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Designated Vendors: Information on How to Become a PPE Access Program Online Retailer
What is the application process and are there deadlines?
The application to become a Designated Vendor is in two parts: a Program Application (available online here) and a Legal Questionnaire, to be completed following the submittal of the Program Application. Interested applicants should note that the Program Application form cannot be saved and therefore must be completed in one sitting. To simplify your preparation for that and for completing the Legal Questionnaire, both of those documents are available in PDF form by clicking the links below:
The application has certain requirements as to completeness, execution and signing. All interested applicants are encouraged to read the full instructions before starting work on the form.
Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis as they are received, and the application period will end on November 12, 2020. Applicants will be evaluated against eligibility criteria and asked to confirm their ability and willingness to meet certain vendor performance requirements (as described in questions below). Applicants will be notified of the outcome by email, with an opportunity to provide additional or clarifying information, if necessary.
Once approved, Designated Vendors will be asked to sign the NJ PPE Access Program and Subsidy Agreement and present a demonstration version of their NJ PPE Access e-commerce site within two weeks.
What will the State of New Jersey do to support Designated Vendors in the Program?
The State is deeply concerned about enabling the safe reopening of businesses of every size and considers this Program a key step in that process. Acting through the NJ Economic Development Authority and with the support of the Office of the Governor, the State will actively promote the program both through direct marketing efforts, public and social media and through direct outreach to community, business and industry organizations across the state.
What are the eligibility requirements to become a "Designated Vendors" under the Program?
To be approved as a NJ PPE Access Designated Vendor, applicants must meet the following minimum eligibility criteria (as of August 11, 2020):
- Have been engaged in one of the following for not less than two years: (a)(i) direct consumer-facing or small business online distribution (note: selling through an unrelated company's online marketplace does not meet this criterion) or (ii) wholesale sourcing of COVID-19 PPE, or (b) if the applicant company is under two years old, have a Senior Executive (CEO, COO, or other similar level executive) that has such experience on behalf of other companies for not less than four years;
- Have revenues for the most recently completed fiscal year of not less than $5 million;
- Be registered to do business in NJ and have at least one commercial facility in the State, such as an office, a retail store, a warehouse, a manufacturing facility, etc.; and
- Be able operationally, technologically and financially to meet the program's performance requirements (see next question).
In addition, all Designated Vendor applicants must pass NJEDA's standard debarment and legal review process, provide a tax clearance certificate, and be in good standing with the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development.
What will each Designated Vendor be expected to do?
Designated Vendors will be expected to create dedicated e-commerce websites for the NJ PPE Access Program, with unique URLs and a selection of products such as cloth and medical face masks, face shields, gloves, sanitizing gels, isolation gowns, touchless thermometers, and disinfecting supplies.
Specifically, Designated Vendors must:
- Designate a NJ PPE Access Program project manager with experience running projects of similar scope and scale
- Create and support a dedicated website that:
- Has a unique URL that clearly identifies the site as part of the NJ PPE Access Program
- Contains co-branding and text (to be provided by NJEDA Staff) that identifies the site as participating in the NJ PPE Access Program
- Easily toggles between English and Spanish
- Is designed so that visitors can learn about, purchase, pay for and have delivered a selection of PPE via a user-friendly and intuitive online platform (e.g., that utilizes pictures for products, has clear and transparent pricing, is mobile-friendly, and provides clear totals in check-out process)
- Offer on this website at least seven of the nine "required" product categories listed below (five out of the nine if a Designated Vendor with under $10 million in revenues).
