Commissioner Director Louis Cappelli Jr., was joined by Congressman Donald Norcross, local officials, and business owners as applications went live for the Camden County Recovers Small Business Grant Program. The county has received federal funds from the American Recovery Plan (ARP) Act to assist struggling businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Last year the board was able to get almost $30 million into the hands of small businesses, but despite that supplemental funding businesses continue to suffer from lost revenue and only a small fraction of a normal operating period for more than a year and half,” Cappelli said. “We know these funds are needed, we know that as this pandemic continues to evolve a value cannot be set on preserving the downtowns we know and love. This grant program is another lifeline for business owners that will provide and protect local jobs.”
Applicants can apply directly on www.camdencountyrecovers.com or by calling (856) 389-6704. Applications will remain open until all funds have been awarded. Funding is available on a first come, first served basis, and operations which have not received federal support will be prioritized.
In order to qualify for a Camden County Recovers Small Business Grant, the applicant must meet the following criteria:
Business revenue has been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic;
The business has been located in Camden County since January 1, 2019 or earlier;
The business employed up to 25 employees or full-time equivalents as of March 1, 2020; and
The business earned $5 million or less in total revenue during 2019.
The business must not operate in any of the following categories:
Banks or other financial institutions;
Businesses where the primary products or services are oriented to specific ages (vaping, liquor stores, etc.); or
Franchises, except for those franchises which are completely locally owned and operated.
Congressman Donald Norcross has been working in partnership with the Commissioners to get federal funds back into the community as quickly as possible.
“The American Recovery Plan continues to deliver for hardworking people of Camden County. These federal funds will help small businesses cover operating costs, keep employees on the payroll, and cover expenses necessary to keep workplaces safe for employees and customers,” Norcross said. “I encourage all small business owners to take advantage of the Camden County Recovers Small Business Grant Program, so South Jersey can continue to build back better.”
The President and Chief Executive Officer of the South Jersey Chamber of Commerce, Christina Renna said this funding will be critical for the small businesses in the region.
“Although businesses have reopened, they remain deeply impacted from the past year as foot traffic in brick and mortar stores and restaurants is nowhere near pre-pandemic levels and unemployment numbers remain high,” Renna continued. “The small business community in Camden County is beyond fortunate to have government leaders that understand it will take time and continued resources for a true economic recovery, which will undoubtedly lead to job growth and a stronger community.”
Last year, the Commissioners distributed $29.8 million of Recovery Act funding to more than 3,000 small businesses and nonprofits to support and help supplement their operations.
Mayor of Haddonfield, Colleen Bianco Bezich, talked about the importance of downtowns across Camden County and vital role Main Street plays in her borough.
“The Borough’s downtown has adapted to the pandemic, but it’s not business as usual and it hasn’t been since the start of COVID for so many business owners,” Bezich said. “These funds have been critical to the needs of our downtown and business corridors in Haddonfield. They have allowed business owners to pay down debt, buy PPE, renovate outside areas to host patrons. In short, programs like this have continued to allow the blood to flow through the heart of our business community.”
The grant awards are built on businesses’ total 2019 revenue. Those that earned less than $25,000 could see grants up to $2,500 and those with revenue between $25,000 and $50,000 are eligible for grants up to $5,000. Businesses with revenue between $50,000 and $100,000 can receive up to $7,500. The maximum allocation for those that collected more than $100,000 in 2019 is $10,000.
Vice president of the Camden Business Association, Nichelle Pace, talked about the importance of federal funds getting into the hands of principals representing minority and women-owned businesses.
“I want to thank the Commissioners for getting this money out to main street and ensuring that minority owned businesses will benefit from the funding during these tough times,” Pace said. “Small businesses are facing some of their largest challenges since the great depression, including a large disparity gap within the minority and women-owned business community. The Camden Business Association is proud to partner with the Commissioners to get the word out to the Camden business community, so they can access these funds.”
Yolanda Deaver, owner of Prissy Chic Salon in Camden City, highlighted the impact this support will have on her business immediately.
“Big companies might be able to sustain a prolonged downturn, but small businesses like mine cannot. This grant has the potential to level the playing field for entrepreneurs like me,” Deaver said. “We’ve had to limit the number of customers we see in a day, and people are still afraid to go outside and get sick. This funding could be the difference between whether my business stays open or not. Thank you to the Camden County Commissioners for supporting small businesses, and especially businesses in the City of Camden where we are critical to our community’s health and prosperity.”
Applications open today and can be accessed by going to www.camdencountyrecovers.com or by calling (856) 389-6704. The deadline to apply for the program is Nov. 30.