Newark, NJ (PRWEB) May 28, 2014
Now called America’s SBDC New Jersey, the Small Business Development Centers network is advocating for restoration of its State Government to match funding since the program brings in almost $3 million dollars in federal funding to deliver comprehensive assistance to small business owners and entrepreneurs.
That state match is critical along with other non-federal funds it raises to obtain full federal funding.
Small business clients from around the state readily acknowledge that the guidance and knowledge they receive through this program has helped them stay in business, develop and grow. During 2013, 644 SBDC clients started a new business and the SBDC network helped its clients create and save 16,479 jobs.
Clients maintain that this program is simply returning services they are already pre-paying for through the large amount of federal and state taxes they pay.
During the last administration, the network received $1 million in state allocation, but, due to executive action, it was reduced to $500,000 even after the Legislature’s efforts attempted to restore the full one million. Then mid-fiscal year, the Corzine administration froze the program to $250,000 which is where it is today.
The Christie administration in its first year had tried to eliminate that modest funding level, but, the Legislature fought to restore the funding and the $250,000 allocation has been stable for the past few years and has been proposed for the upcoming 2014-2015 state budget.
Recently, Arizona State University’s Business School issued a study which ranked New Jersey 50th in job growth.
“We look at the dividends returned to the State economy and we often wonder why would public policy-makers allocate a funding level way below the average state investment level nationally in this program,” said Brenda Hopper, NJSBDC Chief Executive Officer-State Director. “It just doesn’t make sense considering the slow economy.”
A 2013 survey of SBDCs nationally revealed that the average state investment in SBDCs stands at $1.1 million. New Jersey falls significantly below that average.
“Last year New Jersey ranked 49th in small business/entrepreneur-friendly policies according to a national non-partisan study,” said Deborah Smarth, NJSBDC Chief Operating Officer-Associate State Director. “We need to do more for small businesses, and restoring investment to where it used to be a few years ago would send a strong signal in the quest to making New Jersey more small business friendly and maximizing resources for their development and growth.”
Hopper added, “The NJSBDC shared in the state budget sacrifice a few years ago with its 75 percent state funding reduction for its core mission. It should now be time to reverse that outcome.”
Both NJSBDC executives maintain had it not been for the network experts’ advice and guidance, more individuals would be on unemployment and more businesses would not have survived during the recession and post-period, notwithstanding Super Storm Sandy’s impact on the small business sector. Without NJSBDC’s help, there would have been even more job losses and business closings.
“We’re just looking for equity and investment decisions based on metrics outcomes,” Smarth added. “It’s clear that the program produces a large dividend for the state. The state funding allocation should take that into consideration especially in times where there are still economic difficulties.”
Anthony and Karen High of Special Ops Security Services, Inc. located in Dunellen NJ recently said had it not been for the assistance they received from the regional SBDC in New Brunswick/Piscataway – both counseling and training – they would not have succeeded in staying in business. The fully bonded and insured security and investigative service company now has more than 30 employees. A musician turned entrepreneur, Brandon Kurzawa, opened a community music school a few years ago with the help of the NJSBDC located in Bridgewater. He credits the NJSBDC with helping grow his business with more than a dozen employees. Dominick DeSantis, owner of DeSantis Construction in Somerset, has been a client of the NJSBDC for several years now and has steadily increased his earnings and the number of employees. SBDC helped his company receive financing which has allowed for company growth through the assistance by SBDC.
Deidre McCarthy was assisted by the NJSBDC in Jersey City and has grown her construction-manufacturing business, Advanced Built Structures, Inc. to more than 60 employees in just a couple of years. The NJSBDC was there again to help after her business received damages from Super Storm Sandy. With SBDC’s assistance she obtained a large SBA loan, which helped the company re-boot operations. She credits the NJSBDC with making her business plan happen and her company growth.
“We’re out there all the time in the communities advising small businesses that come to us for help,” said Hopper. “We get referrals from our state government partners to help individual businesses which may have inquired through the state’s call center or portal. We’re there for them.”
“Greater investment in such a program augments small business resources,” added Smarth. “At this time, small businesses are the innovators and job creators. We believe that the Legislature and Governor should invest wisely. If hundreds of millions of dollars are invested in large and mid-size companies’ business incentive grants, making a small investment increase in small businesses is the right thing to do.”