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The Main Street Lenders Grant provides grants to eligible micro business lenders, which the lenders can use to create new loan micro business loan products or supplement existing micro business loan products. Lenders can also qualify for additional grant funding to provide technical assistance to micro businesses, to better prepare these businesses to qualify for loan products.
The maximum amount that any eligible entity may apply for under the Main Street Lenders Grant $1.5 million ($1 million lending grant and $500,000 technical assistance grant).


Lending Grant
Up to $1 million per eligible entity. Grant funding to be used for creating new micro business loan products or supplementing existing micro business loan products.

Technical Assistance Grant
For entities that receive a lending grant, up to 50% of the lending grant amount, to be used for technical assistance services for micro businesses to help businesses qualify for loan products. Technical assistance grant may not exceed $500,000.


Provides lenders with ability to expand services by developing new or expanding existing micro business loan products and providing technical assistance to help these businesses qualify for loans.


Lender must have at least 10 years of small and micro business lending experience.

Lender can be based outside of New Jersey but grant funding must be used for loan products and technical assistance that serves only eligible New Jersey based businesses.

Lender must be a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs) or other eligible lender (see eligibility below)

*Additional terms apply. See eligibility below.


Eligible lenders can apply for a lending grant of up to $1 million that will be used as funding for new micro business lending products or as supplemental funding for existing micro business lending products.

In order to ensure that the loans being provided to the micro businesses are flexible and meet the Authority’s expectations for this program, any loan products created by the lender and funded through this grant must meet the following specifications:

Requirements for Loan Applicants

  • Must be for micro businesses that have less than 10 full time employees at the time of
  • application and have less than $1.5 million in annual revenue (based on their last federal
  • tax return required to be filed).
  • The micro business must have a commercial location in New Jersey, which can be a home-based business.
  • Loans can be used by micro businesses for equipment purchases, rolling stock, and operating expenses such as payroll, marketing, inventory, rent, mortgage/property tax payments, utilities, or any other expenses that are applicable to the daily operation of the business.
  • Loans cannot be used for restructuring existing debt or financing, any construction, reconstruction, demolition, alteration, repair work, maintenance work, or construction related to installation of equipment where such activity exceeds $1,999.99.
  • Home-based businesses, non-profit organizations, for-profit entities, sole proprietors, and/or startups may be eligible for loans, but home-based businesses are not permitted to use the working capital loans for rent/mortgage/property tax payments or utilities or for the purchase of equipment that attaches to the property.
  • Lenders will be required to collect a current NJ Business Tax Clearance Certificate from micro business loan applicants, unless the applicant is a non-profit that is not required to register with the Division of Taxation.
  • Lenders cannot provide any financial assistance to micro businesses that are engaged in any of the following: the conduct or purveyance of “adult” (i.e., pornographic, lewd, prurient, obscene or otherwise similarly disreputable) activities, services, products or materials (including nude or seminude performances or the sale of sexual aids or devices); any auction or bankruptcy or fire or “lost-our-lease” or “going-out of business” or similar sale; sales by transient merchants, Christmas tree sales or other outdoor storage; or any activity constituting a nuisance.

Required Rates, Terms and Conditions:

  • The minimum credit score required of the micro business to qualify for the loan must be under 650.
  • Terms of the loan to applicants can go up to a 10-year term.
  • Upon loan closing, a payment moratorium period of at least 12 months must be provided to the micro businesses.
  • Loan product being offered must be fully amortizing to avoid balloon payments.
  • Interest rates cannot exceed 5% on each loan.
  • Loan amounts must be no greater than $100,000 and no lower than $10,000.
  • Must allow for a minimum Debt Service Coverage Ratio on this program of 1.0, but applicant’s personal cash flow of owners that are personal guarantors may can be considered.
  • Application fees may be charged by the lender – but cannot exceed 1% of the loan amount.
  • No prepayment penalty can be charged to the micro businesses.
  • The decision of whether to require collateral and personal guarantees are at the discretion of the lender.
  • The decision of whether to allow loan modifications are at the discretion of the lender.

