NJSBDCs Keep Growing Businesses 

Twelve centers throughout the state are dedicated to small business needs.

Garden State businesses have an effective partner with a proven record: The New Jersey Small Business Development Centers network, part of a national organization of SBDCs. 

The NJSBDC program, comprised of 12 centers statewide, successfully provides services and comprehensive assistance to established small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs, as well as those impacted by Superstorm Sandy to accelerate growth and gain access to capital funding, which will, in turn, result in sustainable job creation, statewide economic development and prosperity.

The SBDCs take their motto – “Where Businesses Go to Grow” – very seriously.

“Small businesses that come to us for advice – on everything from business planning and accounting to financial analysis, marketing strategies and more – receive personalized assistance, specific to their company needs or their start-up ideas,” says NJSBDC Chief Executive Officer-State Director Brenda Hopper. “We help them succeed.”

The impact of the three-decade-old program just in 2013 is measureable and impressive. NJSBDC has counseled 5,351 clients and delivered 22,699 total counseling hours. Of that number, 54.7 percent (or 2,927) of all clients were established businesses.

“Frankly, I would not be here without the help of NJSBDC at New Jersey City University (NJSCU),” says Deidre McCarthy, CEO of Advanced Built Structures, Inc., Jersey City. The company provides flexible, open, expedient and economic light gauge panelized walls in a 44,000-square-foot manufacturing plant.

Hit hard by the Superstorm Sandy, McCarthy says, “By using synergies, a cooperative approach and major financial help secured with the help of NJSBDC and its guidance, we’re booming. Just a couple years ago we had three employees. Now we’re up to more than 60.”

McCarthy says, “Al Izzi of NJSBDC at NJCU helped me initiate my plan and get through major roadblocks. He was incredibly supportive and instructive. The NJSBDC is a critical organization that we need to guide us, fight for small businesses and help us protect and grow jobs.”

A smaller business owner, Amanda Munice, of Tinton Falls, who sought help from the NJSBDC at Brookdale Community College, agrees.

Amid the rubble created by Superstorm Sandy, she wanted to create a new business that would allow her to combine her artistic talents and teaching experience with the flexibility of raising her family.

With guidance from NJSBDC, she solidified her business plan for a licensed center – Manda’s Music Together – an early childhood music and movement program for babies to preschoolers and their parents and caregivers.

Since the summer of 2013, Manda’s Music Together – with NJSBDC’s help – has grown from 7 to 51 families and now offers classes in five Monmouth County locations. In addition, she has hired another teacher.

“NJSBDC was an incredible help,” she says. “I received so much guidance and we are now growing.”

According to NJSBDC network Chief Operating Officer and Associate State Director Deborah Smarth, “Our specialized services and other support initiatives help our business clients excel at what they do, generating jobs and ensuring that they maintain and advance their business operations. We’re making a difference business by business.”

In 2003, the program assisted 644 clients starting a new business and sponsored 666 training sessions statewide, of which 9,830 individuals/small business owners attended.

NJSBDC’s program helped small business clients create and save 16,479 jobs in the state (2,191 created jobs/14,288 retained jobs) and facilitate $69.6 million in total financing loans and equity for its clients as well as an additional $5.4 million in federal, state, local and commercial procurement contracts.

For storm-impacted businesses from Bergen to Atlantic counties, as well as inland counties, the centers have provided core services, new webinars, tech-commercialization, business clinics, panels, one-on-one guidance, on-sight assistance, business seminars and continue to support and guide core businesses. Superstorm Sandy victims were particularly helped by a Small Business Administration grant; a two-year commitment to help weather the storm’s economic impact. As of May 2014, almost 1,000 Sandy-hit small businesses have been assisted by the NJSBDC network.

NJSBDC provides assistance in expanding a small company’s customer base, growing revenues, and pro bono, confidential one-on-one counseling. Its specialty programs offer consulting in specific areas such as e-commerce, international trade, government procurement, technology commercialization, “going green,” workplace health benefits and costs savings and efficiency initiatives.

NJSBDC is also taking the lead in advocating for a better business climate in New Jersey. It has a very visible presence at the State House, providing economic impact accountability reports to the State Legislature and Governor’s office to ensure that investment in the program is enhanced vis-a-vis other states’ investment levels in their respective SBDC programs.

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