MORRIS COUNTY — With Valentine’s Day 2023 marking one year since the Morris County Small Business Grant Program launched, the Board of County Commissioners presented one of the program’s final grant approvals to the Parsippany Area Chamber of Commerce (PACC) at its headquarters as local dignitaries and business owners gathered this morning for a celebration.
“On behalf of our Board of Directors and myself, we are honored to receive the Morris County Small Business Grant and to be recognized as a leading organization that supports our community. We would also like to thank our Morris County Commissioners and the supporters of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021,” said Robert Peluso, President of the Parsippany Area Chamber of Commerce.
The Morris County Board of County Commissioners launched the Small Business Grant Program exactly one year ago, on Valentine’s Day 2022, with the slogan, “We Love Small Businesses.” It was a unique use of federal ARPA funding to aid local small companies, entrepreneurs, and non-profits impacted by the pandemic.
“Morris County was not included for the first round of COVID funding provided by the U.S. Government. We (the Commissioners) decided to make unique use of the ARPA funds by giving back to our small businesses and non-profits. When a last-minute rush of applications came through, we allocated an additional $1.3 million. The Small Business Grant Program was a huge success thanks to everyone involved,” stated Morris County Commissioner Director John Krickus.
At a press conference hosted by the PACC, the County Commissioners extended a heartfelt thank you to the county staff whose hard work made the program successful. They also thanked the Morris County Chamber of Commerce and the Morris County Economic Development Corporation (MCEDC), who were partners in helping businesses to apply for the grants. The board also thanked consulting firms Solix, Inc., and Tetra Tech, who have assisted in processing the grants and the ARPA funding, and Valley National Bank, which volunteered staff and laptops to aid small business owners in filing applications.
Representatives of the companies, the MCEDC, and the Morris County Chamber of Commerce attended the press conference.
The PACC, a membership-driven, nonprofit organization, also helped distribute grant applications last year to businesses throughout the Parsippany Township region and link them to other programs designed to keep local businesses going through difficult times.
“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and our Chamber recognizes the effects of shut-downs, supply chain disruptions, employee retention, and inflated pricing. Although we are a membership-driven organization, we waived our membership dues and our event fees during the pandemic, and we continue to offer free events,” Peluso added.
Since its initial launch exactly one year ago, businesses and nonprofits throughout Morris County have benefited from the Small Business Grant Program. When the application portal officially closed on Friday, September 30, 2022, $11.3 million had been allocated to the program. Some of the last remaining applications are still being processed, with approximately 850 applications expected to clear overall.
Parsippany-Troy Hills Mayor James Barberio and Council President Loretta Gragnani also attended the event and praised the Small Business Grant Program.
“This was a fantastic program that supported local businesses that needed help,” stated Parsippany-Troy Hills Council Vice President Michael dePierro.
The program is winding down, and the last few grants are being delivered by mail. Today marked the last public, in-person delivery of a grant by the Commissioners.