Menendez, Payne, Jr. and Baraka Join NJ EDA in Small Business Walk to Kick Off National Small Business Week

NEWARK, New Jersey – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (DN.J.), Congressman Donald Payne, Jr. (DN.J.-10), and Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka today joined the Authority of New Jersey Economic Development (NJEDA) for a small business march along Halsey Street in Newark to kick off National Small Business Week.

“Anyone who has spent time in the halls of Congress has heard the common refrain: ‘Small businesses are the backbone of our economy.’ It’s repeated so often because it’s true. said Senator Menendez. “Especially after the past two years, when small businesses across our state and country have had to overcome unprecedented challenges, it’s clear: their success is our success. And that’s why it’s so important that we defend them through legislation that allows them to adapt, persist and thrive.

For more than 50 years, the United States Small Business Administration (SBA) has celebrated National Small Business Week during the first week of May. The week recognizes the critical contributions of American entrepreneurs and small business owners. Small Business Week 2022 celebrates the resilience and tenacity of American entrepreneurs who are doing their part to propel our country’s historic economic comeback. In New Jersey, small businesses make up 99% of all businesses and employ more than 1.9 million people, according to SBA statistics for 2021.

Senator Menendez has long been a champion of small businesses, fighting for increased access to capital, greater financial protection and essential resources before and during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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To help small businesses during the pandemic, Senator Menendez voted in favor of $800 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program and nearly $30 billion for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund. In New Jersey, over 300,000 PPP loans have been approved and 90% of them have already been forgiven. The Restaurant Revitalization Fund has helped more than 3,000 restaurants across the state. Senator Menendez is also one of the co-sponsors of the $60 billion RRF Replenishment Act and the $30 billion GYMS Act, which provides direct assistance to impacted gyms and fitness centers.

Last November, the senator presented Small Business Loans Disclosure Act 2021, to keep small business owners from predatory lenders. Along with Rep. Payne in the U.S. House of Representatives, Senator Menendez sponsored and will reintroduce The Payment Choice Act which aims to give consumers the freedom to choose how to pay for goods or services when supporting small businesses. As many establishments transitioned to contactless payment during the pandemic, many New Jersey residents need the ability to pay for goods with cash.

“I am always proud to visit small businesses in the 10and district, especially during National Small Business Week,” said Rep. Donald M. Payne, Jr.. “The Halsey Street community has been a vital part of Newark since the founding of the city and we need to make sure the small businesses there are supported. That’s why I fought to provide them, and all small businesses across the country, with greater access to capital and increased opportunities for them in our economy. I’ve helped secure billions of dollars in aid to help our small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, including a recent bill that provides $42 billion to restaurants and other food service businesses to pay the bills and their employees. Additionally, the bill includes $13 billion for small businesses that have lost 40% or more of their revenue during this pandemic. Small businesses are the foundation of our economy and we need to help them thrive.

“Small businesses have proven to be the backbone of our economy and Small Business Week is an opportune time not just for Newark, but across the state and country to support local businesses,” said Mayor Baraka. “I am grateful to Senator Menendez, Congressman Payne Jr. and NJEDA CEO Tim Sullivan for taking the time to tour some of our small businesses today as I know the ongoing collaboration with our federal, state and local partners will continue to help restore our economy and recover from the effects of the pandemic.

The small business walk included stops at The Walla, BrownMill, Sweetwaters Coffee & Tea and Halsey Cleaners. Through programs such as Sustain and Serve and the NJEDA COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Grant, both implemented during the pandemic to help struggling small businesses, NJEDA has provided crucial resources to small businesses in New Jersey, including several in Newark, including The Walla, Sweetwaters and Halsey Cleaners. .

“During National Small Business Week, we celebrate the resilience and tenacity of New Jersey small business owners who are doing their part to fuel our nation’s economic comeback in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said NJEDA Executive Director Tim Sullivan. “New Jersey’s economy thrives when our small businesses succeed, and today’s march was a testament to Governor Murphy’s efforts and the federal delegation’s commitment to ensuring our small businesses always have the tools and the funding needed to thrive. Through vital programs like Sustain and Serve and the COVID-19 Emergency Relief Grant, NJEDA has been able to help thousands of New Jersey small businesses keep their lights on and their doors open. Seeing NJEDA-backed businesses like Sweetwaters Coffee and Tea, Halsey Street Cleaners, and Burger Walla thrive has shown firsthand the resilience of New Jersey entrepreneurs who are critical parts of our state’s economic recovery.

Launched by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) in December 2020, Sustain & Serve NJ provided eligible entities with grants to purchase meals from New Jersey restaurants that were negatively impacted by COVID-19 and distribute the meals free of charge. to the community. In the first two phases of the program, NJEDA has awarded more than $34 million to 31 organizations across the state, purchasing nearly 3.5 million meals from more than 400 participating restaurants in nearly 150 municipalities across the state. 21 counties. The Sustain & Serve NJ program was funded by the American Rescue Plan.

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