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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 unanimously approved by the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee today.

“The urban center loan program has been a useful tool to encourage business growth in our most densely-populated communities,” said Senator Weinberg. “However, we shouldn’t restrict regional redevelopment and revitalization to our state’s urban core. By allowing small, women-owned and minority-owned businesses in regional planning areas to take advantage of the direct loans available to urban-based businesses, we can encourage job growth and investment in needed areas of the State from a more diverse group of business owners.”

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.

“We have to recognize that the impact of the global recession isn’t limited to New Jersey’s urban centers,” said Senator Greenstein, D-Middlesex and Mercer. “Smaller economic hubs are also in need of reinvestment and redevelopment, and could benefit from a more diverse pool of investors. Not only would this bill create new opportunities for growth among small, minority-owned and women-owned businesses, but it could be a catalyst for economic growth and revitalization in our smaller communities.”

The bill now heads to the full Senate for consideration.

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