In recent days, I have received details about four different grant programs for New Jersey businesses. These stand out to me because they are available for broad categories of businesses, they are not especially difficult to get, and because they remain under-subscribed — the government is actively seeking businesses to which it can give money.
I thought you’d want to know about that!
Mercer County Grants
For my clients in our home base of Mercer County: I have heard from the source that the County is eager to give you a $10,000 Grant.
At a business opening last week, I had the pleasure of speaking with Anthony Carabelli, the Director of the Mercer County Office of Economic Development. He was passionate about the County’s Business Grant Program, and was actively encouraging more companies to take advantage of the program. He was so enthusiastic that he literally asked me to send you to him to get money.
You should meet the following criteria to qualify for the grants:
- Be a for-profit entity located in Mercer County and be registered to do business in the state of New Jersey;
- Been in business prior to September 2019; and
- Be in a Qualified Census Tract or Opportunity Zone (those are big chunks of Trenton and Hamilton) OR
- Be able to demonstrate a dip in business year-to-year during the pandemic period (like in 2020 or 2021 compared to 2019).
Sole proprietors and operators are eligible to apply for funding. Informally, there may be a preference for brick-and-mortar establishments; however, virtual businesses with clients should still apply. The County will need to see business tax returns or your Schedule Cs for your income information.
Please feel free to contact me if you want to discuss your chances, based on what I heard from Director Carabelli. Or contact him directly and let him know that I suggested you explore the grant program.
State-wide Grants from the NJEDA
Last week I also attended a workshop on active small business grant programs from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) — these are state-wide programs, and again, these are programs in which the government still has money to give away.
Each of these programs has its own detailed requirements. In brief, they are:
- The Small Business Lease Grant is an opportunity to help small businesses with their rent payments on a new lease. It provides a 20% offset of the first two years of a business lease. To be eligible, the lease must be for a minimum of 5 years and must have been signed or amended within the last 12 months.
- The Small Business Improvement Grant is designed to help small businesses with the costs associated with improvements to a physical facility or purchasing furniture, fixtures, and equipment (FFE). Under this program, the State will reimburse up to $50,000 of the cost of such improvements, with the caveat that they must have been completed and paid for within the past two years. This includes computers and IT equipment as well. Home-based businesses are also eligible for this grant. If you’re considering applying, know that your business can only get the grant once in its lifetime, so it’s best not to use it for something minor. But if you just made an investment in your physical space, go for it!
- The Small Business E-Commerce Support Program is an opportunity for restaurants, personal care businesses, and retail establishments in need of digital marketing support. Through this program, businesses can receive up to $11,000 worth of free e-commerce or digital support services like website improvements, online booking set-up, and digital marketing. All businesses must do is contact one of the designated consultants and the state will pay for their services. This program is not limited to stores, but any business that has a physical commercial location where goods or services are sold.
I’d be delighted to tell you what we know about these opportunities, point you to the right person at the state to provide more detailed information (I’d suggest you start with Small Business Liason Kathy Guzman, and tell her I sent you) or anything else we can do to assist you.