Press Release
October 10, 2017
3 minute read

Small Business Grants Offered by State Create Opportunities for Passaic and Paterson Businesses

TRENTON, NJ (October 10, 2017) – The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) and the Cities of Passaic and Paterson have announced two new programs that will provide grants to street level businesses in designated commercial areas of these two cities as well as in the other Garden State Growth Zones (GSGZs). These GSGZs were created through the New Jersey Economic Opportunity Act (EOA) of 2013, and include five cities; Passaic, Paterson, Atlantic City, Camden, Trenton.

Administered by the EDA in collaboration with GSGZs, the Business Lease Incentive (BLI) and Business Improvement Incentive (BII) programs are designed to support the growth of new and expanding retail and service businesses in targeted commercial corridors. 

In Passaic, businesses located in the Market/First Street Corridor and Central Business District on Main Avenue are considered eligible. A detailed map of eligible locations is available via  

In Paterson, businesses in the Urban Enterprise Zones as well as those in the Downtown Historic District, Main Street (from lower main to Crooks Ave.), 21st Ave. from Main to Madison, and 10th Ave. are considered eligible. A detailed map of eligible locations is available via  

“Programs administered under the EOA are attracting private investment and creating momentum in Passaic and Paterson,” said EDA Chief Executive Officer Melissa Orsen. “The BLI and BII programs help to position surrounding small businesses to take advantage of increased foot traffic and interest in these areas.”

The BLI program offers reimbursement of 15 percent of annual lease payments for two years to for-profit businesses and non-profit organizations in eligible areas that plan to lease between 500 and 5,000 square feet of new or additional market-rate, first-floor office, industrial or retail space for a minimum five-year term. An applicant leasing over 5,000 square feet can be eligible, but the BLI grant will only incentivize the first 5,000 square feet. The BLI program application is available at

The BII program offers grants of up to 50 percent of total project costs, grant amount not to exceed $20,000, for improvements made to the first floor of a facility in an eligible GSGZ location, with a minimum project cost of $5,000. The BII program application is available at

Reflecting on the value of these grants, Ruben Gomez, Director of Economic Development, City of Paterson, remarked on how “these programs are not only helpful to business owners looking to locate or expand in Paterson, but can also be leveraged by commercial realtors and landlords as an incentive to attract tenants.” 
Developed in collaboration with the GSGZs, EDA worked with each community to ensure the programs meet the needs of the respective local markets. The programs are available on a pilot basis and up to $200,000 is available per city, per year, over the three-year life of the programs. 

“Passaic City is constantly looking for new opportunities to support our local small business owners.  These grant-funded incentive programs encourage business owners to invest in our City and continue the economic momentum we are focused on within eligible business districts,” said City of Passaic Mayor Hector C. Lora.  “These programs offered through the State provide a boost to businesses by providing important funding for facade improvements or renovations that benefit local businesses.”

For general program questions please contact Christina Fuentes, Senior Community Development Officer, EDA at 609-858-6663 or For more information on eligible locations in each city, please contact:

Passaic:  Soraya Stam                                                    
UEZ Coordinator – City of Passaic

Paterson:  Ruben A. Gomez
Director of Economic Development

The EDA offers a range of resources to support small business growth, including: low-interest loans, and bond financing. To learn more, visit and follow @NJEDAWasHere on Twitter and LinkedIn.