As part of the four entities that make up New Jersey’s Partnership for Action, the Business Action Center (BAC) is a necessary and vital resource for businesses looking to take advantage of what New Jersey has to offer, according to BAC Director Lauren Moore.
Serving as a “one-stop shop” to help businesses locate, grow and/or remain in New Jersey, the BAC works to help the state position itself as a leader in economic vitality.
“Here at the BAC, we support businesses of all sizes and encourage entrepreneurship while working to retain and attract business to the state,” Moore says. “We do this in a variety of ways – by assisting businesses with permit applications, certificates and licenses, and any other business-related items or questions they may have.”
Additionally, the BAC will walk businesses through the different financial incentive and financing programs New Jersey has to offer, and provide a full range of site selection services to help companies pick an ideal location to expand or relocate.
“We offer businesses so many options, which is why I like to refer to ourselves as that ‘one stop shop,’” Moore says. “We match up our services and programs to the needs of each individual business and are working with the business every step of the way.”
For example, after an initial meeting with a company that is either looking to move into New Jersey – due to the efforts of the state’s marketing arm Choose New Jersey – or, if a business is looking to expand in the state, the BAC identifies the programs, services and practices that meet a company’s needs. Then, it engages the business with the correct entity that administers that service.
“It may be engaging the company with the New Jersey Economic Development Authority for financial incentives; the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection for assistance with a permitting issue; working with a local municipality in helping a company understand what is needed to receive a site plan approval; or working with a county to aid with workforce alignment to identify and recruit workers,” Moore says.
He adds that the BAC has contacts at every level of government, in every major department in the state, and with all New Jersey counties and most municipalities. He stresses the fact that maintaining close relationships with these entities – along with establishing and maintaining a relationship with its customers – is a vital part in growing the state’s economy.
“It all starts with having strong relationships,” he says. “First, it starts with establishing relationships with our clients. Then, it branches out to all of the aforementioned entities, in addition to real estate brokers and site selection consultants. We work very hard to develop and deepen our relationships with these entities to not only benefit the clients, but to provide a positive benefit to the state as a whole.”
Moore points to a recent example of a company the BAC has worked with in order to bring more jobs to the state and boost the local economy. Amazon’s 1-million-square-foot warehouse – currently under construction in Robbinsville – is slated to bring approximately 1,500 full-time jobs to New Jersey on top of the hundreds of construction jobs it has already garnered.
“We were extremely proud to help bring this fulfillment center to Central New Jersey,” Moore says. “In a highly competitive market, it was huge to land something like this. With a 1-million-square-foot facility, it is in the top 1 percent of the number of facilities we have of that size in the state. When we are attracting projects and companies like this, it is creating a very robust, vibrant and diverse economy for New Jersey, which gives our citizens employment and a higher quality of life. That is a goal for an organization like ours.”
Moore says that projects like Amazon’s – along with hundreds of other businesses and potential businesses looking to locate and expand in the state – are possible due to the BAC’s “professional staff.”
“There is not a question, service or program that an individual or company can approach us with that we won’t know the answer to,” he says. “We are going to connect them with what they need and we are going to do it quickly and efficiently.”
Moore refers to the BAC’s call center, which see’s approximately 30,000 calls a year with questions of all types.
For instance, “We receive questions such as ‘How do I register my business?’ or, ‘How do I register my name, because I am looking into a start up business?’ or, ‘I want to bring 100 jobs to New Jersey, I need a location and I want to find out what incentives are available. What steps do I take?’ Our staff services these questions right away and can assist with anything the client/potential client may need. Customer service is always our No. 1 priority.”
Recently, Moore says the BAC has been focusing on the international side of business, in helping companies with export assistance.
“One of the things we feel strongly about is helping New Jersey businesses extend their reach and grow their customer base by accessing international markets,” he says. “We recently [were approved] for a federal grant through the US Small Business Administration (SBA) that has helped us market and promote these global markets so companies can reach those markets. We also recently submitted an application for another competitive grant to continue with our aggressive assistance to help companies on the export side.”
Moving forward, Moore says the BAC is beginning to focus on redeveloping existing sites in the state, through its Office of Planning Advocacy. “We are trying to identify areas targeted for development and redevelopment and want to help local municipalities give new life to sites that have not been in use for a long time,” he says.
Overall, Moore affirms that “when it comes down to it,” the BAC “is all about the needs of the business community and what each individual company is trying to accomplish with its business plan.
“I feel that any company with any question about conducting business in the state can come to us for the correct assistance,” he concludes. “What we do here is all part of the plan to grow New Jersey’s resources and I feel that – along with [the organizations in] the Partnership for Action – we are doing a fine job in attracting businesses and keeping them here.”