TRENTON, NJ – Legislation by Assemblywomen Shavonda Sumter (D-Bergen/Passaic) and Annette Chaparro (D-Hudson) to help connect New Jersey’s small business with opportunities offered by federal, state and local government agencies took an important step forward Wednesday through a vote of support by the Assembly Community Affairs and Development Committee.

Under the proposal (A-5243), New Jersey’s State Business Action Center (BAC) would to collaborate with the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) to establish the “Biannual Business Matchmaker Initiative,” where the BAC is to host a biannual business matchmaking event with the purpose of connecting eligible small businesses with representatives of federal, State, and local government agencies for access to subcontracting prospects.

“These challenging times call for us to do more to support small businesses and their growth in the coming years,” Sumter said. “Small businesses are the backbone of our communities; and we rely on them as much as they rely on us to help rebuild and stabilize our local economies.” 

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Chaparro said she was proud to support the legislation in an effort to bring state, federal and local agencies, as well as a diverse group of business leaders, together because “business leaders in my district and across New Jersey are telling us that they need our help to survive this pandemic and keep so many New Jerseyans employed.”

Her hope, she added, is that “small businesses are not caught up in red tape and that they get the answers and assistance they need.”

“Businesses across New Jersey have done their part and implemented safety regulations which I know has hurt their bottom line, and this is to no fault of their own. Now we need to make sure they have access to the tools and resources to bounce back.”

Pointing to a similar program started 10 years ago in Ohio, Sumter said that “Business matchmaker programs have been successful in other states around the country. Small business owners with aspirations to grow their businesses need access and a conduit to these important connections in various government agencies.”

“A program like this one will be especially crucial as we begin to rebuild Main Street, small business communities and local economies post-pandemic.”

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