The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) today approved entering into a partnership with the African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey (AACCNJ) to establish and operate the Small Business Bonding Readiness Assistance Program, a training initiative that will better position small, minority- and women-owned businesses to compete for state or federal government contracts. The AACCNJ was selected following a competitive Request for Proposal (RFP) process, which was the result of P.L. 2016, c.84.
“The ability to get bonded and access financing is a prerequisite for contractors to successfully bid on state and federal projects. This program will help small, minority- and women-owned businesses develop this capacity and expand opportunities for more firms to participate in economic development projects,” said Tim Sullivan, EDA Chief Executive Officer. “We look forward to working with the AACCNJ to advance a program that will help to level the playing field for small businesses and support Governor Murphy’s vision for a stronger and fairer economy.”
Under the Small Business Bonding Readiness Assistance Program, eligible companies will participate in a training course designed to increase bonding knowledge and capacity, with a focus on the construction and development industries. Tuition grants will cover the cost of the training for small businesses selected to participate.
“We are pleased to be partnering with the EDA to bring this important program to New Jersey,” said John Harmon, Founder, President and CEO of the AACCNJ. “Our goal is to remove the barriers to economic opportunity that small, minority- and women-owned businesses have faced and develop a qualified and diverse pool of firms that are able to effectively compete for government contracts. This is the beginning of a transformational process to improve the competitiveness of our state.”
The program will kick off with a series of publicly available educational outreach events throughout the state to provide an overview of how surety bonding works and engage potential applicants. If a business is accepted into the program, they will participate in workshops and strategic counseling sessions spanning several key areas, including: bonding and insurance, business development, financial presentation, construction and contract law, construction management, estimating, personal credit, and business credit.
The contract awarded to the AACCNJ is based on an operating budget of $250,000, as appropriated through the Appropriations Act of Fiscal Year 2018, P.L. 2017, c.99. The contract provides for an initial term of two years.
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