Prepare For Fourth Round NJEDA Grants

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) has been doing their part to make sure businesses suffering the economic strain of COVID receive as much relief as possible.

In response to Governor Murphy’s declaration of a public health emergency that began in March 2020 and continues through the present, the NJEDA began to put together programs that sought to limit the burden business owners were experiencing.

One of these programs was the Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program (SBEAGP). This program is now in it’s fourth round, and even if you haven’t taken advantage of it up to now, there’s no reason you can’t get some much-needed state assistance to help you in this final stage of the covid pandemic. This article will detail all the pertinent information for obtaining a NJEDA grant in 2021. Let’s proceed, shall we?

The Latest News About NJEDA Grants.

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority is currently taking pre-applications for the fourth round of their COVID-related grant program. The pre-registration for the program will end on April 29th, after that point there will be a rolling admission as funds are available.

In its first three rounds, this grant has provided business owners with the capital necessary to support their payroll, supplies, or general operating expenses. It’s popularity and support within the chambers of Trenton have resulted in further funding to be distributed to those New Jersey business owners most in need. 

For clarity’s sake, let’s call this grant by it’s name: Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program (SBEAGP). Good god, that’s a mouthful. As a result of the cumbersome name, you’ll probably see them discussed as “NJEDA Grants” in most cases. I’m not trying to add to the confusion, I just want you to know that you might hear both names if you dive into the process, don’t be concerned!

Who is Eligible for a NJEDA Grant?

There are a couple of hard and fast qualifiers/disqualifiers, so let’s save some time and get those out of the way up front.

  • Must have been in business or or by February 15, 2020
  • May not employ more than 50 FTEs
  • Have a physical location in the state of New Jersey

You will find more stipulations on the actual application, but they are questions that seem almost obvious or absurd. 

Do you need this grant? Do you promise not to take this grant and then fire someone for the sake of it. Do you promise to rehire people you may have fired as a result of COVID-related economic impact? You’re not a habitual financial criminal who files false paperwork with the state for the purposes of misappropriating taxpayer money?

Anyone filing either needs the grant, or has no qualms about lying on forms like this. I suppose the state is just doing its due legal diligence.

Any further questions you might have would be best directed to the NJEDA FAQ for these grants.

Who is Ineligible?

Any businesses that are of pornographic or of a “prurient sexual nature.” The government’s terms, not mine. Also businesses that use “Going out of business” or similar wording as a method of advertising. Outdoor storage businesses, think christmas tree or flea market vendors, are also excluded from this gant.

How Much Will I Get?

The size of the grant is directly connected to the number of full-time employees (FTEs) on your payroll. Before you even ask, yes, if you’re a sole proprietorship or non-profit you do qualify. 

Businesses with:

  • 5 or fewer FTEs (and sole proprietorships) will receive up to $10,000
  • 6 to 25 FTEs will receive up to $15,000
  • 26 to 50 FTEs will receive up to $20,000 

If you’re interested in getting an exact estimate of the grant you could receive, you can check out the grant size estimator provided by the NJEDA.

Are There Any Prioritized Industries or Demographics for NJEDA Grants?

Yes! The state of New Jersey is seeking to help those industries most adversely affected by the COVID pandemic. Restaurants, child care services, micro-businesses (businesses with less than 5 employees).

Grants will be prioritized to restaurants, child care services, micro-businesses, and small businesses in general. Those who did not apply or were not approved for the third round of the NJEDA grants are also among those whose applications will be looked on favorably.

The last group that should be taking special interest in these grants is anyone who’s business lies in an “opportunity zone.” Some of you might remember that New Jersey used to refer to these areas as Urban Enterprise Zones, either way, it’s worth checking out if your business is within these areas designated by the state.

More information on opportunity zones can be found here, something that’s definitely worth your time if you fall in an area designated as such.

In line with the State’s commitment to a stronger, fairer recovery, Phase 4 funding will be allocated to support the most adversely affected businesses, including restaurants, micro-businesses, and child care providers, as well as other small businesses. To ensure grants reach businesses in the hardest hit communities, including communities of color, one-third of funding 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.

What Can I Use my Grant For?

You can use your grant to replace lost revenue that you would have used to pay employees or general operating expenses.

In many ways, this grant is a state effort meant to be complementary to the federal PPP, EIDL, RESTAURANTS Act, and Save Our Stages Act. If any of those terms are new to you, I highly suggest you check out our earlier blog posts to see if there are grants or loans available for you at the federal level.

Are There Any Restrictions?

You can’t take this grant, turn around and start expanding your business. Say it with me: no capital expenses.

You’re supposed to use this money to replace that revenue which has been lost, not position yourself for the next phase of business expansion. That’s been pretty standard across the board when it comes to and COVID-related relief, and it makes sense to me.

The fear, and not an unwarranted one, is that businesses will take money from taxpayers and use it to the benefit of the owners as opposed to the people they employ and the community they serve.

While creating profitable businesses or earning money is absolutely a motivating factor in why many of us get out of bed in the morning , there is also a huge responsibility to those that they employ! (a pre-emptive sorry to my wife, of course I get out of bed to be with you, but also because I’m trying to better our economic circumstances for the future!)

When a free-market system is working properly, and there are no worldwide plagues, this is a service that business owners can provide to their communities without even realizing it. That’s one of the beautiful features of capitalism, do as well as you can for yourself and those around you will benefit.

Get to Work on Your Application!

The time is now to start filling out your application; don’t dawdle, demur, or delay! With the pre-registration deadline coming up on the 29th, you should make filling out your application priority #1.

Even if you find yourself unable to complete the application within that time frame, you should still complete and submit it whenever you’re able. If history serves as any indicator for the future, many programs will get further funding, and the first recipients of the next round are those who didn’t receive any funds in the round prior. Whether or not you’ve taken advantage of any relief programs thus far is irrelevant. This is an opportunity that is not often seen in the halls of state government, and should be capitalized on without delay.

Anyone with doubts about how they should go about their application would be well served by speaking with their accounting and payroll professionals. Businesses that rely on your existence for their existence see your questions as a blessing, never a burden.