Freeholder Board expands CamCo CARES Program by $5 million

$20 million already claimed by small business owners

Freeholder Director Louis Cappelli Jr., was joined today by Congressman Donald Norcross and Nichelle Pace, Vice President of the Camden Business Association, as he announced the Freeholder Board’s decision to dedicate an additional $5 million to the Camden County CARES Small Business Grant Program.

The county launched the grant program to assist small businesses impacted by the pandemic on July 23, and originally dedicated $20 million of federal funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. With almost $5 million already distributed, and more than $20 million claimed in pending applications, the Board has added an additional $5 million to the program to assist struggling businesses.

“Just three weeks after we launched this program, we have been able to put more than $4 million into the hands of business owners impacted by the pandemic. We have already heard from dozens of proprietors who say this funding has given them the ability to cover their expenses, and the security to forge ahead as we continue to navigate this crisis,” said Freeholder Director Louis Cappelli, Jr. “Unfortunately, the need in our community is still significant. This second round of funding will allow us to provide assistance to as many remaining eligible businesses as possible.”

The criteria for the program have not changed. In order to qualify for a Camden County CARES Small Business Grant, the applicant must meet the following criteria:

  • Business revenue has been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic
  • The business has been located in Camden County since January 1, 2019 or earlier
  • The business employed 25 or fewer employees as of March 1, 2020
  • The business earned $5 million or less in total revenue during 2019

The business must not operate in any of the following categories:

  • Banks or other financial institutions
  • E-Commerce
  • Businesses where the primary products or services are oriented to specific ages (vaping, liquor stores, etc.)
  • Franchises, except for those franchises which are completely locally owned and operated

Congressman Donald Norcross, who championed the federal funds to support employees, businesses, towns and hospitals during the pandemic, emphasized the importance of the expansion to the program.

“The CARES Act has delivered critical federal resources to local governments, and I applaud Camden County’s innovation in creating this grant program that has already helped many local small businesses,” Norcross said. “Today’s announcement of an additional $5 million in federal funding means that even more local employers can access the resources they desperately need to make it through this ongoing public health crisis and get residents back to work safely.”

Applications are currently being accepted on a rolling basis, and applicants can apply directly at www.camdencountycares.com. Applicants seeking support with their application should call (833) 487-0462.

The President and Chief Executive Officer of the South Jersey Chamber of Commerce, Christina Renna talked about the importance of the program and the expansion of it.

“We know that every penny counts right now and the expansion of this initiative to ensure every small business has a chance to get grant funding is vital,” Renna said. “The $5 million expansion also underscores the fact that the Board gets it – they know how tough it is to run a business and they know the pressures that the pandemic is putting on small business owners and our membership.”

The grant awards are built on businesses’ total 2019 revenue. Those that earned less than $25,000 could see grants up to $2,500 and those with revenue between $25,000 and $50,000 are eligible for grants up to $5,000. Businesses with revenue between $50,000 and $100,000 can receive up to $7,500. The maximum allocation for those that collected more than $100,000 in 2019 is $10,000.

Vice President of the Camden Business Association, Nichelle Pace, talked about the importance of federal funds getting into the hands of principals representing minority and women-owned businesses and expanding the program.

“The Board continues to move in the right direction to the assist the small business community and its clear there is a critical need based on how fast the first round of funding was claimed,” Pace said. “By zip code and municipality, it is clear that this grant funding is getting into the right hands. The Camden Business Association is proud to partner with the Board to get the word out to the Camden business community, so they can access these funds.”

More than 2,200 small businesses in Camden County have had their applications certified for grant funding from the original $20 million allocation. Applicants can apply directly on www.camdencountycares.com or by calling (833) 487-0462.