The Small Business Voice April 2020
Dear New Jersey Small Business Owners
By Brenda Hopper
It’s official! I have made a decision to consciously uncouple from the NJSBDC. Please accept this letter as an official notification of my impending retirement from Rutgers Business School, Rutgers University, as CEO and State Director of America’s SBDC – New Jersey (NJSBDC) effective April 1, 2020.
It has been an amazing 29-plus-year journey. My time as State Director has been professionally and personally rewarding. If my assistance, in any way, helped to fulfill an entrepreneur’s dream of small business ownership or growth; then it was well worth the ride. I want to thank you the small business community for your tenacity and dedication to providing needed goods and services to the New Jersey community and becoming successful small business owners. Through hard work and commitment to our mission, the NJSBDC provided me the opportunity to grow and expand the network from six (6) regional centers to twelve (12) centers and more than twenty (20) affiliate offices. Through the years, I’ve met thousands of small business owners and success award winners, public and private stakeholders; statewide and in Washington and I thank you for the opportunity to serve.
Special thanks to Deb Smarth, COO/associate state director and the entire NJSBDC network staff and some of the old timers that started the journey with me. I would also like to introduce the new Interim State Director, Leon Fraser, Assistant Professor, Rutgers Business School. I ask that you continue to provide your support so that we may secure the organization’s sustainability for another 29-plus-years.
I have fond memories of so many small business owners, success award winners, and individuals I met along the way. The NJSBDC network has always been an organization that focused on you the small business owner first; This will continue! It’s been quite a ride for me at the Rutgers Business School and NJSBDC; first as a student, then alumna, then staff member and now as a retiree and entrepreneur. Better yet, now I will be a NJSBDC client too!
As one of the eight pilot programs that started the SBDC national program over 40 years ago, I wish the NJSBDC and you continued success and great accomplishments. Again, thanks for the ride and your support; it was quite enjoyable!
Brenda B. Hopper is former Chief Executive Officer and State Director of America’s Small Business Development Centers — New Jersey Network