NJEDA Launches Second Phase of Cannabis Equity Grant Program
Phase II offers $150,000 grants to qualifying social equity applicants
TRENTON, N.J. (November 13, 2023) —The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) announced today that the application for Phase II of its Cannabis Equity Grant Program will open on November 30, 2023, at 10:00 a.m. The second phase of the trailblazing program, offering the largest grant of its kind in the nation, will provide each eligible entrepreneur with a SeedEquity Grant of $150,000 and no-cost technical assistance.
The primary focus for Phase II of the Cannabis Equity Grant Program is to ensure the communities most adversely impacted by the War on Drugs have both equitable access to the lucrative cannabis industry and the resources needed to flourish. To this end, 100% of the Phase II SeedEquity Grant funding is reserved for qualifying social equity applicants, an increase from the 40% allocation in Phase I. In addition to the $150,000 in funding, Phase II includes an 8-week technical assistance program for grant recipients. The technical assistance program will provide training on converting a conditional license to an annual license, building a cannabis business team, financial management, securing investors, supply chain management, and more. To assist potential applicants, NJEDA will host a webinar on November 13, 2023, at 6:00 p.m.
“Under Governor Murphy’s leadership, New Jersey is on the forefront of creating a stronger and fairer cannabis market, especially for communities historically harmed by the unjust War on Drugs,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. “The Seed Equity Grant, which is specifically designed for social equity applicants, will help create an equitable, inclusive marketplace that will create jobs and strengthen communities, all while ensuring our entrepreneurs are able to reap the industry’s economic benefits and have access to the resources needed to succeed.”
“We are excited to see grant funding being used to help social equity applicants realize their entrepreneurship dreams. Beyond the skills and business acumen it takes to be an entrepreneur in any industry, starting a cannabis business faces additional challenges – including limited access to traditional means of business funding,” said Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC) Chair Dianna Houenou. “By making these grants exclusively available to social equity businesses – that is, companies with majority owners who have prior marijuana convictions or live in an economically disadvantaged area – NJEDA is setting the example for establishing equitable funding initiatives. NJ-CRC Commissioners and staff see the hopes and dreams of those cannabis entrepreneurs every day, and we applaud every step that brings us towards making some of those dreams come true.”
“Reflecting on the successful outcomes of the Joint Ventures Grant, I’m immensely proud and excited to kick off the application process for the Seed Equity Grant. Building on our progress, this next phase intentionally targets funding to those communities historically excluded from these opportunities,” stated NJEDA Chief Community Development Officer Tai Cooper. “For those that are interested, we strongly encourage you to join us at our upcoming webinar on November 13th to learn more about the program and application process.”
The SeedEquity Grant will allocate a total of up to $8 million in funding for 48 entrepreneurs. Applicants must meet the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission’s criteria for social equity and have obtained a conditional license. Unlike with the Phase I Joint Ventures Grant, applicants do not need to have secured real estate or municipal approval. A free eligibility assessment tool is available online for those looking to verify if they meet the requirements. In addition to this, prospective applicants can register here to attend the upcoming Seed Equity Grant webinar on November 13, 2023, at 6:00 p.m. to ask questions and receive more information.
The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) serves as the State’s principal agency for driving economic growth. The NJEDA is committed to making New Jersey a national model for inclusive and sustainable economic development by focusing on key strategies to help build strong and dynamic communities, create good jobs for New Jersey residents, and provide pathways to a stronger and fairer economy. Through partnerships with a diverse range of stakeholders, the NJEDA creates and implements initiatives to enhance the economic vitality and quality of life in the State and strengthen New Jersey’s long-term economic competitiveness.
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