Gov. Chris Christie signed a law Tuesday intending to expand the scope of small businesses owned by women and minorities by providing loans through the Economic Development Authority (EDA). Under this law, direct EDA loans will be available to women- and minority- owned businesses in “regional centers” around urban centers designated by the State Development and Redevelopment Plan, rather than just within the urban centers.
“Loans and investment capital are harder to come by for women- and minority-owned businesses, which puts these businesses at a disadvantage from the start,” said Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt (D-Camden/Burlington) in a statement. “This legislation helps level the playing field and allows small, women-owned and minority-owned businesses to take advantage of loans that can help them sustain and build up their businesses.”
Lampitt sponsored the legislation, along with Assemblywoman Gabriela Mosquera and Assemblyman Jerry Green.
The EDA's portfolio of small business programs provide financial support with a below-market interest rate to community and economic development projects, manufacturers, redevelopers and not-for-profit organizations in Camden, Trenton, Newark, Jersey City, Paterson, New Brunswick, Asbury Park and Atlantic City.
Qualified businesses must be small, women- or minority- owned, based in New Jersey, and unable to obtain funding from conventional sources without the EDA’s help.
“Businesses owned by women and minorities lag behind in revenue, which means these businesses do not have enough to invest and grown their businesses,” said Mosquera (D-Camden/Gloucester) in a statement. “Expanding the loans that women and minority business owners can apply for can help reverse this.”
“The EDA looks forward to continuing to support the growth of small, women- and minority-owned businesses across the state,” said Erin Gold, ddirector of marketing and public affairs at the EDA.