Twenty-three New Jersey businesses have now qualified for a combined $11.5 million to help them obtain public contracts, the state announced on July 13.
The Small Business Bonding Readiness Assistance Program was first rolled out in 2018 as a joint venture between the New Jersey Economic Development Authority and the African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey.
The program’s goal is to help “small business owners compete for city, county, and state contracts and expand their portfolios of projects,” with an eye on smaller employers, and women and minority-owned businesses, the NJEDA said.
As part of the readiness programs, business owners take part in workshops, classes and business counseling sessions that cover bonding and insurance, business development, financial presentation, construction and contract law, construction management, estimating and credit.
“Empowering businesses owned by blacks, women and people of color to vie for state and federal contracts is key to reopening our post-COVID economy in an equitable and inclusive manner,” reads a prepared statement from John Harmon, the chief executive officer and founding president of the AACCNJ.
State officials estimate that 91 employers have taken part in the program, of which 46 have qualified for more than $33 million in surety bonds.
Tim Sullivan, who heads the NJEDA, said the program will help those business owners “remove the obstacles that once would have kept them from bidding on state and federal contracts.”