, that share the same core function, i.e., the bulk purchase of pre-made meals from New Jersey restaurants, which were then distributed for free to target populations.
 
Specifically, these initiatives aimed to achieve two central goals: to provide urgently needed revenue to restaurants to offset direct losses due to COVID-19, particularly, restaurants that had temporarily closed, were preparing to close, and/or reduced their staff through layoffs or furloughs; and to distribute free meals purchased from local restaurants to target populations, including low-income individuals, senior citizens, health care workers, and first responders.

The Sustain and Serve NJ Program builds on prior New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) initiatives supporting restaurants impacted by COVID-19.
 
Purpose
 
The purpose of the Sustain and Serve NJ Program is to provide urgently needed revenue to New Jersey-based restaurants to offset direct losses due to COVID-19, including restaurants that had temporarily closed, were preparing to close, and/or reduced their staff through layoffs or furloughs.
 
Under the program, up to $2 million will be utilized to make grants of at least $100,000 to certain entities to support prospective expenses for making bulk meal purchases from New Jersey-based restaurants negatively impacted by COVID-19.
 
As part of the Serve and Sustain NJ Program requirements, the grantee is prohibited from reselling any meals purchased with grant funding.
 
Eligible Uses
 
Under the Sustain and Serve NJ Program, grant funding may only be used for direct costs associated with bulk purchasing of meals that are projected to be incurred between date of grant execution and April 30, 2021, for: the restaurant’s costs of food and ingredients; labor, packaging, and facilities; and, any profit margin for the restaurant.
 
However, no other expense(s) incurred by the applicant, whether in support of the meal purchase from the restaurant or otherwise, is eligible, including, but not limited to: indirect/overhead costs incurred by the applicant (e.g., rent, insurance), transportation, distribution, marketing, communications, sales tax and gratuity.
 
Grant Amounts
 
The Sustain and Serve NJ Program offers a minimum grant amount of $100,000, with grant awards calculated based on the projected number of meals to be purchased and estimated cost (per meal), excluding sales tax and gratuity.
 
Under the Sustain and Serve NJ Program, all meal purchases will be reimbursed based on a flat rate per meal. Although there is no exclusion for entities purchasing meals from restaurants at more than $10 per meal, grant funding will be capped at $10 per meal.
 
As part of the application for grant funding, entities will request a grant amount based on the projected number of meals to be purchased and estimated cost (per meal), excluding sales tax and gratuity. All grant estimates must be based on a flat rate per meal, subject to the cap of $10 per meal. For any grant that is awarded, disbursement of the total grant amount will be made incrementally from NJEDA to the grantee as eligible expenses are incurred and disbursement is requested by the grantee. These disbursement requests must document that the expenses actually incurred are consistent with eligible uses of grant funding (i.e., the quantity of meals purchased, the cost per meal, and the restaurant from which the meals were purchased).
 
Once the NJEDA receives all applications, if the total amount of grant funding requested among all eligible applications exceeds the $2 million available for the Program, NJEDA will prorate grant awards based upon the amount determined for each eligible applicant, reducing all grant awards to reflect an eligible applicant’s share of the eligible pool.
 
Eligible Applicants
 
Restaurants may not directly apply for this grant. Restaurants interested in the program are recommended to contact an entity with an established bulk meal purchasing and distribution program to discuss potential participation. Restaurants may also opt to have their business publicly listed on the Sustain and Serve NJ page of the New Jersey COVID-19 Business Hub expressing interest in being a participating restaurant that Sustain and Serve NJ applicants can reach out to for bulk meal purchases. To list your restaurant, please fill out this form. Potential grant applicants may choose to refer to this registry and contact restaurants about participating in the Sustain and Serve NJ program.
 
The Sustain and Serve NJ Program is limited to public or private entities, including 501(c) non-profit organizations. To be eligible, applicants shall provide the following documentation:

1. NJ Business Registration Certificate which may be obtained at  https://www.state.nj.us/treasury/revenue/gettingregistered.shtml

2. Tax Clearance Certification from the Division of Taxation, in the Department of the Treasury which may be obtained at https://www.state.nj.us/treasury/taxation/busasst.shtml  

3. Invoices and receipts demonstrating purchases of 3,000 or more meals made by the entity from any New Jersey-based restaurant(s) totaling at least $50,000, purchased between March 9, 2020 and December 16, 2020.  

