The Hamilton Township Department of Community and Economic Development announced the establishment of its Small Business Assistance Program Aug. 4. The township  appropriated $90,000 of its federal Community Development Block Grant CARES funds to support the initiative. It will enable around 20 Hamilton Township businesses to secure assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Hamilton Small Business Assistance Program will provide working capital funds—employee salaries, general operating expenses, inventory and advertising/marketing expenses—to the community’s businesses economically impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. The program makes funds available for 60 days of verifiable working capital up to a grant ceiling of $5,000.

CDBG Small Business Assistance funds may be used to assist private for-profit small businesses considered non-essential by New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy’s Executive Order without the ability for employees to work remotely. Examples of businesses that would be eligible for this grant opportunity include non-chain retail stores, floral stores, barbershops, hair/nail salons, and recreation facilities, such as dance, yoga or martial arts studios.

Businesses must have at least one full-time equivalent employee other than the owner but must not exceed 25 employees including the business owner.

“As we all know, COVID-19 is both a health and economic crisis, and it is our small business owners who have had to tirelessly work to adapt to keep their businesses open while protecting public health,” Mayor Jeff Martin said.  “Each business in Hamilton provides an important piece to our overall economy. We are committed to ensuring our small business community weathers this storm and is able to keep their doors open. The funding announced today will support small businesses as they continue to adapt to the ‘new normal’ we are living with now.”

To be eligible, businesses must have been operating continuously with the same ownership since Jan. 1, 2017 and provide documentation of the financial health of the business in both present and recent history. Benefiting businesses should have solid commitments to remain open or reopen, and retain or re-employ permanent jobs. Businesses seeking to review program requirements and apply may do so here.