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The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) is still accepting applications for the Small Business Lease Grants, which partially reimburse small businesses and nonprofits for the cost of leases signed for new or additional space street-level commercial space within the last 12 months.  

NJEDA will cover 20% of total lease payments each year for two years under this new $10 million program designed to help establish and grow small businesses, fill vacant commercial space, and revitalize downtowns and Main Streets across New Jersey. 

Applicants must be a commercial business, nonprofit, or operator of an incubator that meets the U.S. Small Business Administration’s definition of a “small business” based on employee count and NAICS code. Approved applicants will receive two NJEDA grant awards, each equal to 20% of the annual lease payment, on a minimum five-year lease term.  

The first disbursement of 20% of the annual lease payment will be made upon execution of grant agreement with NJEDA, and the second disbursement will be made after the applicant has made all lease payments for 12 months. 

Online applications, which opened in late October, will continue to be accepted on a rolling basis until the program funding is exhausted, the NJEDA said Monday. About 40% of the grants, ($4 million) have been reserved for businesses and nonprofits in Opportunity Zone eligible Census tracts. 

Existing law prohibits most cannabis licensees or certificate holders from receiving an NJEDA grant, including the Small Business Lease Grant. For more information about the eligibility requirement and how to apply online, go to NJEDA’s website here.