Small business grants in New Jersey
If you own a small business in New Jersey, you may be eligible for state-sponsored grants. Grants are money that your business is given for a specific purpose, that does not need to be paid back. Most grants have specific requirements, so be sure you meet them before applying.
Here are some small business grants in New Jersey you can apply for.
Return and Earn: Employer grants for hiring the unemployed
The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (NJDOL) recently expanded the Return and Earn Program, which incentivizes businesses with 500 or fewer employees to hire and train unemployed workers.
Employers who hire new employees who were previously unemployed can be reimbursed for 50% of the wages they pay those employees during a training period of up to six months. The employer can collect up to $20,000 per employee and a total of up to $200,000 for all qualified new employees. The positions must be full-time (at least 32 hours per week) and pay at least $16 per hour. Candidates must receive approved on-the-job or virtual training that results in skill badges or industry-recognized credentials.
The NJDOL and other state agencies are reaching out to employers in industries hard hit by Covid-19, such as manufacturing, healthcare, transportation, leisure/hospitality, and retail, as well as employers in traditionally underserved areas and industries.
For more information, visit NJ.gov/labor/returnandearn.
Related: 15 Small business grants women entrepreneurs can apply for
Small Business Lease Grant
If you need more space for your New Jersey business, look into the New Jersey Small Business Lease Grant, which provides grant funding for a portion of lease payment on new and additional space. Businesses that meet the SBA definition of a small business can apply for two grant awards equal to 20% of the total annual lease payment. A new lease must occupy at least 250 square feet, and an amended or extended lease must occupy at least 250 square feet more than this existing space. The lease must be market rate and must be for at least five years.
Related: Need business capital? Here’s how to apply for a grant
Small Business Improvement Grant
If you are considering making improvements to your New Jersey business, the Small Business Improvement Grant awards grants for 50% of eligible total project costs, up to $50,000. Projects can include capital improvements or purchase or installation of new furniture, fixtures, and equipment. You must rent or own the facility that is being improved, and the project cost must be at least $5,000.
The New Jersey Economic Development Authority, which administers the Small Business Improvement Grant program, notes that there have been a significant number of applications for the grant, and the current processing time is about eight months from the time your application is received.
Related: 8 Grants for Black entrepreneurs
Asset Activation Planning Grant
The Asset Activation Planning Grant provides up to $50,000 to private, public, or non-profit entities to demonstrate the viability of projects that will activate public assets that are presently under-utilized. The projects are expected to benefit their communities and the regional economy. The funds may be used for conceptual design, feasibility studies, economic analysis, market analysis, and more.
Other resources and opportunities for New Jersey businesses
The New Jersey Business Action Center is the state of New Jersey’s liaison to the business community. The Center offers resources, services and information to new and existing small businesses in New Jersey.
If you’re starting a new business in New Jersey or are looking to grow your existing New Jersey small business, visit business.NJ.gov for valuable information. You’ll learn how to register your business with the state and how to stay in compliance with state regulations for businesses.
Frequently asked questions:
What is the NJEDA grant?
The New Jersey Economic Development Authority is a state agency that provides services to businesses and individuals in New Jersey, including business grants such as the Small Business Lease Grant and the Small Business Improvement Grant. The NJEDA administers the programs created under the New Jersey Economic Recovery Act of 2020, a $14 billion package of grant, incentive, and financing programs designed to stimulate the New Jersey economy.
Who qualifies for NJEDA?
There are several grant and financing programs available from the NJEDA, and each has different requirements. Many programs give precedence to businesses in underserved communities or those run by historically underrepresented populations.
Is NJEDA a state agency?
Yes. The New Jersey Economic Development Agency is the principal agency for driving economic growth in New Jersey. It works with partners to create and implement initiatives to enhance New Jersey’s economic vitality and strengthen its long-term economic competitiveness.