The New Jersey Small Business Development Centers (NJSBDC) network, composed of 12 regional centers, has been serving on the front lines in all of the state’s 21 counties during the COVID-19 health and public safety crisis.
NJSBDC’s mission is to provide assistance to small businesses of varying growth stages, revenue ranges, and industry sectors. The network’s volume of calls has increased substantially over the past few weeks as business closures and layoffs, due to decreased business revenues, have ensued.
Small businesses are desperate for help during this early economic downturn due to the effects of the coronavirus and our experienced regional center directors and business advisors are providing the necessary resources to respond to their needs.
Vincent Vicari, the regional center director for Bergen County located at Ramapo College of New Jersey, provides insights concerning the help that the centers provide. Bergen is one of the hardest-hit counties by the COVID-19 crisis. “Small businesses need a lot of counseling, especially with loan and grant applications right now,” Vicari stated. “The phones are ringing off the hook and our Center helps assess each small business case to provide the best solutions for financing and other turnaround strategies at this time.”
The NJSBDC network has been serving small businesses for 42 years and is part of a national network of SBDCs. The national network provides up to 1 million entrepreneurs and small businesses with one-on-one management consulting, training, and additional technical assistance each year.
The national network of SBDCs has a strong track record as first responders in national disaster recoveries. Thousands of small businesses were re-booted during the Hurricane Sandy disaster due to the comprehensive assistance provided by NJSBDC and other SBDCs around the nation.
“While we typically focus on helping New Jersey small business grow,” said Leon Fraser, NJSBDC Interim Chief Executive Officer /State Director, “Our mission now in this national crisis is Response, Recovery, and Resilience.”
As one of the key resource partners of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), SBDC experts are assisting small business owners in applying for various SBA disaster assistance
financing as a result of economic injury from this crisis. The program is also providing support (upon request) to state agencies like the New Jersey Business Action Center (BAC) and the NJ
Economic Development Authority (NJEDA).
“Our state partners, legislators, and Governor’s Office were informed about the swell of business inquiries,” stated Chief Operating Officer/Associate State Director Deborah Smarth. “We see the
human toll as a result of this crisis and we’re assisting the best we can.”
Twelve regional SBDCs (centers) are located throughout the state and are working closely with small businesses seeking their assistance.
Of NJSBDC’s clients, 60% are established businesses in different stages of growth and business life cycles. On average, the NJSBDC counsels up to 5,000 businesses annually; and
sponsors up to 500-plus seminars around the state at which 8,000 or more small business trainees participate.
The National Association of Small Business Development Centers, America’s SBDC, located in Burke, VA continually informs the 50 state SBDCs with updated developments to ensure the
comprehensive marshalling of SBDC manpower for disaster response and recovery efforts.
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