MORRIS COUNTY, NJ – More than a dozen entrepreneurs examined and filed new applications for Morris County Small Business Grants after a “Town Hall” hosted Friday by the Morris County Economic Development Corp. in the “Top Golf Suites” at 1776 by David Burke in Morristown.
More than $2 million remains available to small business owners and nonprofits who qualify for up to $15,000 in no-strings grants under the program. The “Town Hall,” held in the virtual golfing suites inside the new Morristown restaurant, was geared toward informing and assisting small business owners in applying on-line for the funding.
“I figured: What do I have to lose,” said Timothy Haddad of Executive Business Machines in Butler, telling the business crowd how he successfully applied for a $15,000 grant under the program several weeks ago.
“My father started this business about 40 years ago, a small business owner. We do all the copiers and printers in office environments, so when COVID hit us, we couldn’t go into the office environments anymore to do what we do best,” Haddad said. “So this, for me, was a huge help because, my father is still around and he could see this business still going … It’s still striving and moving forward, and this (grant) just helped us to get over the hump.”
A demonstration on how to file an application was provided by Solix Consulting Solutions, which is operating the grant portal under a contract with Morris County.
Joining the event were representatives of the Morris County Economic Development Corp., Morris County Chamber of Commerce, Valley National Bank, the Morris County Hispanic-American Chamber of Commerce, the Women’s Center for Entrepreneurship and members of the Morris County Board of County Commissioners, who created the grant program.
“Small businesses were hit hardest by the pandemic, so I am delighted we are able to get this program out to you,” said Morris County Commissioner Deborah Smith, noting $10 million was initially put into the grant program.
“Morris County did not get any of the initial CARES Act money from the federal government, and we could have really used it for our small businesses. But we did get this money from the American Rescue Plan Act and I’d like to consider it, as opposed to spending it, we are really investing it. The number one thing we wanted to do is invest it in our small businesses,” said Morris County Commissioner Stephen Shaw.
Ed Ramirez of the Economic Development Corporation organized the event under a partnership among the Chamber, EDC have and Morris County to make small businesses aware of the grant opportunity.
“The best thing everyone can do is to spread the word. I believe in the program. The program is helping the small business owner, and our Commissioners have really gone above and beyond to make this program work,” said Ramirez.
The Morris County Small Grant Program was the brainchild of the Morris County Commissioners, who developed a unique use of funds issued to the county through the American Rescue Plan Act. The $10 million in funds set aside for the Small Business Grant Program are earmarked for pandemic recovery efforts that continued after March 3, 2021, and most of the money already has been committed to local small businesses and nonprofits.
Federal guidelines covering the grant program will determine exactly which expenses qualify for coverage and which applications may be approved.
The grants are capped at $15,000 per applicant. However, business owners and nonprofits are encouraged to submit applications that include all costs they believe may qualify for the grant, even if the total amount of a single claim exceeds $15,000.
A final review may determine that some costs submitted for consideration are not covered under the program guidelines. However, by submitting all expenses that may qualify, applicants increase the possibility of getting the maximum amount of grant dollars possible.