N.J. to offer $25 million in grants to ‘microbusinesses’ with up to 5 employees

New Jersey State Capitol building in Trenton. (Alan Tu/WHYY)

New Jersey State Capitol building in Trenton. (Alan Tu/WHYY)

New Jersey’s smallest businesses are the target of the state’s latest economic relief effort related to the coronavirus.

Under a law signed by Gov. Phil Murphy on Thursday, $25 million in grants will be available to the state’s “microbusinesses” — firms with up to five employees.

State Sen. Dawn Marie Addiego, D-Burlington, said the state had an obligation to help businesses hurt by the economic turmoil the pandemic created.

“New Jersey never fully recovered from the Great Recession, and a lot of that was due to the limited relief residents, businesses, and organizations received,” Addiego said. “Microbusinesses shouldn’t have to permanently close their doors because of the pandemic.”

Microbusinesses will have to apply for grants through the program, which will be administered by the state’s Economic Development Authority and funded with federal coronavirus relief money. The application process was expected to begin in late April, officials said.

Murphy said the goal was to help the kinds of places people think of when they think of small businesses.

“They think of the stores along Main Street that are owned by their neighbors and friends, which cater to the needs of the community and that hire from within the community, if they’re big enough to hire at all,” he said.

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