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State Offers Small Business Grants as Complement to Trenton Economic Development Initiatives


TRENTON, NJ (October 3, 2017) – The availability of two new programs that will provide grants to street level businesses in designated commercial areas of Trenton and other Garden State Growth Zones (GSGZs) was announced today by the New Jersey Economic Authority (EDA) in partnership with the City of Trenton. Created through the New Jersey Economic Opportunity Act (EOA) of 2013, GSGZs include Trenton, Atlantic City, Camden, Paterson and Passaic.

Administered by the EDA in collaboration with GSGZs, the Business Lease Incentive (BLI) and Business Improvement Incentive (BII) programs are designed to support the growth of new and expanding retail and service businesses in targeted commercial corridors. In Trenton, businesses located in the downtown Broad Street and State Street business corridors are considered eligible. A detailed map of eligible locations is available via www.njeda.com/pdfs/GSGZ_Trenton_Map.aspx

“Programs administered under the EOA and initiatives like the State Office Building project are designed to help attract private investment in Trenton, which could be the impetus for growth in surrounding business hubs,” said EDA Chief Executive Officer Melissa Orsen. “The BLI and BII programs serve as a complement to these efforts as they help to position small businesses to capitalize on the increased activity.”

The State Office Building project includes reducing the state footprint in downtown Trenton to pave the way for new private investment along Warren and Market streets. 

The BLI program will offer reimbursement of a percentage of annual lease payments for two years to for-profit businesses and non-profit organizations in eligible areas that plan to lease between 500 and 5,000 square feet of new or additional market-rate, first-floor office, industrial, or retail space for a minimum five-year term. An applicant leasing over 5,000 square feet would be eligible, but the BLI grant would only incentivize the first 5,000 square feet. The BLI program application is available at www.njeda.com/bli.

The BII program will offer grants of up to 50 percent of total project costs, grant amount not to exceed $20,000, to businesses operating within the first floor of a commercial corridor in GSGZs that are planning to make building improvements, with a minimum project cost of $5,000. The BII program application is available at www.njeda.com/bii.

“Opportunities for small businesses in Trenton are plentiful due to renewed efforts to revitalize downtown and drive foot traffic in key commercial corridors – both during regular business hours and into the evenings and weekends,” said Trenton Mayor Eric Jackson. “These programs could give business owners the extra boost they need to start a new business in Trenton, or refresh or expand an existing business.” 

Developed in collaboration with the GSGZs, EDA worked with each community to ensure the programs meet the needs of the respective local markets. The programs have been launched on a pilot basis and up to $200,000 is available per city, per year, over the three-year life of the programs. 

For general program questions please contact Christina Fuentes, Senior Community Development Officer, EDA at 609-858-6663 or cfuentes@njeda.com. For more information on eligible locations in Trenton, businesses are encouraged to contact Eric Maywar, Economic Development Specialist, City of Trenton, 609-989-3529 or emaywar@trentonnj.org.

The EDA offers a range of resources to support small business growth, including: low-interest loans, and bond financing. To learn more, visit www.njeda.com/lending and follow @NJEDAWasHere on Twitter and LinkedIn.
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