Burlington County freeholders remind businesses to register for potential state assistance

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The Burlington County Board of Chosen Freeholders is reminding business owners to pre-register for potential assistance from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority’s small business assistance fund.

Businesses must register by 5 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 27, in order become eligible to apply for the assistance.

Earlier this month, Gov. Phil Murphy announced his administration’s intent to distribute $70 million in federal CARES Act money to small businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Half of the funds will be reserved for restaurants and taverns, $15 million will be directed to so-called “micro-businesses” with five or fewer employees, and the remaining $20 million will be available to any small business with 50 or fewer employees.

To register, visit https://programs.njeda.com/en-US/Account/Login/Register?returnUrl=%2F.

After registering, businesses will be eligible to apply for the grant funding, starting Thursday, Oct. 29, for restaurants; and Wednesday, Friday, Oct. 30 for microbusinesses. All other businesses will be permitted to begin applying starting on Nov. 2.

Applications will be accepted for one week on a first-come, first-served basis.

For more information about the program, visit https://cv.business.nj.gov.

Burlington County Freeholder Deputy Director Tom Pullion, who serves as the board’s liaison to the Department of Economic Development, urges Burlington County businesses to register and apply for the state help.

“Small businesses are essential to our economy and we know many of them have suffered terribly because of the pandemic, so we don’t want anyone to miss out on available help because they weren’t aware and didn’t register in time,” Pullion said in a statement released by the county. “This grant funding can provide a real lifeline, so I encourage all eligible businesses in the county to register today and apply as soon as possible.”

In addition to the state grants, Pullion reminded business owners that the county is offering small businesses in the county zero-interest loans to assist them with their recovery.

A total of $660,000 in federal CARES Act funding was secured by the Burlington County Bridge Commission’s Economic Development Office for the new Health Emergency Loan Program (HELP), which will extend up to $50,000 in zero-interest financing to any business operating in the county for business-related purchases, expenses and improvements, according to the statement.

To be eligible for the loans, the borrowing business must be located in Burlington County, jobs must be retained for the term of the loan and the borrower must have sufficient collateral in business or personal real estate to secure the loan.

Businesses can get up to $10,000 for each job retained, to a maximum of $50,000. Loans will have a 0% interest rate, no closing costs, a maximum payback period of 10 years, applications fees are waived and the equity in the business at risk must be at least 10% of the amount requested to borrow.

“This health crisis has been unprecedented in its impacts on both our residents and our businesses and it demands all levels of government to work together to provide support and help. That’s what’s happening in Burlington County and we will continue to provide whatever assistance we can muster,” Pullion said in the statement.

The HELP loans are now available. For information on how to apply and for other resources, visit www.bcbridges.org/covid19-resources/ or call the Bridge Commission’s Office of Economic Development and Regional Planning at 609-265-5055.