New Jersey still has not replaced its main economic incentive programs that expired July 1, but the federal government has plenty of programs that can help businesses grow and be more competitive.

According to Barbara Weltman at the Big Ideas for Small Business blog, the federal government makes available an estimated $85 billion a year in government economic incentives, and while only a fraction of that money is for very small employers, a fraction of $85 billion is still a lot of money.

In her most recent post, Weltman put together a list of the different programs available and a little information on how to go about applying for them.

“If you’re a ‘small’ small business and know what to look for and go about applying for the incentive correctly, you may reap a valuable benefit,” Weltman writes.

The programs include everything from cash reimbursements for training employees to low-interest loans and loan guarantees. There are also tax credits for providing jobs to certain workers and conducting research and development.

Applying for these incentives may require some assistance, however. Weltman recommends businesses go through their state’s local business development office. In New Jersey, it’s the Business Action Center, which is also the place to go for one-stop shopping on state programs for small business.

Additionally, you likely will need the help of one of your professionals, such as an accountant or attorney.

“After all, when applying for certain incentives, there’s a strict application process, including a letter of intent, a preliminary application, and a supplemental application accompanied by various exhibits, valuations, and analyses,” she writes.

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