Including Jersey City’s First Small Business Office, an Audit of the Permitting Process, and a “One Stop Shop” Online Small Business Resource Portal
More Than 450 Small Businesses Have Opened Across Jersey City Since Mayor Fulop Took Office; Package of Initiatives Will Build On Past Success
JERSEY CITY – Mayor Steven M. Fulop is announcing a package of three new initiatives to help support Jersey City’s growing small business community that include a “one stop shop” online portal for small businesses, an audit of the small business permitting and licensing process, and the creation of Jersey City’s first Office of Small Business. The new initiatives build upon the past successes to provide more resources and information and create a more user-friendly atmosphere for local entrepreneurs.
“Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy, adding texture and diversity to our communities and neighborhoods and providing jobs to local residents,” said Mayor Fulop. “The steps we are announcing today will build on our efforts to make small business development a focus of our city’s economic growth by making it easier than ever for aspiring business owners to join Jersey City’s thriving business community.”
The “One Stop Shop” online portal, which will launch later in the spring, will include a directory of business services and professional development opportunities in Jersey City, a list of Jersey City rules and regulations for operating a business, available funding opportunities for small businesses, as well as a business directory (searchable by location and by type) for networking opportunities.
The Fulop administration will also be creating Jersey City’s first Office of Small Business, housed within the Jersey City Economic Development Corporation (EDC), dedicating a single phone number and city staff member to talk to for guidance about anything related to small businesses. The hiring process is in progress for the Small Business Development Coordinator, the first position in this team. Anyone interested in applying should email email@example.com.
The administration is also conducting an audit of the permitting and licensing process for small businesses. The Office of Innovation has hired a consultant, Zucker Systems, to analyze the process flow for obtaining all licenses, permits, and approvals for small businesses. Objectives include understanding the current business licensing and permitting process, both as it is perceived by customers and the internal workflow and management; reducing processing times and improve efficiency; improving access to information and the overall customer experience; recommending short, medium and long term actions; and creating a comprehensive action plan to move permitting and licensing to an automated online system.
The permit review process is currently underway with findings and recommendations expected later this year and a new online and automated permitting tool to be in development shortly thereafter.
“The Jersey City Office of Innovation has invested a lot of time and energy to identify the challenges of opening and operating a small business and their efforts are paying off,” said David Diaz, District Manager, Central Avenue Special Improvement District, Corp. “Revamping the permitting and licensing process has been a long time coming and will be a big step to boosting small businesses citywide, encouraging new investment and creating local jobs. Making Jersey City business friendly is a major goal and streamlining the process will be a tremendous asset in growing the small business economy.”
Earlier this week, Mayor Fulop announced two new micro-loan programs to assist local entrepreneurs who wish to invest in their businesses or start a new one, especially in those areas most in need. The two new loan programs expand on the success of the Jersey City Fund, a $10 million fund which launched last September to provide small business loans from $25,000-$250,000, the City’s new programs help facilitate funding for qualified business owners needing smaller infusions of capital.
The initiatives announced this week are just the latest in a series of steps taken by the Fulop Administration to support local small businesses in Jersey City. From revamping the Buildings Department to expedite approvals to driving new development throughout the city with an innovative tax abatement policy, the Fulop Administration has made improving the business climate in Jersey City a top priority.
These efforts have had a large impact on the economic landscape. Since Mayor Fulop took office, more than 450 small businesses have opened shop in Jersey City. The small business growth has contributed to a net 6,333 new jobs created since July of 2013, as employment has dropped to an historic low of five percent.
ABOUT THE JERSEY CITY OFFICE OF INNOVATION:
The Jersey City Office of Innovation is a newly formed office in City Hall established by a $2.25 million Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Innovation Teams Grant awarded in 2014. The program aims to improve the capacity of city governments to effectively design and implement new approaches that improve citizens’ lives. The Office of Innovation has prioritized broad input and participation in the process in order to ensure all work reflects the needs and desires of the community. The Jersey City Office of Innovation is developing a portfolio of strategies to help revitalize commercial corridors in targeted, underserved neighborhoods throughout the City, with the overarching goal of reducing commercial vacancies within targeted neighborhoods by implementing initiatives designed to streamline the business permitting and licensing process, improve the neighborhood environments and streetscapes within these corridors, expand resources available to small businesses, amongst other objectives. For more information, visit: www.innovatejerseycity.org.