On June 11, 2013, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority‚Äôs board approved the creation of a new ‚ÄúStronger NJ Business Loan‚Äù program.
Starting from July 1, low-cost loans of up to $5 million will be available to businesses and non-profits expanding into storm-impacted communities.
The loans are also available to existing establishments that have suffered from physical damage worth at least $5,000 to property, equipment or non-perishable and non-consumable inventory.
All applicants must already have been in existence at the time when Sandy struck New Jersey, and must have at least one location in the state.
The launch of the loan program was preceded by last month‚Äôs launch of the Stronger NJ Business Grant program. Both are being administered by the NJ EDA and are funded through $460 million of the state‚Äôs CDBG Disaster Recovery allocation for storm-impacted businesses.
In order to qualify, the business must show sufficient capital investment or job retention and creation for a project that positively impacts the local economy; and/or the $5,000 in physical damage mentioned above.
The loan can be used as working capital and for making renovations or new construction, subject to the criteria set forward by HUD for use of CDBG Disaster Recovery funds ‚Äì that it should be used as a last resort and only provided if funding from other sources is unavailable.
The loan program is expected to utilize $100 million of the CDBG allocation, and will be provided to small businesses with at least $25,000 in annual revenues. The focus will be on businesses in the nine most impacted counties.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said that small businesses were the economic and social backbone of Jersey communities that experienced storm damage from Sandy, and the EDA board‚Äôs approval of the loan program was the next step in helping storm-impacted businesses rebuild and recover and get back to normal operations.
EDA CEO Michele Brown said that they working to ensure, through the loan and grant programs, that impacted communities and businesses in New Jersey are able to rebuild, recover and thrive. Brown added that they wanted to encourage businesses to expand and invest in the hardest hit communities to promote job creation and retention.