EDA Bringing Back PPE Discount Program

by ROI-NJ Staff (Trenton), ROI.nj.com

This story is being republished under aNJ News Commons content-sharing agreement related to COVID-19 coverage. Link to story: roi-nj.com/2021/02/11/finance/eda-bringing-back-ppe-discount-nearly-70-program/

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority is bringing back its program that offers personal protective equipment to small businesses at a nearly 70% discount, it announced.

The New Jersey Small and Micro Business PPE Access Program will be available to New Jersey-based businesses with 100 or fewer employees beginning at 9 a.m. February 16.

Small businesses and organizations interested in receiving these discounts must apply at ppe.covid19.nj.gov.

Businesses that were approved prior to Dec. 17, 2020, do not need to reapply.

EDA CEO Tim Sullivan said the organization has made access to PPE a top priority.

“Ensuring businesses have access to the personal protective equipment they need to operate while keeping their employees and customers safe is crucial to mitigating the ongoing economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and setting the stage for a strong recovery,” he said.

“The PPE Access Program’s success in 2020 played an important role in helping New Jersey businesses stay safe during the winter, and we are glad to continue providing this resource for small businesses in the new year.”

The EDA launched the program in late 2020 in response to consistent concerns about access to readily available, fairly priced PPE.

During Phase 1 of the program, the EDA identified and vetted “Designated Vendors,” including Boxed, Office Depot and Staples, which have partnered with the authority to create “microsites” where New Jersey-based businesses can purchase a curated selection of PPE products at a 10 percent discount.

The EDA also collaborated with the New Jersey Department of Health to create an online PPE Planning Tool that helps businesses understand PPE product requirements and estimate their organizational PPE needs. Links to the designated vendor microsites and the PPE Planning Tool are available at ppe.covid19.nj.gov.

In addition to the 10% discounts available to all businesses, the EDA also made additional discounts of 65% available to businesses and nonprofits with 100 or fewer employees that make purchases from Staples or Office Depot. These discounts were available until December 17, 2020. During this time, the EDA approved nearly 9,000 small businesses for discounts totaling more than $7.6 million.

In light of the program’s success, the EDA has devoted another $2.5 million to expanded discounts for small businesses. These discounts will be available in addition to the 10% discounts available to all businesses, so businesses will be able to receive nearly 70 percent off PPE purchases. The expanded discounts will only be available to businesses with 100 or fewer employees and will be subject to the same caps that were placed on the program in 2020: $800 for all eligible businesses or $1,000 for businesses located in one of New Jersey’s 715 census tracts that were eligible to be designated as Opportunity Zones.

Small businesses and organizations interested in receiving these additional discounts must apply at ppe.covid19.nj.gov.

Once the NJEDA has confirmed a business’s eligibility, the business owner will receive vouchers for purchases from a Designated Vendor of their choice. Businesses that have previously applied and been approved to receive discounts through the program are eligible and do not need to reapply. However, any discounts they have redeemed previously will be counted toward the program cap (i.e., a business outside an Opportunity Zone that used $200 in discounts in December 2020 will only have access to discounts up to $600 now). Vouchers will expire at 11:59 p.m. March 24, 2021. Businesses and nonprofits will still be able to receive 10 percent discounts on PPE purchases after this date.

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