Middlesex County awards additional $4.2M in funding to small businesses

With Middlesex County’s latest disbursement of $4,246,819 in grant funding to small businesses, the total amount awarded through the Small Business Relief Grant (SBRG) program is $10,859,415 to a total of 421 businesses.

The SBRG program, which utilizes federal CARES Act funding, serves to reimburse costs and loss of revenue associated with adapting business operations in a COVID-19 environment.

The deadline to apply for funding from the SBRG program is Dec. 30.

In the latest round of funding awarded on Nov. 30, businesses received payments ranging from $1,018 to the maximum $30,000, with an average grant payment of $26,030, according to information provided by Middlesex County.

“As the head of the county’s Economic and Business Development office, I work every day with small business owners. From contacting them and encouraging them to apply, to working with them step by step to complete the application, I witness firsthand the impact this pandemic has had on our small business community,” Carla Cefalo, division head, Middlesex County Economic and Business Development, said in the statement. “The county is putting its small business owners first, offering them relief during this difficult economic downturn, and I am proud to play a role in that process.”

Recipients of this round of federal funding include restaurants, hair and nail salons; retail facilities; healthcare offices; manufacturing; construction; educational services; transportation companies; and fitness studios.

“The grant the Ad Cafe received basically gave our company financial room to breathe. It gave us the opportunity to pay our vendors in the timely manner which they were always accustomed to. It also gave us the opportunity to restart and redirect our marketing efforts that were cut short by the pandemic,” SBRG recipient, Kevin Berta, owner and president of Ad Cafe in Edison, said in the statement.

Berta also said he is encouraging people around the county to shop local to support small businesses in any way possible, according to the statement.

In October, Middlesex County announced its first round of SBRG funding, awarded to 123 businesses in 22 municipalities, totaling over $3 million. In November, 140 businesses received a collective $3,572,882 in the second and third rounds of funding.

“I would like to thank all of our small businesses for continuing to serve the community during this time. As a county, we are committed to helping you stay afloat as you navigate the challenges and changes this pandemic has brought,” Freeholder Leslie Koppel, chair of the Finance Committee, said in the statement. “I would also like to thank those at the county, particularly those in our Department of Finance and Economic and Business Development Office, for continuing to work every day to provide our small business owners with the relief they desperately need.”

Among other qualifications, to be eligible for the grants these businesses must employ fewer than 50 employees, must have a net annual business income of less than $1 million based on their 2019 federal tax return, and must document business interruption as well as loss as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

With millions still available in the SBRG grant to be distributed to small businesses in the county, those eligible to apply for grants are encouraged to do so at the new CARES Act Small Business Relief Grants Portal.

In total, the county intends to award $30 million to small businesses, with grants up to $30,000 available for each business. For more information, visit:www.middlesexcountynj.gov/mcsbrg.

This program will be administered by the Middlesex County Department of Finance.

For more information on helping a business during COVID-19, visit www.middlesexcountynj.gov/covid19 and visit the list of business assistance resources under the “resources” section.