The Small Business Voice; February 2019
Support for Small Business Must be Full Circle
America’s SBDC New Jersey, also known as the New Jersey Small Business Development Centers (NJSBDC), has assisted small businesses and entrepreneurs in all 21 counties for 40 years. As one of the first pilot projects of the national SBDC program, established by Congress, the program has helped its clients create and save thousands and thousands of jobs and new business starts each year.
The Legislature receives annual accountability reports on NJSBDC program impact metrics; interim communications through its magazine and newsletter issues about new initiatives, developments, and program direction including the testimonials of successful clients who have been assisted. And, each new gubernatorial administration that gets elected hears directly from our Headquarters; clients share their own success stories to provide examples of how the program helps small business owners succeed and grow.
In June 2018, the Legislature incorporated budget language to restore a state funding increase to drive up state investment in SBDC small business assistance. While still not at the $1 million mark, where it once stood about a decade ago, the NJSBDC network and the clients it has served over the years are grateful for continued legislative support. While it’s taken a while to grease the wheels and power the engine, Assembly and Senate Legislative Leaders, Budget Committee Chairs/Vice-Chairs and Ranking Members have made their strong support known over the years.
While the NJ Business Action Center (NJBAC) is the official partner of NJSBDC, the Legislature has been the driving force behind New Jersey’s investment in small business assistance through the NJSBDC program.
Hopefully, the NJBAC’s collaboration with the Governor’s office, the NJSBDC network, and the Legislature can ensure that New Jersey’s investment catches up incrementally to where it once was a decade ago. According to the national association for America’s SBDC – with state SBDC networks in all 50 states – the average state investment in SBDCs nationally is $1.2 million.
Governor Murphy will be proposing a state budget in March, and small business owners are counting on continued progress concerning NJSBDC’s funding allocation. The NJSBDC network and the thousands of clients we serve look forward to another year of legislative, gubernatorial, and executive agency support for small business comprehensive assistance, which leads to new businesses, expanded businesses, and created and saved jobs – something which the economy needs more than ever.
Deborah K. Smarth is Chief Operating Officer and Associate State Director of the New Jersey Small Business Development Centers Network.