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The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) board this week approved an update to Phase 2 of the Small Business Emergency Assistance Loan Program, which will provide up to $100,000 in low-cost financing to New Jersey small businesses and nonprofits.

The board voted Wednesday to prioritize applications from small businesses and nonprofits that have taken on new space, transitioned from a home-based business or smaller space into a larger space, or acquired an owner-occupied commercial space. Eligible small businesses and nonprofits that have not leased or acquired larger spaces in 2021 may still apply, but their applications will be processed after the prioritized ones.

“As we move into recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is essential that we continue to provide the resources business owners need to reopen and thrive,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. “The improvements to Phase 2 of the Small Business Emergency Assistance Loan Program … will make much-needed financing available to New Jersey businesses with a focus on growing businesses that have been left out of previous COVID-19 relief programs.”

The NJEDA created the Small Business Emergency Assistance Loan Program in March of 2020 to make low-cost financing available to small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. To date, the NJEDA has approved 145 loans for a combined total of more than $10 million.

Capitalized by a U.S. Economic Development Administration (USEDA) Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act appropriation, Phase 2 of the Small Business Emergency Assistance Loan Program makes additional financing available to New Jersey businesses and nonprofits, with a particular focus on entities that have leased or acquired new space in 2021.

Businesses with $10 million or less in annual revenue that have executed a new lease, leased additional space, or acquired an owner-occupied commercial space of at least 500 square feet on or after Jan. 1, 2021, will be prioritized as “Stage 1” applicants and will have an exclusive application window, after which all eligible businesses may apply.

To ensure timely processing of applications, the NJEDA is implementing a two-step application process for Phase 2 of the Small Business Emergency Assistance Loan Program. Businesses and nonprofits interested in applying for loans must first pre-register for the program. Following the pre-registration period, applications will open for “Stage 1” applicants for a 10-day period, after which the Authority will open applications to all other qualified entities based on the availability of funding.

The NJEDA anticipates opening the pre-registration period beginning in July 2021. Specific dates and timing will be posted at https://business.nj.gov/covid/emergency-assistance-loan-program.

All businesses must pre-register during the pre-registration period to be eligible to apply during Phase 2 of the Loan Program.