In addition, eligible applicants shall be in good standing with NJDOL, with all decisions of good standing at the discretion of the Commissioner of NJDOL.
 
As noted above, eligible applicants must have a demonstrated history of making bulk meal purchases from New Jersey-based restaurants during the current public health emergency totaling at least 3,000 meals valued at least $50,000 between March 9, 2020 and December 16, 2020.
 
As part of the grant application, applicants must list the restaurants that they will be making bulk meal purchases from as part of Sustain and Serve NJ. In order to receive reimbursement for meal purchases through Sustain and Serve NJ, grantees may only purchase meals from restaurants that meet the following requirements:
 

  • Classified as “Food Services and Drinking Places” under NAICS code 722;
  • 50 or less full-time equivalent employees at time of application, based on the company’s most recently filed WR-30 with DOL;
  • Physical commercial location in the State of New Jersey;
  • NJ Business Registration Certificate which may be obtained at  https://www.state.nj.us/treasury/revenue/gettingregistered.shtml
  • Be in good standing with the New Jersey Division of Taxation, with all decisions of good standing at the discretion of the Commissioner of the DOL
  • Be in good standing with the DOL, with all decisions of good standing at the discretion of the Commissioner of the DOL;
  • If regulated by the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC), in the Department of Law and Public Safety, be in good standing with ABC, with all decisions of good standing at the discretion of the ABC;
  • Current and valid certification from municipal and/or county government inspection that the restaurant has received a rating of Satisfactory as per New Jersey Retail Food Establishment Rating system; and
  • Attestation that the restaurant was in operation on February 15, 2020, and has been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 declared state of emergency on March 9, 2020 (e.g., was temporarily shut down, was forced to reduce hours, has had a drop in revenue, has been materially impacted by employees who cannot work due to the outbreak, or has a supply chain that has materially been disrupted and therefore slowed firm-level production).

 
To demonstrate eligibility, restaurants will be required to submit to NJEDA:

1. Form attesting that the restaurant was in operation on February 15, 2020, and has been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 declared state of emergency on March 9, 2020. After the applicant submits their application, this form will be sent by NJEDA directly to listed restaurants.  

2. NJ Business Registration Certificate which may be obtained at  https://www.state.nj.us/treasury/revenue/gettingregistered.shtml; and  

3. Current and valid certification from municipal and/or county government inspection that the restaurant has received a rating of Satisfactory as per New Jersey Retail Food Establishment Rating system.  

Finally, businesses prohibited from eligibility include, but are not limited to: gambling or gaming activities; conduct or purveyance of “adult” (i.e., pornographic, lewd, prurient, obscene or otherwise similarly disreputable) activities, services, products or materials (including nude or semi-nude performances or the sale of sexual aids or devices); any auction or bankruptcy or fire or “lost our-lease” or “going-out-of-business” or similar sale; sales by transient merchants, Christmas tree sales or other outdoor storage; any activity constituting a nuisance; or, any illegal purposes.
 
Funding Disbursement
 
For each grant award, the total amount will be disbursed incrementally as eligible projected expenses are incurred and disbursement is requested from the NJEDA by the grantee. The disbursement requests must be evidenced by documentation supporting that the expenses were actually incurred and consistent with eligible uses of grant funding (i.e., quantity of meals purchased, cost per meal, and restaurant from which the meals were purchased).
 
During the term of the grant, the grantee may request a change or addition to participating restaurant(s), which must be submitted in writing, from which they may purchase meals and receive reimbursement through Sustain and Serve NJ. Requests for changes or additions to restaurants will be reviewed by NJEDA.
 
Application Process
 
Online applications will be accepted from December 16, 2020 through January 8, 2021, and all applications will be reviewed following the closure of the application period.
 
Applications for Sustain and Serve NJ are completed in three parts

1. Applicants are first required to submit an application that includes listing proposed restaurants for meal purchases;

2. Listed restaurants will then receive a short form directly from NJEDA they must complete if they wish to be eligible for meal purchases through Sustain and Serve NJ; and

3. Applicants are sent the restaurant submission to review and approve before it is sent to NJEDA. Approvals must be completed by the application deadline for consideration for meal purchase reimbursement through Sustain and Serve NJ.  
 