Fund Management and Disbursement

  • Each entity must lend and disburse 40% of the total lending grant to businesses located in Opportunity Zone eligible census tracts (as explained below).
  • All grant funding must be fully used/disbursed within 3 years from grant closing date between lender and NJEDA.


Recognizing that micro businesses not only need financing, but assistance with applying and

qualifying for such financing, the Authority is also making a technical assistance grant available to support costs associated with providing technical assistance to micro businesses to best prepare and position these micro businesses to qualify for micro business loans.

A lender can apply for a technical assistance grant for up to 50% of the requested lending grant amount, not to exceed $500,000. 

Technical assistance services may only be provided by the lender to micro businesses that meet the eligibility requirements for the loan products funded through the lending grant.

The technical assistance services provided by the lender to micro businesses may include, but are not limited to:

  • Loan packaging assistance to applicants (for example, hiring new staff to directly serve those NJ-based micro businesses applying for new or existing loan products funded by the lending grant).
  • Credit repair services that may be offered to help applicant repair their credit score to be eligible for new or existing loan products funded by the lending grant.
  • Business plan preparation services
  • Projection preparation assistance for entities that need such info for their loan application.
  • QuickBooks and Excel training services to help business owners better track their business operations.
  • Online and social media specific marketing to help a business grow their operations and customer base.
  • E-commerce services to help business owners pivot into better servicing their customer through a website (either creating or updating a current website) or to set up an e- commerce platform and pay for subscription fees.


Lenders must meet eligibility requirements in order to qualify for the lending grant and technical assistance grant.  This includes:

  • At least 10 years of small and micro business lending experience.
  • Lender can be based outside of New Jersey but grant funding must be used for loan products and technical assistance that serves only eligible New Jersey based businesses.

Lender must be one of the following:

  • Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI)
  • Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs)
  • Other eligible lender as defined under Subsection b. of Section 86 of P.L. 2020, c. 156 (NJSA
  • 34:1B-353b), which includes:
    • A zone development corporation as defined in section 3 of P.L. 1983, c. 303 (C,52:27H-62) that is located in a municipality with a population greater than 100,000 (Paterson, Newark, Jersey City, Elizabeth, and Lakewood Twp.), or;
    • A nonprofit lender with at least 10 years’ experience lending to micro and small businesses (such as Economic Development Corporations/EDCs or Community Development Corporations/CDCs)

As part of their application to the NJEDA for the lending grant or technical assistance grant, lenders should be prepared to provide:

  • A recap of portfolio activity in the last 10 years from date of application to demonstrated growth in capacity and lending efforts in the last year. This can be demonstrated through financials or balance sheets.
  • Detailed information related to the new product that will be created with these funds, or existing loan programs that will be leveraged with these funds, and that will meet Main Street Lender Grant specifications for flexible loan products. A product term sheet must be provided as part of application and highlight eligibility criteria, loan terms, and fees and any other necessary criteria.
  • An explanation, policy or plan on serving communities and business segments underserved by the banking sector and other financial institutions that the applicant serves, with demonstration of significant experience complying with such policy or plan.
  • A detailed marketing plan on how this loan product will be marketed to attract new micro businesses owners. Plan should highlight what steps will be taken to ensure their product will serve all micro business owners.
  • A plan for hitting the required target of 40% of loans being closed in eligible Opportunity Zone Census Tracts, and how product information will be made available in other languages (and identification of specific languages).
  • Current overall loan portfolio activity information within the last year. Specifically identifying:
    • Using NJEDA’s definition of micro businesses, the percentage of businesses served that were micro businesses, compared to small (non-micro) business lending. 20 percent of all businesses served within the last year must be micro businesses in order to be eligible.

Technical Assistance Grant:

  • Must demonstrate experience of at least 2 years in providing technical assistance to small and micro business owners.
  • Lender must be able to document experience providing direct technical assistance, or document experience or an association with a for-profit or non-profit entity that provided such eligible technical assistance activities to micro businesses that may apply for the loans. As part of this documentation, the lender should provide the number of businesses served within the two years, the type of services provided, and a description of how businesses leveraged this support to better access financing.



For more information or to ask a specific question please send an email to and a team member will reach out to you.