(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Troy Singleton (D-Burlington) to help spur the creation of small businesses and empower individuals with the tools to become self-sustaining entrepreneurs was released Thursday by an Assembly panel.
The bill (A-3333) would provide assistance for certain individuals who own or are starting a microenterprise business. A microenterprise is a commercial enterprise that has five or fewer employees, one or more of whom owns the enterprise.
“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.”
According to a report from the Corporation for Enterprise Development, very small businesses or microenterprises represent more than 80 percent of all businesses in the country, and are a key job creation strategy in communities with weak job prospects. But many of these business owners lack the resources needed to successfully start and grown their businesses. The Aspen Institute estimates that there are 20 million Americans who operate microenterprises, and that at least half of these micro-entrepreneurs face disadvantages in establishing and operating their own businesses, including women, minorities, low-income individuals, and people with disabilities.
The bill would amend 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 bill would also clarify that individuals seeking to embark upon microenterprise self-employment ventures will be counseled by qualified business counselors rather than qualified job counselors.
Under the bill, the Department of Community Affairs must give emphasis to certain business entity project applications cited in the bill seeking Neighborhood Tax Credit Program eligibility. A business entity is eligible for a tax credit certificate under the program if it provides funding for a department-approved project.
The bill was approved by the Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee.