Microenterprise business bill advanced by Assembly panel

A bill that aims to offer greater assistance to the owners of microenterprises, businesses with five or fewer employees, was advanced earlier this month by the Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee.

Sponsored by Assemblyman Troy Singleton (D-Mount Laurel), the measure would mandate that the Department of Community Affairs give emphasis to qualified business applications seeking eligibility under the Neighborhood Tax Credit Program. It would also adjust counseling requirements at career centers to include additional resources such as an evaluation of a one’s ability to participate in self-employment training, as well as require that counseling be provided by qualified business counselors, as opposed to qualified job counselors.

"The majority of businesses in this country are microbusinesses, making it critical that we invest in this sector in order to boost our lagging economy," said Singleton. "We have to ensure that individuals interested in opening a microbusiness, or who already own one, have the proper tools and support to succeed. Not only will this spur job creation, it will also empower individuals to invest in their communities, which can spark revitalization in communities that have languished for too long."

In their support for the measure, Democrats referenced a report from the Corporation for Enterprise Development, which found that microenterprises account for more than 80 percent of all businesses across the country and that at least half of the 20 million American micro-entrepreneurs face some sort of disadvantage in starting and operating their businesses.

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