The SBDC Program Has Been Lauded For Its Cost-Effectiveness and for Its Metrics-Driven Approach

A recent, past Government Accountability Office (GAO) study of 52 economic development/entrepreneurial programs gave high marks to the national SBDC program. The GAO commended the national SBDC program, specifically noting SBDC’s best practices including impact metrics, accreditation practices, annual programmatic/financial audits, comprehensive local/regional/state/federal collaborations and program effectiveness.

Over the years, hundreds of millions of dollars have been paid by New Jersey to mid-size and larger companies to attract new jobs or retain existing jobs in the state through state business incentive grants and/or tax incentive programs. But oftentimes small businesses, the backbone of the economy, have been left behind. The costs of state grant and tax incentives to mid-and-large size companies are very high. A newspaper account estimates that jobs under the state business grant incentive programs since 1996 cost on average $22,044 per job.

By investing in assistance for entrepreneurs and existing small businesses through NJSBDC, the costs of creating and saving jobs in New Jersey are much lower. Maintaining and enhancing our small business sector in communities across the state provides sustainability and economic growth, generating jobs for the state’s residents. That’s why the Legislature and Executive Branch should continue to increase state funding for assistance to small businesses and entrepreneurs through America’s SBDC New Jersey. Independent studies prepared on an annual basis document the lower costs associated with creating and saving jobs for clients of the NJSBDC program.

Asbury Park Press,  May 6, 2013.

BIG IMPACT

America’s SBDC New Jersey, also known as the New Jersey Small Business Development Centers (NJSBDC) program, has been assisting small businesses and entrepreneurs for 37 years. It was one of the first pilot projects in the nation.

NJSBDC is part of a national network of SBDCs and goes through formal national accreditation every four to five years. There are up to 1,000 offices throughout the United States promoting business development and growth and generating thousands and thousands of jobs for Americans.

NJSBDC’s 12-center network provides comprehensive assistance for small businesses in all 21 counties. The SBDC network helps entrepreneurs to start new businesses and assists existing and established businesses (at different stages) to further develop and grow, sustaining economic growth in communities across the state. The strong historical record of NJSBDC’s economic impact for New Jersey cannot be underestimated; its business experts touch the lives of countless numbers of small business owners and operators who tap the network for guidance on an array of operational issues, including but not limited to: Business planning, strategic planning, accounting, financial analysis, legal organization, taxes, recordkeeping, marketing, E-Business, International Trade (exporting), Sustainability, Procurement opportunities, Technology-Commercialization, etc. The program brings back to the state federal dollars for small business support, but, federal funding must be matched dollar for dollar. That’s why the State’s investment in SBDC matters! NJ lags behind the investment levels of other states in their statewide SBDC networks.

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.

DEB’S COLUMN: SMALL BUSINESSVOICE-NJSBDC | FALL/WINTER 2016

COLUMN: The Economy: What Next?

The biggest question since the 2008 Great Recession is “Where’s the recovery?”

On the presidential campaign trail, economic issues have the highest scored interest followed by national security/foreign policy. So, let’s take a look at the #1 issue: the economy and jobs.

According to the latest economic indicator statistics, New Jersey’s unemployment rate peaked upwards to 5.3 percent in August for the sixth consecutive month. In February, it was at a post-recession low of 4.3 percent. New Jersey’s unemployment rate now exceeds the U.S. unemployment rate at its August level.

The Federal Reserve Chair, Janet Yellen, in her remarks at the Jackson Hole monetary policy conference, seemed to suggest that interest rates will be raised by the end of 2016. “The historically low Federal funds rate, the central bank’s still-large balance sheet, and the U.S. economy’s failure to fully recover from the last crisis all potentially dent the firepower of conventional monetary policy tools should a recession hit the U.S. economy in the coming years.”1 Some economists say we are headed for another recession. The fact is that after eight years of creating money out of thin air via quantitative easing and very low interest rates with the intent of spurring the economy, the national economy has shown little growth. According to an August 26th press release issued by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, real gross domestic product increased at an annual rate of approximately one percent (as of the second quarter).

