Legislation to help spur the creation of small businesses and empower individuals with the tools to become self-sustaining entrepreneurs was approved 37-0 Monday by the Senate, giving it final legislative approval. The bill (A-3333), sponsored by Mercer County’s Assemblywoman Liz Muoio (D), 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.
It was approved by the Assembly in November.
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, including women, minorities, low-income individuals and people with disabilities, face disadvantages in establishing and operating their own businesses.
“Small businesses create jobs that provide people with income, but they’re so much more than that. They’re the pathway to the sense of dignity that comes with putting in a hard day’s work. That’s what so many men and women in New Jersey want most,” said Muoio (D-Mercer/Hunterdon). “By helping launch more microenterprises in New Jersey, our state can play a role in empowering residents seeking quality employment opportunities.”
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 also would 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 goes to the governor.