- Required: Cloth face masks; 3-ply surgical face mask; N95 and K95 masks; Face shields and/or goggles; Gloves; Sanitizing gels; Isolation gowns; Screening devices, e.g., touchless thermometers; Disinfecting supplies
- Encourage (but not required): Workplace safeguarding equipment, e.g., plexiglass panels and dividers; Signage, marking devices and other social distancing tools
- Provide NJEDA with a description/plan of how they intend to limit choices for any given product type to make it easier for a small business customer to quickly make choices;
- Provide a discount of not less than 10% (compared to the online retailer's main retail channel) for the PPE to all customers, such discount to be applied in the checkout process and identified as the "NJ Small Business PPE Access Program Discount;"
- Ensure that customers with limited or no access to credit can utilize the site, e.g., by offering payments by debit card or gift card as an option;
- Agree to coordinate with the NJEDA to develop a technical approach to offer certain businesses additional subsidies on their PPE purchases to be funded out of NJEDA grant funding (see below for additional details) in a potential second phase of the Program;
- Present to NJEDA an internal working/demonstration version of the proposed solution within two weeks of the execution of the NJ PPE Access Participation and Subsidy Agreement and launch a fully operational site within two weeks thereafter;
- Ensure that users opting to purchase merchandise from a Designated Vendor's non-Program website or catalog are made aware that they are leaving the Vendor's NJ PPE Access Site and that the benefits of the Program are not available for the purchase of such non-Program merchandise;
- Provide NJEDA with a description/plan of how they intend to engage with NJ-based small businesses in historically disadvantaged communities as part of this program, including but not limited to: potentially sourcing from such businesses and/or conducting any specific promotional outreach regarding availability of this program; Vendors will be expected to commit to executing any plans in good faith;
- Provide NJEDA with a description/plan for identifying and purchasing PPE from companies that manufacture or assemble in final form (repackaging excluded) PPE in New Jersey;
- Provide NJEDA with a weekly report on key performance metrics for their Vendor's NJ PPE Access Site, including but not limited to:
a. Total sales by volume and transaction numbers
b. Total sales and outreach efforts to historically underserved communities
c. Total sales to businesses with fewer than 10 and 25 full-time equivalent ("FTE") employees (may be implemented in the potential Phase 2 of the program)
d. Comparable market pricing or product pricing indices
e. Total amount of discounts provided; and
f. Total amount of subsidies using NJEDA advanced grant funding provided (part of the potential Phase 2 of the program)
- Provide a complete accounting of the site's activity no later than 90 days following the termination of the NJ PPE Access Participant Subsidy and Agreement;
- Maintain and support the Vendor's NJ PPE Access Site for a period of at least 12 months (or such shorter time as required to support small businesses through the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency); and
- Remove the site and all NJEDA and NJ "The Road Back" branding at earlier of the end of the Program or the termination of the Designated Vendor's participation therein.
Who should complete the application form? What about the Legal Questionnaire?
Companies should designate a program manager to complete the application form and be the main point of contact between the company and NJEDA. This program manager should have experience in running projects of similar scope or scale as well as the authority to coordinate the approval process, including any suggested branding or technical changes to the PPE Access program site.
The Legal Questionnaire must be completed by an authorized signer. This can be:
- for a corporation, a principal executive officer, at least the level of vice president;
- for a partnership, a general partner;
- for a sole proprietorship, the proprietor;
- for a governmental entity, the contact person (business administrator, manager, mayor, etc.);
- for other than above, the person with legal responsibility for the application.
The authorized signer must complete and sign the Legal Questionnaire, and submit this as an attached PDF to smallbusinessPPE@NJEDA.com, along with a Tax Clearance Certificate from New Jersey Division of Taxation, and any other clarifying documents required based on answers from the Legal Questionnaire.
Where can I get further information on how to request a Tax Clearance Certificate from the NJ Department of Taxation?
You can get further information on how to request a Tax Clearance Certificate from the NJ Department of Taxation at the following link: https://www.state.nj.us/treasury/taxation/busasst.shtml.
What happens if I accidentally submit the application with missing or incomplete information?
If your application is determined to be incomplete, an NJEDA staff member will reach out to you for additional information.
Where can I reach out if I have questions about the application review process?
If you have any questions concerning your application, please reach out directly to program staff by sending an email with your inquiry to smallbusinessPPE@NJEDA.com.
What is the review process?
The review process is as follows:
- Application review will begin on a first-come first-served basis once the application has been submitted. Application review will not be completed until the Legal Questionnaire, Tax Clearance Certificate, and any other required supporting documentation have been received by NJEDA.
- Upon receipt of both the application and the Legal Questionnaire/supporting documentation, you will receive a confirmation email.
- NJEDA will review your application as quickly as possible (typically within 1-2 weeks).
- A designated application review manager will reach out by email if there are questions or additional information needed to complete review.
- Upon successful review, an application review manager will reach out via email and invite you to complete and return the Program and Grant Agreement (example to be posted here soon) and schedule a time within two weeks to demonstrate a mock-up of your PPE Access Program site.
- Additionally, an account manager will schedule time with the NJEDA tech team to discuss technical requirements for potential Phase 2 integration.
- The NJEDA team will be in touch about the launch date for the program, anticipated to be in early to mid-September.
- Successful applicants will be able to access program subsidies once their link is live on the program website.