The New Jersey Economic Development Authority is expanding its Small Business Lease Assistance Program to help drum up business in downtown areas of eight more municipalities.

NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan explains the pilot program reimburses the small businesses for a portion of their leases if they establish themselves in the growth zones for five years.

"It's designed to help with small businesses, particularly small businesses in sort of Main Street corridors throughout the state," he said.

"It is a pilot program that allocates some mix of funds available for small businesses to reimburse them for a portion of their lease payments if they agree to move ... or expand in one of the municipalities in their downtown core. So it covers a portion of their of their rent expense if they can make a five-year commitment to growing or expanding or relocating into downtown."

The lease assistance program helps businesses in 13 designated downtowns around New Jersey: Atlantic City, Camden, Trenton, Passaic and Paterson, adding Bridgeton, Jersey City, Millville, Mount Holly, Phillipsburg, Plainfield, Salem and Vineland.