Businesses in New Jersey now have new financing resources to help them face the fiscal challenges of the national economic crisis. Two state programs, established under Governor Jon S. Corzine’s Economic Assistance and Recovery Plan, have made available $170 million in new funding to stimulate capital investment and job creation.
In creating these initiatives, known as the Main Street Business Assistance Program and InvestNJ, the Governor and the Legislature have taken critical steps to support business growth and community investment in New Jersey and help our state emerge from a national economic recession.
Enabling qualified small and mid-size businesses and nonprofit organizations in New Jersey to access capital, the Main Street Business Assistance Program has two parts: a loan participation and/or guarantee product that is offered through participating banks and a line of credit guarantee offered through the EDA’s 14 Preferred Lender partners. To qualify, borrowers must be in business at least two years, maintain jobs in New Jersey, and meet other EDA requirements.
For term loans secured by fixed assets like buildings and equipment, the EDA will provide a maximum participation of 25 percent, or $1 million, in a bank loan and a maximum bank loan guarantee of 50 percent, up to $2 million. For working capital loans to cover operating expenses, the EDA will provide up to 25 percent of a bank loan, not to exceed $750,000, and a maximum guarantee of 50 percent, up to $1.5 million. The aggregate EDA exposure cannot exceed 50 percent of the total bank loan amount to a total maximum of $2 million. The interest rate on EDA loan participations are fixed at 5 percent for a maximum of five years. Borrowers also can use the Main Street program to refinance higher-interest debt.
The line of credit guarantee, which can be used for fixed assets or working capital, will be set at a maximum of 50 percent of the bank amount, up to a maximum of $250,000.
The $120-million InvestNJ program also includes two components. One offers a $3,000 grant to New Jersey businesses for each new job created and retained for one year. This component will provide up to $50 million, not to exceed $500,000 per grantee, for each eligible position created after December 1, 2008, and before January 1, 2011, by qualified businesses that experience a net increase in employment of eligible positions in the state during the same 12 consecutive months.
Another element of the program authorizes the payment of grants equal to seven percent of a business’s qualifying capital investment of at least $5,000 made prior to January 1, 2011. Up to $70 million is available for capital investment grants, not to exceed $1 million per grantee, to fund expenses for the direct use and operation of a business.
To take advantage of the job creation grant component of InvestNJ, a business must have operated continuously in New Jersey for at least the prior two years, and must have at least five full-time eligible employees.
To benefit from the capital investment grant, businesses must have operated continuously for at least the prior two years and have at least five full-time employees. The InvestNJ program has been so popular that applicants are now placed on a waiting list for funding. However, applicants are still encouraged to apply.
Qualifying factors for both programs can be found at www.njeda.com. Additionally, for more information on the Main Street Business Assistance Program, you may call 1-800-537-7397 or e-mail MainSt@njeda.com. You may also call 1-800-537-7397 for information on Invest NJ or E-mail ServiceCenter@njeda.com.
Caren S. Franzini is chief executive officer of the NJ Economic Development Authority.