TRENTON – Senator Troy Singleton introduced a package of new legislation today which would support the development and growth of minority and women-owned businesses in New Jersey.
“As we rebuild the state’s economy following the economic devastation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, we must ensure that the recovery is inclusive of minority and women-owned businesses,” said Senator Singleton (D-Burlington). “These groups have largely been ignored, left behind, or have been left out of economic prosperity in the past, which is why we need to put policies in place that give these businesses a fighting chance to compete and thrive.”
The first bill would authorize the State Chief Diversity Officer to conduct a disparity study on the usage of minority and women-owned businesses in the procurement of goods and services for the New Jersey state government.
The second bill would establish the “Minority Business Development Program” in the EDA, as well as appropriate $50 million to the EDA from federal funds in order to develop and allow the program to function. The program would provide grant funding and technical assistance services to foster the development of minority businesses in New Jersey.
The third bill would establish the position of Minority Depository Institution Coordinator in EDA. The coordinator would collaborate with the EDA board and Chief Diversity Officer to identify and reduce any administrative barriers to the participation of minority-owned businesses in any EDA loan program.
The fourth bill would establish the “Rural Business Development Program” in the EDA to provide grant funding to develop rural businesses, as well as appropriate $35 million to EDA from federal funds to help fund the program.
The last bill would establish the “Biannual Small Business Matchmaker Initiative” in the Department of State. The initiative would serve as a networking opportunity to connect small businesses with representatives of federal, state and local government agencies. This would help small businesses potentially contract with those agencies.
The Senator noted that the introduction of these bills is timely, “not only because of the current civil rights and social justice movements sweeping the nation, but also because August is ‘National Black Business Month.'”