CAMDEN COUNTY, NJ — Small businesses in Camden County will share in $20 million worth of federal grants amid the coronavirus pandemic, local officials announced Wednesday afternoon.
The county has received federal funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to assist struggling businesses during the coronavirus pandemic. The funding is for both profit and nonprofit organizations, and priority will be given to businesses that have not received state or federal funding already.
“We know the business community, especially the foundation of our economy, small businesses, have been hurting and are in need of dire relief,” Camden County Freeholder Director Louis Cappelli Jr. said. “We need to ensure that every proprietor and principal of a small business has access to these grant funds in order to help maintain and stabilize their operations. Moving forward the grants have the potential to provide a business owner with up to $10,000 for COVID caused or related expenses.”
The amount a business can apply for is based on how much money it made in 2019, Cappelli said.
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In order to qualify for a Camden County CARES Small Business Grant, the applicant must meet the following criteria:
Business revenue has been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic
The business has been located in Camden County since January 1, 2019 or earlier
The business employed 25 or fewer employees as of March 1, 2020
The business earned $5 million or less in total revenue during 2019
The business must not operate in any of the following categories:
Banks or other financial institutions
Businesses where the primary products or services are oriented to specific ages (vaping, liquor stores, etc.)
Franchises, except for those franchises which are completely locally-owned and operated
“The CARES Act has delivered critical federal resources to local governments, and I applaud Camden County’s innovation in creating this grant program to help small businesses who need it most,” Rep. Donald Norcross (D-1) said. “These grants will provide vital funding to the small businesses that power our local economy and that need our support during the ongoing public health crisis.”
Officials are working with the South Jersey Chamber of Commerce, the Latin American Economic Development Association, the Camden Business Association, the South Jersey Development Council, the Camden County Regional Chamber of Commerce and several others to make businesses aware of the funding.
“We know that our members are going through one of the toughest times in the modern era when it comes to running and operating a small business,” South Jersey Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Christina Renna said. “That said, we are proud to partner with Camden County as they get much needed federal grant funds out to the business community during this time of significant need.”
“I want to thank Camden County for getting this money out to main street and ensuring that minority owned businesses will benefit from the funding during these tough times,” Camden Business Association Vice President Nichelle Pace said. “Small businesses are facing some of their largest challenges since the great depression, including a large disparity gap within the minority and women-owned business community. The Camden Business Association is proud to partner with the Board to get the word out to the Camden business community, so they can access these funds.”
Latin American Economic Development Association CEO, Raymond Lamboy said very few minority-owned businesses have received any help during the pandemic so far. Some businesses that were just starting to find their footing were derailed by the pandemic, Lamboy said.
“I’ve been teaching restaurants and service industry businesses to sell items online,” Lamboy said. “They aren’t used to that.”
Minister Wasim Muhammad said Camden has received national positive attention for the police department’s relationship with the community following George Floyd’s death, and now the city’s businesses can began receiving needed help.
“This loan is just the first step,” Muhammad said.
The application process will start on July 23, at 8 a.m. and applicants can apply directly on www.camdencountycares.com.
See more stories about New Jersey’s coronavirus recovery.
This article originally appeared on the Gloucester Township Patch