MORRIS COUNTY — In recognition of “Small Business Saturday,” the Morris County Board of County Commissioners announced the development of the Morris County Small Business Grant Program that will provide federal fiscal recovery funding to local, small companies and entrepreneurs impacted by the pandemic.
The application process has not yet opened, but will be announced later as program details are finalized and the program is officially launched. The program is being designed to provide grants of up to $15,000 to reimburse small businesses and non-profit organizations for specific pandemic recovery expenses incurred on or after March 3, 2021 – a timeline established under the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), which is the source of the funding.
“Small businesses are not only vital to our economy but they are a key part of the unique identity of every town. We look forward to launching a small business grant program, as we ensure we are meeting federal regulatory requirements,” said Commissioner John Krickus, who has been helping to develop the program through the Commissioner’s COVID-19 Strategic Planning Advisory Committee.
The Small Business Grant Program eligibility requirements include:
- Available to businesses with 25 or fewer full-time employees (or equivalent)
- In operation since January 1, 2019
- Located within Morris County
- Less than $5 million in sales/revenue
- Proof of a decline in sales/increased expenses due to the COVID-19 pandemic
The Commissioners’ plan is to dedicate $5 million in ARPA funds to the program.
An online process is in development for applicants to submit proper documentation needed to determine the eligibility of a business and the expenses that qualify for reimbursement. The Morris County Chamber of Commerce will be coordinating outreach to potentially eligible businesses, including those who may not have traditionally sought government grant funding in the past.
“Small businesses in the county have been hit particularly hard by the pandemic and its lingering effects,” said Meghan Hunscher, President and CEO of the Morris County Chamber of Commerce & Economic Development Corporation.
“Unlike larger companies, they had less margin for absorbing the revenue losses and costs required for reopening. At the same time, they have made every effort to keep their employees working while fulfilling the needs of their customers. We look forward to working closely with the County Commissioners to connect qualifying small businesses throughout the county with this grant program,” she added.
The Morris County Commissioners also have adopted a special resolution urging Morris County residents to observe “Small Business Saturday” by shopping locally this Saturday, November 27, 2021. The Saturday after Thanksgiving has become known as “Small Business Saturday” since American Express launched it on November 27, 2010, and it has since grown into a national campaign to encourage holiday shoppers to patronize local businesses.
Despite the pandemic impacts, U.S. consumers reported spending a record high total of $19.8 billion at independent retailers and restaurants on “Small Business Saturday” 2020. The Morris County Commissioners are actively encouraging Morris County residents to help repeat that success and even break that record.
The final paragraph of the resolution reads:
“Now, Therefore, Be It Resolved, that the Morris County Board of County Commissioners, New Jersey, in recognition of the crucial role small businesses play in our economy and quality of life in Morris County, hereby proclaims, November 27, 2021, to be “Small Business Saturday 2021” and urges communities across the nation to “Shop Small®” throughout the year.”