NJ: 42 Small Business Loans Totaling over $3M Provided Under NJEDA’s NJ Capital Access Fund | Trade and Industry Development

NJ: 42 Small Business Loans Totaling over $3M Provided Under NJEDA’s NJ Capital Access Fund

May 06, 2024
52% of loans were approved for women- and minority-owned small businesses and nonprofits.

In recognition of National Small Business Week (April 28 – May 4), the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) announced that more than $3.6 million in working capital loans have been approved under the NJ Capital Access Fund, since the program launched in November 2023. Administered by designated fund manager Calvert Impact, the $100 million fund, supported by the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) program and a private capital match, leverages Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and Minority Deposit Institutions (MDIs) to offer technical assistance and an affordable and flexible working capital loan product to assist small businesses and nonprofits with payroll, rent, utilities, and other operational business expenses.

In line with the NJEDA’s commitment to supporting diverse business owners and creating an equitable economy, 52 percent of the program’s loans were approved for women- and minority-owned small businesses and nonprofits and 72 percent of the overall funding supported business owners identified as socially and economically disadvantaged individuals (SEDI).

“Under Governor Phil Murphy’s leadership, New Jersey remains committed to supporting small business growth by providing increased access to capital and resources to entrepreneurs and small business owners. Through our suite of small business support programs, the NJEDA is helping expand economic opportunities, foster business growth, and ensure the longevity and increased vitality of New Jersey’s main streets,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. “The milestone announced today demonstrates how the NJ Capital Access Fund is providing a streamlined path to loans for small businesses, allowing them to continue to grow and thrive in the Garden State.”

Utilizing a technology platform provided by the Community Reinvestment Fund, USA, the NJ Capital Access Fund currently works alongside the NJ Small Business Development Center and four CDFIs to offer technical assistance and working capital loans up to $250,000 to small businesses and nonprofits that have been operating for at least 12 months, with revenue of $10 million or less and fewer than 50 employees. Participating CDFIs include Renaissance Economic Development Corporation, Ascendus, Grow America, and Pursuit. Working capital loans administered by each participating CDFI offer flexible features, including terms from 36 to 60 months, low fees to borrowers, fixed competitive interest rates, and no specific collateral requirements. The NJ Capital Access Fund further expands access to capital by purchasing 80 percent of all eligible working capital loans, allowing the CDFIs to increase lending capacity and provide more loans to underserved communities. To date the fund has been utilized to purchase $2.9 million in eligible loans. For more information on eligibility requirements, and to pre-apply, visit https://njcapitalaccessfund.com.

In May 2023, the NJEDA announced that Calvert Impact would administer the NJ Capital Access Fund, utilizing and matching the Authority’s $50 million investment with State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) funding. Calvert Impact is a nonprofit investment firm that has supported community and economic development organizations for nearly 30 years, with a focus on financing sectors overlooked by mainstream capital markets.

“Calvert Impact knows that supporting small business owners is the key to a sustainable and equitable economic growth. We’re thrilled to see how eager entrepreneurs in New Jersey are to put capital to work, growing their companies and enriching their communities,” said Joe Meginnes, Director of Strategy at Calvert Impact. “And we expect that momentum to continue building with the recent launch of the technical assistance portal where entrepreneurs can get help applying for a loan and deploying the funds most effectively once they receive one.”

Women-owned Blue Skies Pottery, with locations in Long Branch and Hoboken, leveraged the New Jersey Capital Access Fund to receive a loan through CDFI partner Ascendus. Blue Skies Pottery offers courses, classes, and memberships for anyone interested in a creative outlet.

"Making a positive impact on our community has been a core value of our pottery studio since we opened in 2022,” said Blue Skies Pottery Owner Valerie Dantone. “Thanks to the help from Ascendus, we've been able to prioritize partnership opportunities with local businesses, add more classes and staff members for our growing special needs program, and provide need-based tuition options to our students and members who need support."

The Pink Room Shapewear, a Minority- and Women-owned Business Enterprise located in Union and Elizabeth, received a loan through Pursuit, another New Jersey Capital Access Fund CDFI partner. The company is committed to improving lives by offering high-quality shapewear garments that offer comfort and security.

“Thanks to all the different opportunities we have nowadays, it has never been so easy to look for resources and use them to grow our business, helping our community and team grow with us,” said The Pink Room Shapewear Owner Maria Sparacio. “Opportunities such as these open doors for women and minorities in business, giving them the ability to expand. Thank you to the NJEDA for making a difference and supporting us.”

Financing for the NJ Capital Access Fund is allocated from $255 million in federal SSBCI capital allotted to the State of New Jersey by the United States Department of the Treasury. The NJEDA utilized the SSBCI funding to create six programs that provide financial assistance to small and micro businesses in New Jersey.

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