August 1, 2022

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County reauthorizes Bergen Business Resource Network partnership and announces new small business grant program


ABOVE: County officials with BCC student facilitators for the Bergen Business Resource Network at a recent Bergen County Economic Development Forum in Hackensack

HACKENSACK, New Jersey – On Tuesday, July 26, Bergen County Executive Jim Tedesco announced two new measures to provide additional support to small businesses in an effort to combat inflation and further strengthen the county’s strong economic position.

In announcing these two measures, Bergen County Executive Jim Tedesco said, “In Bergen County, small businesses are the heart of our economy and community. My administration remains committed to doing everything in its power to help the backbone of our economy not only maintain its economic position, but experience new growth so that it can truly thrive in the 21St economy of the century.”

The first measure would reauthorize a new round of $235,000 in funding to Bergen Community College to continue an initiative that provides free consulting and real-time data services to small businesses as part of the Bergen Business Resource Network. The program offers Bergen Community College students real-world business experience by serving as the first point of contact for small businesses seeking assistance. Tasks include helping business owners with a data tool known as “SizeUp” that breaks down how a business compares to the competition within a specific industry and directing business owners to various network partners, including the Small Business Development Center at Ramapo College, SCORE, NJEDA, etc. Students also provide support for social media and web services while helping to connect business owners with free consultants through Bergen Business Resource Network partners during consultations. To date, the program has helped over 200 businesses.

Speaking of the success of the partnership, Bergen Community College President Dr. Eric Friedman said, “I am grateful that our Bergen County government partners have embraced the opportunity to collaborate on economic development work. This program represents a living, breathing example of the importance of the partnership between education and government for the betterment of society and the workforce. I am especially proud of our students who are using what they have learned to make a demonstrated impact in the communities we live in and make a positive impact on businesses in our county. The county’s continued support – both through advocacy and grants – has helped make the college a firing engine for economic development in Bergen County.”

Tedesco also announced the county will launch a new small business grant program in early September. Under this new program, the county will provide $2.5 million to local small businesses with priority given to businesses registered with the state as women-owned businesses, minority-owned businesses, veteran-owned small businesses, and small business-owned by disabled veterans. Qualifying individual businesses will be eligible for up to $2,500 per applicant. Further details are expected to be announced in late August.

Tedesco unveiled both measures at a recent Bergen County Economic Development Forum to recognize the success stories of the 2020 CARES Small Business Grant Program in Bergen County and the first group of Bergen Community College students who served as facilitators for the Bergen Business Resource Network. These two announcements build on significant actions already taken by the county’s economic development team over the past two years to reduce the financial impact of the pandemic and further increase opportunities for overall economic growth in Bergen County. In 2020, the county launched several phases of the Bergen County CARES Small Business Grant Program, providing relief to businesses with 30 employees or fewer by allowing them to apply for financing to cover rent, property mortgages and expenses for utilities. During the program, $55.6 million was distributed to nearly 4,000 businesses in Bergen County employing nearly 80,000 people. Then earlier this summer, the county unveiled the Bergen County Economic Sustainability Advisory Committee, bringing together industry leaders to identify options, alternatives and recommendations to maintain our county’s economic strength and build on it for sustainable growth.

“The engine of our local economy is the more than 47,000 small businesses that call Bergen County home,” said commissioner chairman Tracy Suhr. “Both measures will provide free critical assistance to help these businesses thrive and expand, open the door for start-ups and attract businesses from outside of Bergen County.” I applaud the County Executive for continuing to find ways to make Bergen County a great place to live, work and raise a family.”

Both new programs will be funded using funds from the federal Save the USA Act.


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