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Weinberg-Greenstein Bill To Expand Loan Program For Small, Minority And Women-Owned Businesses Approved

Measure Would Qualify More Businesses for EDA-backed Loans

TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senators Loretta Weinberg and Linda Greenstein which would expand the eligibility for New Jersey-based small, women-owned, or minority-owned businesses to receive Economic Development Authority (EDA)-backed loans reserved for businesses in designated urban centers was approved by the Senate today by a vote of 35-0.

“The urban center loan program has been invaluable in encouraging business growth in our State’s urban communities,” said Senator Weinberg, D-Bergen. “We should bring this useful redevelopment and economic revitalization tool to bear to encourage investment in other areas of the State, not just New Jersey’s urban core. This bill expands the urban center loan program to give small business, woman and minority entrepreneurs outside of our cities a chance to participate.”

The bill, S-1216, would qualify small, women-owned or minority-owned New Jersey-based businesses, manufacturers, redevelopers or nonprofit organizations located in designated regional centers within the state for any direct loans that the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) currently makes available for small, women-owned and minority-owned businesses in urban centers. The bill would take the definition of designated urban center and designated regional center from the New Jersey State Plan

Under the State Plan, there are nine designated urban centers, characterized by high population density and providing a focus for the region’s economy, transportation system and governmental functions: Asbury Park, Atlantic City, Camden, Elizabeth, Jersey City, New Brunswick, Newark, Paterson and Trenton. By way of contrast, the 12 regional centers – Ocean City, The Wildwoods, Bridgeton, Millville-Vineland, Woolwich, Princeton, Long Branch, Red Bank, Stafford, Salem, Bridgewater-Raritan-Somerville, and Newton – offer more variety in terms of character and size, mixing residential, commercial and public use, but still serve as important economic centers for the surrounding area.

“The effects of the global recession on New Jersey isn’t limited to our city borders,” said Senator Greenstein, D-Middlesex and Mercer. “Smaller economic hubs are also feeling the brunt of a global economic crisis the likes of which we haven’t seen since the Great Depression. Through this legislation, we can provide assistance to small-business owners and women- and minority-owned businesses to allow them to recover and invest in our communities.”

The bill now heads to the Assembly for consideration, before going to the Governor to be signed into law.

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