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adminFebruary 12, 2018

DEB’S COLUMN: SMALL BUSINESS VOICE-NJSBDC | WINTER/SPRING 2017

COLUMN: LET EMPLOYEES BAND TOGETHER TO ESTABLISH NEW BUSINESSES, CREATING AND SAVING JOBS; INVEST MORE IN TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE

The big topic these days in national news with a new presidential administration is bringing back jobs to America. Despite the administration’s diverse proposals, it’s even more simplistic!

Employees, who are being displaced due to their employer’s decisions to relocate, can do more than just wait for governmental solutions. They can take their knowledge and know-how in the industry in which they have worked for years, join together, and establish their own business in the field. They can do so with the help of the national America’s Small Business Development Centers program (America’s SBDC).

Each state has a network of SBDCs totally focused on helping established small businesses reach their next level of growth as well as assisting those individuals who want to start a business. Having workers band together to establish their own cooperative business will ensure that the jobs that would have been lost due to their employer’s closing its doors, will be saved due to their own efforts with the help of professional consultants and business advisors at SBDC. America’s SBDC New Jersey has a few great success stories based on such a model. This is the way for job creation, new businesses, and business retention in New Jersey. Why not promote that model?

According to information cited on the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation’s website, the way a firm organizes can very well affect innovation and creativity among its workers. According to the 2015 Kauffman blog, “Employee-owned firms are theorized to have more productive workers and less turnover than firms with traditional ownership structures.” The foundation of an employee-owned firm focuses on allowing employees to drive and navigate the firm’s mission and vision; employees hold the stocks of the enterprise and elect some of the company’s board members. The employees’ compensation is appropriately shared and works as an incentive for greater productivity and innovation at the firm. Small business and entrepreneurship is front and center! And, employee-owned small businesses are a means to save and catalyze new jobs and strengthen the middle class.

According to the most recent 2017 Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council’s “Small Business Policy Index,” New Jersey ranked 49th among the states in small business-friendly public policies. It’s time to change that ranking through innovative thinking and greater state investment in NJSBDC, part of a national network of SBDCs throughout the country. There’s no reason why New Jersey’s SBDC investment should lag the average state investment nationally. Why not invest properly in such a program with such a strong track record? The Legislature understands and has taken action. The executive branch should be just as supportive.

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The New Jersey Sustainable Business program is funded by the USEPA, and is part of an EPA Region 2 Toxic Reductions initiative that also includes projects being conducted by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), and New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT).

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Funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA. All services extended to the public on a non-discriminatory basis.