A ‘Gift’ for Small Businesses and the NJSBDC Program
By Deborah K. Smarth
Thanks to the Legislature and Murphy administration, NJSBDC’s state funding investment is back to where it was in FY 2018-2019. The FY 2020-2021 Appropriations Act, introduced and passed by the Legislature during the week of September 21, was approved by the Governor on September 29.
Long-time legislative advocates of the New Jersey Small Business Development Centers program, the chairs and vice-chairs of the Assembly and Senate Budget Committees, with additional members’ support, provided restored state funding for the NJSBDC network and the thousands of small business owners who receive personalized one-on-one counseling, training, and other forms of technical assistance from NJSBDC’s expert business advisors. The members of the budget committees sent a solid and resounding message in support of the NJSBDC program, recognizing its impact on small business recovery, health, stability and resiliency.
The state investment is a key component towards SBDC’s dollar-for-dollar federal match requirement. The national network, America’s SBDC, receives resounding support each year through congressional appropriations for this jobs-producing, business-creating program. Congressional members fight hard each year to ensure that the national program receives stable or increased federal funding through the Small Business Administration (SBA).
The Legislature took the lead again this year in supporting restored state funding for NJSBDC. At a time when small business owners are grasping for air, needing more guidance and assistance than ever before due to the pandemic, it just makes sense to invest in America’s number one resource provider in small business assistance services.
During the many phone conversations and additional communications with various state legislators including key leadership and staff members, the “gift” that fell back to the NJSBDC network is more than appreciated. Our accountability report on state fiscal year deliverables impact showed positive return on last year’s $250,000 allocation. During very long days working remotely since the inception of this pandemic, our network’s experts did everything they could to assist small business owners in 21 counties, ensuring that their dreams and hopes didn’t die. Network business advisors continue to assist small business clients now in recovery stages.
As the challenges of this pandemic took its toll, the sea of humanity took hold. We felt small business owners’ and entrepreneurs’ pain and our experts worked with them arduously to ensure maintenance and survival. Now, we’re looking to build small business recovery and resiliency.
Thanks to all of you for your ENCOURAGING SUPPORT at a time when it was needed most.
Deborah K. Smarth is Chief Operating Officer and Associate State Director of the New Jersey Small Business Development Centers Network.