The New Jersey Economic Development Authority board approved two contracts May 11, one with the African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey (AACCNJ) and one with the Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (SHCCNJ) to administer the Small Business Bonding Readiness Assistance Program.
The initiative, which launched in 2018, provides small businesses with training and surety bonding education through a series of workshops and strategic counseling sessions.
Over the last four years, 105 business owners have graduated from the program. Of those, 50 have qualified for a total of $40 million in government contracts.
The new approved funding will provide up to $250,000 to both the AACCNJ and the SHCCNJ to conduct a series of courses to enhance business practices in a number of subject areas. The goal is to better position small businesses to qualify for surety bonding, and subsequently, more competitively bid on public works projects or perform contracts offered by state and federal government.
“Small businesses are the driving force of New Jersey’s economy, and under Gov. [Phil] Murphy’s leadership, we have prioritized connecting businesses with the resources they need to persevere, grow, and thrive,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. “The Small Business Bonding Readiness Assistance Program is a testament to New Jersey’s commitment to ensuring that all businesses, especially minority and women-owned businesses, have access to the tools necessary to remove barriers to entry while bidding on government contracts.”
“We are pleased to continue our partnership with the NJEDA and the Murphy Administration in their collective commitment to leveraging the ideals and resources provided through the AACCNJ to strengthen underperforming sectors of New Jersey’s economy,” said AACNJ Founder, President and CEO John Harmon Sr. “As small businesses continue to drive our state’s post-COVID economic recovery, providing resources and information to Black-owned, women-owned, and minority-owned small businesses has never been more important. Through the Small Business Bonding Readiness Assistance Program, New Jersey is ensuring all small businesses can compete in the state and federal contracting process in a more equitable and inclusive manner.”
“Empowering small businesses to participate in the surety bonding process is an essential step in removing barriers to entry for minority and women-owned businesses that want to obtain state and federal contracts,” said SHCCNJ President and CEO Carlos Medina. “The Small Business Bonding Readiness Program is a tremendous asset for small business owners who are looking to succeed in today’s ever-changing economy.”
The AACCNJ and SHCCNJ were selected based on proposals submitted in response to a Request for Proposals from qualified nonprofit business advocacy membership associations with demonstrated prior experience in contracting with other governmental or public entities to administer surety bonding support services.
The AACCNJ and the SHCCNJ are each expected to graduate at least 60 small businesses from the program each year.