jERSEY cITY mAYOR fULOP Addresses small business needs during coronavirus crisis

Jersey City Introduces Local Relief Program 

First Phase of Program Targets Local Small Businesses; City will Match NJEDA Grants, Doubling Financial Assistance for Local Small Businesses Amid Crisis

JERSEY CITY – Following Mayor Steven Fulop’s announcement that he will introduce an ordinance with the Jersey City Municipal Council to freeze rent increases within rent controlled buildings, Mayor Fulop is unveiling a program of local grants to support small businesses that are facing financial hardships due to the current Covid-19 crisis. 

The small business grant program will entail the City of Jersey City matching 100% of any state grants awarded to Jersey City applicants of the NJ Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program, which goes live from Friday, April 3rd to April 10th.  The local Jersey City program will be administered through the Jersey City Economic Development Corporation (JCEDC), a 501c3 nonprofit.  

 â€œWe’ve been working to stay ahead of the curve by anticipating our residents’ and business owners’ needs to survive this pandemic not only from a health standpoint, but also economically which could further devastate our community,” said Mayor Fulop.  “We decided to structure local programs that fully complement the state and federal program so that our local businesses can get a much needed advantage. We are achieving that here with short term grants up to $10,000 per business.”

The Administration will use available CDBG funds to match the $1,000 to $5,000 in state funding being made available to small businesses and nonprofits with a physical storefront.

“As a city, we believe in small businesses and their contribution to the economy, which is why providing a matching grant program is essential,” said Council President Joyce Watterman.  “Small businesses are the backbone of our city, and are among those who need financial help the most right now.  This financial boost will really help businesses get back on their feet.”

The JCEDC is already working with local community partners to highlight this opportunity for small businesses and nonprofits, which is the latest step towards providing financial relief to those who need it most during this crisis.

“The money we match will be used to help with payroll and provide working capital with the goal of retaining employees,” said Vivian Brady-Phillips, Vice Chair of the JCEDC. “The business owner must certify as to the COVID-19 related need for financial support and be committed to retaining employees.  This is key for both businesses and the workers who also live in our community.”

The application for the NJEDA Small Business Grant program will be available on beginning at 9 a.m. tomorrow.

The pandemic we are facing has brought challenges to nearly every aspect of our community. We continue to see the number of positive cases rise. As of today, April 2nd, we have 902 cases and 26 fatalities – both of which are the highest in New Jersey. Our thoughts continue to be with those families that are dealing firsthand with someone that has the virus or a family member that has been lost due to the virus. 

You should know that as a City, we are focused very much on the here and now with regards to making sure people are safe – that is our number one priority – but we must also plan for tomorrow, for how our Jersey City community will recover months from now.  
While we continue to stay home and continue to practice social distancing, we know that many of the small businesses that are the fabric of our community are suffering. From closing their doors indefinitely to having the lay off staff, we know that they have already made challenging business decisions, with a long road ahead.
We are now seeing some relief programs in place at the federal and state levels for small businesses. I know for many this will not be enough and for that reason, we are launching some local initiatives to help small businesses and their employees. For those businesses in Jersey City that use the state grant program, we will match at the local level every dollar of the state grant they receive to enhance the help for our small businesses. We will literally double the grant you receive from the state and all you have to do is apply. Our goal with local programs like this is to think strategically on how we can leverage existing programs at the state or federal level and enhance them so that Jersey City businesses gain an advantage. 
With this program we are launching tomorrow, small businesses and nonprofits with a storefront can receive up to $10,000 as a grant.

I know these times are tough, but you should know that we will continue to work at the local level to confront the challenges together and we will get through this.