By Joshua Burd
The state Economic Development Authority has extended the deadline for responses to its recent call for input from minority- and women-owned development firms, in what it sees as a first step toward funding a program to help improve diversity in the real estate industry.
According to the agency, developers now have until June 10 to respond to its request for information on the challenges that such companies face in accessing capital for residential and commercial projects. Specifically, the EDA is seeking comments, questions, recommendations, facts, information, ideas and responses that will help it better understand the scope and variables related to how underserved developers access all forms of financing available to them.
The solicitation is part of a recent proposal by Gov. Phil Murphy to invest $20 million in a so-called diverse developer fund, supporting projects led by builders of color, as part of a $65 million expenditure on new real estate initiatives in his Fiscal Year 2023 budget. The EDA detailed the program on April 21, pointing to studies finding that entrepreneurs of color feel they must work harder compared to their non-diverse peers and that women entrepreneurs say they do not have the same access to capital as their male counterparts.