Applicants are responsible for ensuring restaurants have submitted materials by the application deadline. Applicants should allow sufficient time for submission of both their and listed restaurants’ materials. 
 
Fees
           
Due to financial hardship of the ultimate beneficiaries, NJEDA will collect no fees from the applicant for this program.
 
Additional Information
 
Additional information on the Sustain and Serve NJ Program may be found at the COVID-19 Business Information Hub: https://business.nj.gov/covid/is-my-business-eligible-for-the-sustain-and-serve-program?locale=en.
 

TRENTON, N.J. (November 13, 2020) – The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) Board of Directors today approved the creation of the Sustain and Serve NJ Program, a $2 million grant program that will provide funding to organizations to purchase meals from restaurants that have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and distribute the meals at no cost to New Jersey residents. This program builds on prior NJEDA initiatives supporting restaurants impacted by COVID-19, including $35 million in targeted grant funding for restaurants the Authority made available through Phase 3 of the Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program. More information about Sustain and Serve NJ and complete eligibility requirements for potential applicants are available at https://cv.business.nj.gov.  
 
“The COVID-19 pandemic has had devastating impacts on all of our lives, but restaurant owners and their employees have been hit particularly hard,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. “Sustain and Serve NJ is an innovative solution that will provide much-needed relief to our restaurant sector while also providing free meals to New Jersey residents. This is crucial to ensuring New Jersey’s communities and economy withstand the pandemic and are in a strong position to recover.”
 
The COVID-19 pandemic has hit restaurants harder than almost any other industry. According to the New Jersey Restaurant and Hospitality Association’s most recent estimates, as many as 30 percent of New Jersey restaurants are at risk of permanent closure and the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (NJDOL) reports that more than 134,000 restaurant employees have filed Unemployment Insurance claims.
 
The Sustain and Serve NJ Grant Program approved today will make up to $2 million of funding from the NJEDA Economic Recovery Fund available to organizations working to bolster the strength of New Jersey’s restaurants. Eligible organizations can receive grants of at least $100,000 for prospective bulk purchases of meals from New Jersey-based restaurants.
 
The program will be open to entities, including 501(c) non-profit organizations, that are legally registered to do business in New Jersey and are in good standing with the New Jersey Department of Labor and the New Jersey Division of Taxation. Restaurants may not directly apply for this grant. Grant applicants will be required to demonstrate prior bulk purchases of 3,000 or more meals valued at $50,000 or more from New Jersey-based restaurants between March 9, 2020 and the date of application launch. The NJEDA will not provide reimbursements for meals purchased prior to the program launch. Grantees cannot resell any meals purchased with grant funding.
 
Applicants will also need to identify the restaurant or restaurants from which they will be purchasing meals. To receive funding, the partner restaurants must have 50 or fewer employees; maintain a physical commercial location in New Jersey; be legally registered to do business in New Jersey and in good standing with the New Jersey Department of Labor, New Jersey Division of Taxation, and (where applicable) the New Jersey Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control; and possess valid certification from municipal or county government inspection showing a current rating of Satisfactory per the New Jersey Retail Food Establishment Rating system. Restaurants will also have to certify that they were in operation on February 15, 2020, and detail how their business has been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
Grant funding awarded through the Sustain and Serve NJ Program will be restricted to expenses related to the direct cost of purchasing meals, as determined by the grantee’s restaurant partner or partners. This cost may include the restaurant’s cost of food and ingredients, labor, packaging, facilities, and profit margin. Sales tax and gratuity cannot be paid for using grant funds. While the restaurant may charge any amount, the award amount will be capped at $10 per meal. No other expense incurred by the grantee, whether in support of the meal purchase from the restaurant or otherwise, is eligible. Grant funding can only be used to support expenses incurred before or on April 30, 2021.
 
Applications for Sustain and Serve NJ will be available soon. More information about the program can be found at https://cv.business.nj.gov.  
 
In addition to Sustain and Serve NJ, the NJEDA administers a variety of grant, low-cost financing, and technical assistance programs for small and mid-sized businesses impacted by COVID-19, including $35 million of targeted grant funding for restaurants through Phase 3 of the Authority’s Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program. Comprehensive information about these programs and other State support for businesses impacted by the pandemic is available at https://cv.business.nj.gov.
 
