Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Get answers to common questions and more specific situations about all kinds of businesses.

What federal agencies, grants, and programs might be relevant to my New Jersey businesses?

U.S. Small Business Administration

The U.S. Small Business Administration has delivered millions of loans, loan guarantees, contracts, counseling sessions and other forms of assistance to small businesses. SBA provides assistances primarily through its four programmatic functions: Access to Capital (Business Financing); Entrepreneurial Development (Education, Information, Technical Assistance & Training); Government Contracting (Federal Procurement); Advocacy (Voice for Small Business). (See “Financing” section above for information about SBA programs.)

U.S. Department of Commerce

U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Economic Development Administration  

U.S. Department of Agriculture

Rural Business Development Grants (RBDG)

The RBDG is a competitive grant designed to support targeted technical, assistance, training and other activities leading to the development or expansion of small and emerging private businesses in rural areas that have fewer than 50 employees and less than $1 million in gross revenues. Programmatic activities are separated into enterprise or opportunity type grants. There is no required maximum level of grant funding. However, smaller projects are given higher priority. Generally grants range $10,000 up to $500,000. To apply for RBDG funding, contact Joseph Henry at 856-787-7754 or at


• Rural public entities (towns, communities, State agencies, and authorities), Indian tribes and rural private non-profit corporations.

• At least 51 percent of the outstanding interest in any project must have membership or be owned by U.S. citizens or resident aliens.

• Rural is defined as any area other than a city or town that has a population of greater than 50,000 and the urbanized area contiguous and adjacent to such a city or town according to the latest decennial census. Examples of eligible fund use include: acquisition or development of land, easements, or rights of way; construction, conversion, renovation of buildings, plants, machinery, equipment, access streets and roads, parking areas, utilities; pollution control and abatement; capitalization of revolving loan funds including funds that will make loans for startups and working capital; training and technical assistance; distance adult learning for job training and advancement; rural transportation improvement; and project planning. Any project funded under the RBEG program should benefit small and emerging private businesses in rural areas that will employ 50 or fewer new employees and have less than $1 million in projected gross revenues.

Business and Industry Guarantee Loan Program

The Business and Industry (B&I) Guarantee Loan Program provides financial backing for rural businesses. This program guarantees up to 80 percent of a loan made by a commercial lender. Loan proceeds may be used for working capital, machinery and equipment, buildings and real estate, and certain types of debt refinancing. B&I loan guarantees can be extended to loans made by commercial or other authorized lenders in rural areas (this includes all areas other than cities of more than 50,000 people and their immediately adjacent urban or urbanizing areas). Generally, authorized lenders include Federal or State chartered banks, credit unions, insurance companies, savings and loan associations, Farm Credit Banks or other Farm Credit System institutions with direct lending authority, a mortgage company that is part of a bank holding company, and the National Rural Utilities Finance Corporation. Other loan sources include eligible Rural Utilities Programs electric and telecommunications borrowers and other lenders approved by USDA who have met the designated criteria.

Assistance under the B&I Guaranteed Loan Program is available to virtually any legally organized entity, including a cooperative, corporation, partnership, trust or other profit or nonprofit entity, Indian tribe or federally recognized tribal group, municipality, county, or other political subdivision of a State. Applicants need not have been denied credit elsewhere to apply for this program.

The maximum aggregate B&I Guaranteed Loan(s) amount that can be offered to any one borrower under this program is $25 million. For more information about B&I Guarantee Loans, contact Joseph Henry at 856-787-7754 or at

Value Added Producer Grant

This grant program helps agricultural producers enter into value-added activities related to the processing and/or marketing of bio-based, value-added products. Generating new products, creating and expanding marketing opportunities, and increasing producer income are the goals of this program.

Independent producers, agricultural producer groups, farmer- or rancher-cooperatives, majority-controlled producer-based business ventures are eligible to apply for this program.

Business & Industry Guaranteed Loan Program

This program bolsters the availability of private credit by guaranteeing loans for rural business. Lenders with legal authority, sufficient experience and financial strength to operate a successful lending program may apply for this program. This includes: Federal or state-chartered banks, savings and loans, farm credit banks and credit unions. Business that quality for loan guarantees include: for-profit business, nonprofits, cooperatives, federally-recognized tribes, public bodies and individuals that fall with an eligible area.

Additional information regarding the USDA’s programs can be found on their website:

An eligibility map can be found here:

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