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Options aplenty for N.J. companies seeking aid in rebuilding from Sandy

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New Jersey has a war chest of $260 million for grants and $100 million for loans for businesses hurt by Sandy — and officials in Trenton are eager to see more applications flow in, so they can put that money to work boosting the state's economy.

The programs are administered by the state Economic Development Authority, whose chief executive, Michele Brown said recently the pace of applications is slower than expected — most likely because businesses have been too busy getting their companies up and running to tackle the paperwork.

The Stronger NJ Business Grant Program has $260 million to give to small businesses and nonprofits damaged by Sandy. Under this program, grants of up to $50,000 per affected location are available; businesses with multiple locations that were damaged may be eligible for up to $250,000. Eligible costs for reimbursement under this program may include working capital, inventory, equipment, machinery, furnishings and construction.

The $100 million Stronger NJ Business Loan Program is available to help small businesses and nonprofits that were hurt by Sandy, as well as businesses looking to expand within storm-slammed communities.

The maximum loan is $5 million, for terms of up to 30 years, with no interest or principal payments for the first two years. After that, the interest rate is pegged to the 5-year Treasury rate — currently 0.7 percent — resetting every 10 years. The loans can be used for renovation, new construction, or equipment. Working capital loans of up to $500,000 are available.

To be eligible, the business must be located within the nine most-harmed counties — Atlantic, Bergen Cape May, Essex, Hudson, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean and Union — be a small business with annual revenues of at least $25,000, and have evidence of at least $5,000 in physical property damage.

E-mail to: beth@njbiz.com
On Twitter: @bethfitzgerald8

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