Assembly Democratic Legislation to Spur Creation of Small Businesses Continues Advancing in Assembly

Specifically, the bill (A-953) would provide funding, training and assistance to help support "microenterprises," which are commercial enterprises that have five or fewer employees, one or more of whom owns the business.

"Roughly nine out of 10 businesses in the U.S. are microbusinesses these days, making it critical that we invest in this sector in order to boost our lagging economy," said Singleton (D-Burlington). "Not only will this spur job creation, it will also empower individuals to invest in their communities and help spark wholesale revitalizations."

"Roughly 88 percent of all businesses in New Jersey are microbusinesses," said Eustace (D-Bergen/Passaic), a chiropractor with his own practice in Maywood. "As a microbusiness owner myself, I know how daunting venturing out on your own can be, especially when it comes to securing loans and start-up capital, which is not always easy. If we want to make sure we get our residents back to work, we need to invest in our budding entrepreneurs."

Under the bill, the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) would be required to allocate at least $500,000 per year of federal Community Development Block Grant (CBDG) funds to eligible small cities and counties for the purpose of providing microenterprise grants and loans to individuals who are developing or own a microenterprise.

DCA would be required to establish a program for the selection of non-profit community organizations as qualified microenterprise grant and loan program administrators, based upon specified factors.

"New Jersey has been lagging behind neighboring states and the U.S. as a whole when it comes to our recovery from the recession," said Mosquera (D-Camden/Gloucester). "Microenterprises have the potential to generate jobs and get our residents working again and we can't ignore that fact. We need to capitalize on it."

"Microentrepreneurs have the potential to be the engine of economic recovery and job creation in New Jersey," said Sumter (D-Bergen/Passaic). "But this requires a commitment on our part, as a state, to ensure that our residents have the tools to flourish as business owners."

Additionally, the bill would allow recipients under the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program to meet the work requirement of the program through either microenterprise training or self-employment.

"As many middle class residents continue to struggle in the current economy, it's important to note that business owners have a median net worth more than twice that of non-business owners," said Benson (D-Mercer/Middlesex). "If we want to grow the middle class, it's critical that we find new ways, such as this, to invest in our small businesses and improve our quality of life for future generations."

"Statistics show that women- and minority-owned businesses generate significantly less revenue than other businesses as a whole," said Quijano (D-Union). "This may be due, in part, to the fact that it's often harder for these populations to obtain loans or start-up capital. As a state, if we want to empower our communities, the best thing we can do is invest in their potential."

"According to the Association for Enterprise Opportunity, if just one in three microbusinesses hired one additional employee, the U.S. would be at full employment," said Wimberly (D-Bergen/Passaic). "That's a powerful statistic that illustrates the potential this sector has to revitalize our ailing economy and put New Jerseyans back to work and we should be capitalizing on that."

The bill also amends the counseling requirements to be offered at One Stop Career Centers to include an evaluation of an individual's ability to engage in self-employment training, information about self-employment training opportunities, and information about the success of past participants in such training.

The Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee approved the bill in January.

[Original article]