Income growth for the vast majority is a concern. People, particularly the middle class and poor, are hurting. According to a Pew Research Center’s May 2016 analysis, there is a shrinking middle class not only in various regions, but, in metropolitan areas throughout the country. “The share of the American adult population that lives in middle-income households has fallen since 2000.” According to PEW’s analysis, the fallout is a result of the 2001 recession and the 2007-2009 Great Recession with slow recoveries after each of these economic downturns. On the other side, some argue that more people are becoming richer to be considered middle class any longer.3

As reported recently, “The 2008 financial crisis apparently knocked U.S. entrepreneurship to the ground, and it’s having a hard time returning to its feet.”4 It was noted in a recent paper of the Federal Reserve Board that when there is a decline of business entries (i.e. new businesses) that this affects the GDP and productivity. Over the past decade, the formation of individual business establishments has remained low, yet, it is noted that new companies or businesses “hire faster and produce higher levels of productivity than firms that have been around for a while.” Thus, some economists maintain that the decline in new business start-ups since the recession is creating labor market problems.

An economist with the Bank of America Merrill Lynch alludes to “tighter credit conditions as loans become harder to secure.” And, there are other factors that add to the dilemma of job growth and productivity. A recent report by Harvard Business School references “political dysfunction” as holding back the nation’s economic performance.

Once again, though, it’s apparent that small business pumps the economy. So, state governors and legislatures need to do more for small businesses and entrepreneurs. The New Jersey Legislature has persevered in securing appropriate state investment for small business technical assistance through the New Jersey Small Business Development Centers network (America’s SBDC New Jersey). The Legislature’s efforts are appreciated and duly noted on behalf of small businesses and entrepreneurs statewide.

BRENDA’S BLOG: SMALL BUSINESS VOICE-NJSBDC | WINTER-SPRING 2017

Entering a new year, we reflect on our network’s accomplishments in 2016. We are heartened that the NJSBDC network has achieved and surpassed its goals. This past year (2016) our SBDC network counseled and trained more than 12,000 small business owners, entrepreneurs and individuals. And, our impact improved across the board with all of our goal targets moving upward:

  • 19,514 total counseling hours delivered to 4,228 small business clients;
  • 567 SBDC clients started new businesses;
  • 57 percent of our total clients were established businesses;
  • $88.3 million in total financing facilitated for our small business clients;
  • Clients generated sales at $1.329 billion value;
  • Clients conservatively returned $70 million in sales tax revenues to the state, in addition to other state income tax and business tax revenues;
  • 16,115 created and saved jobs by assisting our clients;
  • 1,981 total training hours delivered at 545 training seminars with 8,279 trainees.

The added value of our program for small business health in our state contributes greatly to New Jersey’s economic development.
It was a great year! And, we’re looking forward to another banner year in 2017.

SMALL BUSINESS VOICE-NJSBDC | FALL-WINTER 2016

We’ve reached more than the half-year mark and already signs of success are in the air. Our Small Business Development Centers network, which is now focused on allocating greater resources for one-on-one management consulting and stable levels of training, has succeeded in accomplishing the following for the period covering January 1 through June 30, 2016:

  • We’ve provided one-on-one counseling for 2,593 clients with a total of 9,794 counseling hours;
  • 22% of the network’s clients received 5-plus hours of counseling;
  • 59% of NJSBDC network’s business client portfolio consists of established small businesses;
  • NJSBDC clients started 248 new businesses;
  • We’ve facilitated $52,134,594 in financing for our small business clients;
  • We’ve hosted 297 training events/seminars with 3,781 trainees attending;
  • Approximately 10% of our small business clients had $1 million or more in sales revenues and/or 10-plus employees;
  • We’ve assisted our clients to create and save 11,473 jobs.

We’re expecting to finish this year on a high note with great economic impact even though the economy seems to be weak. It’s all about “BIG IMPACT.”  That’s why the state’s investment level in our program is so important to leverage with federal and private sources of funding. Our network’s business experts are there for any small business owner or entrepreneur who wants to bring their operations or business to a higher level. Visit us for a full consultation and assessment and we can help you advance your path to success.