The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) is offering small business grants to businesses in eligible areas in Passaic City and Paterson. State has created two business incentive programs to spur economic growth in its poorer cities.
One program assists small businesses with their annual lease payments for two years and another provides incentives to help retail shops make improvements. Both programs, the Business Lease Incentive and the Business Improvement Incentive, are being run in Paterson, Passaic City, Atlantic City, Camden, and Trenton under the Economic Opportunity Act of 2013.
“Programs administered under the EOA are attracting private investment and creating momentum in Passaic and Paterson,” Melissa Orsen, chief executive officer of the EDA, said. “The BLI and BII programs help to position surrounding small businesses to take advantage of increased foot traffic and interest in these areas.”
BLI offers 15-percent reimbursement of annual lease payments for two years to for-profit and non-profit organizations leasing 500-5,000 square feet of first floor office, industrial, or retial space for a five-year term in eligible areas. Businesses leasing over 5,000 are eligible, but the state will only incentivize the first 5,000 square feet.
BII offers up to 50-percent of total project cost for improvements made to first floor of a facility in an eligible area. Project cost has to be $5,000 or more. Maximum grant award is $20,000.
The programs target businesses in commercial corridors. In Paterson, businesses in the Urban Enterprise Zones and downtown Paterson are eligible. Businesses on Main Street from Memorial Drive to Crooks Avenue; 21st Avenue from Main Street to Madison Avenue; and 10th Avenue are eligible.
In Passaic City, businesses in the Market and First Street Corridor and the Central Business District on Main Avenue are eligible.
“These programs are not only helpful to business owners looking to locate or expand in Paterson, but can also be leveraged by commercial realtors and landlords as an incentive to attract tenants,” Ruben Gomez, director of the Economic Development Department in Paterson, said.
The programs are being run as a pilot for three years. $200,000 is available to each city per year.
“Passaic City is constantly looking for new opportunities to support our local small business owners. These grant-funded incentive programs encourage business owners to invest in our City and continue the economic momentum we are focused on within eligible business districts,” said Passaic City mayor Hector Lora said. “These programs offered through the State provide a boost to businesses by providing important funding for facade improvements or renovations that benefit local businesses.”
Businesses can find applications for both programs on the state’s website. BII program here and BLI program here. Or contact Paterson’s Gomez at 973-321-1220 or firstname.lastname@example.org and Passaic City’s UEZ coordinator Soraya Stam at 973-365-5500 or email@example.com.