 
About the New Jersey Economic Development Authority
The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) serves as the State’s principal agency for driving economic growth. The NJEDA is committed to making New Jersey a national model for inclusive and sustainable economic development by focusing on key strategies to help build strong and dynamic communities, create good jobs for New Jersey residents, and provide pathways to a stronger and fairer economy. Through partnerships with a diverse range of stakeholders, the NJEDA creates and implements initiatives to enhance the economic vitality and quality of life in the State and strengthen New Jersey’s long-term economic competitiveness.
 
To learn more about NJEDA resources for businesses call NJEDA Customer Care at 609-858-6767 or visit https://www.njeda.com and follow @NewJerseyEDA on FacebookTwitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
 

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Rutgers-Food-Innovation-Center.jpg
Julie Elmer, Rutgers Food Innovation Center Associate Director Food Technology, works with a team to produce a frozen entrée.
 

TRENTON, N.J. (May 29, 2019) – For nearly two decades, entrepreneurs developing plant-based meat alternatives, gluten-free breads, functional beverages, and many ethnic specialties have leveraged resources at the Rutgers Food Innovation Center to grow their businesses. Startups considering a move to the Rutgers Food Innovation Center can now apply for rent support through the New Jersey Economic Development Authority’s (NJEDA’s) NJ Ignite Program. NJ Ignite provides up to nine months of rent-support grants for technology and life sciences startup businesses moving to incubators, accelerators, and coworking spaces throughout the Garden State.

Located in both Bridgeton and Piscataway, the facilities are designed for use by startup- and existing-food companies, farmers and cooperatives, and retail and food-service establishments looking to market signature recipes. Tenants are assisted from concept to commercialization, with services including: business and technical mentoring, food safety and business training, collaborative workspace, and the ability to scale a food or beverage product in its US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)/US Department of Agriculture (USDA)-inspected processing facilities.

Under the leadership of Executive Director Richard McArdle, the internationally-recognized Rutgers Food Innovation Center is staffed by food industry veterans who work as a multi-functional team to address the needs of existing businesses and attract new business growth to New Jersey. This team brings decades of applied food industry experience in areas including: food safety, quality assurance, research and development, business development, marketing, and technical operations.

“To find such a breadth of knowledge under one roof is highly unique, but our innovators are the drivers behind their businesses, with our team offering support every step of the way – from concept to commercialization to the shelf,” says Diane Holtaway, Associate Director – Marketing of the Rutgers Food Innovation Center. “Whether you’re an entrepreneur coming to us with an idea, or an established enterprise looking for expertise or production space, we’ve got you covered.”

NJ Ignite is made possible through a combination of support from the NJEDA and the collaborative workspace, with the NJEDA providing up to six months’ rent and the collaborative workspace providing rent for half the length of NJEDA’s commitment. In addition to providing rent support to startups, NJ Ignite also serves as a tool for collaborative workspaces like the Rutgers Food Innovation Center to attract young businesses and will encourage the creation of new collaborative workspaces throughout the state. To date, more than a dozen collaborative workspaces have been approved to participate in the program.

“Governor Murphy’s economic plan places great emphasis on giving New Jersey a competitive edge in the global marketplace as the Garden State seeks to reclaim its role as a leader in innovation,” NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan said. “Providing opportunities for innovative startups to access the benefits of facilities like the Rutgers Food Innovation Center, which can accommodate and support their growth, is just one of the ways we are advancing that goal.”

About the New Jersey Economic Development Authority
The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) serves as the State’s principal agency for driving economic growth. The NJEDA is committed to making New Jersey a national model for inclusive and sustainable economic development by focusing on key strategies to help build strong and dynamic communities, create good jobs for New Jersey residents, and provide pathways to a stronger and fairer economy. Through partnerships with a diverse range of stakeholders, the NJEDA creates and implements initiatives to enhance the economic vitality and quality of life in the State and strengthen New Jersey’s long-term economic competitiveness.

To learn more about NJEDA resources, call NJEDA Customer Care at 609-858-6767 or visit https://www.njeda.com  and follow @NewJerseyEDA on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn.

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