Women- and minority-owned small businesses and nonprofits obtain funding under NJEDA NJ Capital Access Fund


| Photo by Billow926 on Unsplash

TRENTON, NJ — More than $3.6 million in working capital loans have been approved under the NJ Capital Access Fund, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) has announced. The program, launched in November 2023, had $100 million administered by designated fund manager Calvert Impact.

Supported by the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) program and a private capital match, leverages Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and Minority Deposit Institutions (MDIs) to offer technical assistance and an affordable and flexible working capital loan product to assist small businesses and nonprofits with payroll, rent, utilities, and other operational business expenses.

According to NJEDA, 52 percent of the program’s loans were approved for women—and minority-owned small businesses and nonprofits, and 72 percent of the overall funding supported business owners identified as socially and economically disadvantaged individuals (SEDI).

Tim Sullivan, NJEDA Executive Officer, said, “New Jersey remains committed to supporting small business growth by
providing increased access to capital and resources to entrepreneurs and small business owners. Through our suite of small business support programs, the NJEDA is helping expand economic opportunities, foster business growth, and ensure the longevity and increased vitality of New Jersey’s main streets.”

Sullivan added, “The milestone announced today demonstrates how the NJ Capital Access Fund is providing a streamlined path to loans for small businesses, allowing them to continue to grow and thrive in the Garden State.”

Utilizing a technology platform provided by the Community Reinvestment Fund, USA, the NJ Capital Access Fund works alongside the NJ Small Business Development Center and four CDFIs to offer technical assistance and working capital loans up to $250,000 to small businesses and nonprofits that have been operating for at least 12 months, with revenue of $10 million or less and fewer than 50 employees.

NJEDA said participating CDFIs include Renaissance Economic Development Corporation, Ascendus, Grow America, and Pursuit. Working capital loans administered by each participating CDFI offer flexible features, including terms from 36 to 60 months, low fees to borrowers, fixed competitive interest rates, and no specific collateral requirements.

Women-owned Blue Skies Pottery in Long Branch and Hoboken leveraged the New Jersey Capital Access Fund to receive a loan through CDFI partner Ascendus. Blue Skies Pottery offers courses, classes, and memberships for anyone interested in a creative outlet.

“Making a positive impact on our community has been a core value of our pottery studio since we opened in 2022,” said Blue Skies Pottery owner Valerie Dantone.

The NJ Capital Access Fund further expands access to capital by purchasing 80 percent of all eligible working capital loans, allowing CDFIs to increase lending capacity and provide more loans to underserved communities. The fund has been utilized to purchase $2.9 million in eligible loans. For more information on eligibility requirements and to pre-apply, visit https://njcapitalaccessfund.com.

In May 2023, the NJEDA announced that Calvert Impact would administer the NJ Capital Access Fund, utilizing and matching the Authority’s $50 million investment with State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) funding. Calvert Impact is a nonprofit investment firm that has supported community and economic development organizations for nearly 30 years, focusing on financing sectors overlooked by mainstream capital markets.

The Pink Room Shapewear, a minority- and women-owned business enterprise in Union and Elizabeth, received a loan through Pursuit, another New Jersey Capital Access Fund CDFI partner. The company is committed to improving lives by offering high-quality shapewear garments that offer comfort and security.

“Opportunities such as these open doors for women and minorities in business, giving them the ability to expand. Thank you to the NJEDA for making a difference and supporting us,” said Maria Sparacio, owner of the Pink Room Shapewear.

“Calvert Impact knows that supporting small business owners is the key to a sustainable and equitable economic growth. We’re thrilled to see how eager entrepreneurs in New Jersey are to put capital to work, growing their companies and enriching their communities,” said Joe Meginnes, Director of Strategy at Calvert Impact. “And we expect that momentum to continue building with the recent launch of the technical assistance portal where entrepreneurs can get help applying for a loan and deploying the funds most effectively once they receive one.”

The NJ Capital Access Fund is funded by $255 million in federal SSBCI capital allotted to the State of New Jersey by the United States Department of the Treasury. The NJEDA utilized the SSBCI funding to create six programs that provide financial assistance to small and micro businesses in New Jersey.

–With Jay Domingo/PDM

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