Aiming to help promising small businesses grow and thrive in New Jersey, legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Joann Downey, Eric Houghtaling and Carol Murphy creating an Economic Gardening Program was advanced by the Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee on Monday.
The bill (A-996) would establish an “Economic Gardening Program” in New Jersey to support small businesses by connecting them with resources that can turn into profitable action. It comes at a time when businesses throughout the state are struggling to stay open due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Small businesses are, and always have been, the lifeblood of communities throughout the state,” said Assemblywoman Downey (D-Monmouth). “When small businesses succeed, the entire community succeeds. No one wants to see entrepreneurs who have worked hard to build their business and support their community go under because of these unprecedented times. Taking action to bolster New Jersey businesses will help our entire state.”
Under the Department of State, the Economic Gardening Program would provide businesses with market research, qualified sales leads, advice on improving visibility and credibility, and other helpful information. The measure would allow the state’s Business Action Center to partner with business assistance organizations to provide customized services to help small businesses grow.
“New Jersey’s small business owners embody the spirit of hard work and perseverance that makes our state great,” said Assemblyman Houghtaling (D-Monmouth). “By equipping small businesses with the tools they need to succeed, our state can ensure they stay and prosper here long into the future.”
“We cannot leave our small businesses behind at a time when so many are struggling to stay afloat due to the immense challenges of this pandemic,” said Assemblywoman Murphy (D-Burlington). “Supporting these companies by providing business leads and expert advice will give them a fighting chance to keep serving and enriching our communities.”
The bill would require the Business Action Center to annually report to the Governor and Legislature on the program.
The measure now heads to the Assembly Speaker for further consideration.