News & Events


SBA Update: Is Your Small Business “EMV Chip” Ready? Deadline is Oct. 1, 2015

SBA EMV DeadlineU.S. Small Business Administration:  Information About the Migration to EMV Chip Card Technology and Your Small Business

U.S. credit card companies are making the transition from magnetic stripe technology to cards with chips. Chip cards are payment cards that have an embedded chip, offering increased security when your customers use the chip to pay in store.

Chip cards are based on a global card payment standard called Europay, MasterCard and Visa (EMV), currently used in more than 80 countries around the world. The United States is now in the process of making the migration to EMV technology.

In an effort to reduce fraud, EMV Chips are becoming the standard for integrated circuit cards (IC cards), IC card capable point-of-sale terminals, and automated teller machines. Chip card transactions offer advanced security for in-store payments by making every transaction unique. Chip cards are also much harder to counterfeit or copy. If the card data and one-time card are stolen, the information cannot be used to create counterfeit cards and commit fraud.

For merchants and financial institutions, the switch to EMV means adding new in-store technology and internal processing systems. To get chip-enabled for your business, contact your acquirer or payment services provider.

The switch to EMV also means a change in liability for credit card fraud. Today, if an in-store transaction is conducted using a counterfeit, stolen or otherwise compromised card, consumer losses from that transaction generally fall back on the payment processor or issuing bank, depending on the card’s terms and conditions.

Beginning on October 1, 2015, a deadline set major U.S. credit card issuers including MasterCard, Visa, Discover and American Express, the liability for card-present fraud will shift to whichever party is the least EMV-compliant in certain fraudulent transactions.

The SBA is committed to making sure small business owners understand what this transition means for you, your business, and your customers through webinars, online resources, and in-person events.

Click here for more information from the SBA and the listing of Webinar Presentations on the EMV process and deadline. 

September 28th, 2015|Categories: All|

“List Your Business on Google, Bing & Yahoo” – Free Class Oct. 5 and Nov. 4

Getting found in the search engines is critical for your business.  This hands-on workshop is intended for small business owners with stores or offices that customers come to. We’ll show you how to create your local business listing on Google, Bing and Yahoo.

Prerequisite:  You must have an active G-Mail account.

“List Your Business on Google, Bing & Yahoo” 

Dates:   Mon., Oct. 5  & Wed., Nov. 4

Time:  6 p.m. – 8 pm.


Small Business Development Center (SBDC)


14 Vogt Drive, Bridgewater, NJ  08807

Cost:  Free


Email your name, mailing address and phone number to

or call: 908-526-1200, ext. 8516.

Seating is limited. Please RSVP early so you don’t miss out!

September 28th, 2015|Categories: All|

“Grow Your Business With Google” Free Presentation: Wed., Sept. 30, at RVCC

Grow Your Business With GoogleThere’s no avoiding it – your business needs to be found online. Ignoring it doesn’t help; and sifting through all the confusing and conflicting advice isn’t easy.

Here’s an opportunity to help you get on track.  Join us for a live streaming presentation:

“Grow Your Business With Google”

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015

11:45 am to 1:30 pm

Grand Conference Room C

Raritan Valley Community College

Main Campus: 118 Lamington Road, Branchburg, NJ 08876

Free! Pre-registration required:

Email your name, mailing address and phone number to

or call: 908-526-1200, ext. 8516.

Learn effective ways grow your business and get ahead of your competition — straight from Google experts.

We’ll provide refreshments — all we need is you!  Seating is limited. Please RSVP early so you don’t miss out!


America’s Small Business Development Center
Raritan Valley Community College
Reinhart Marketing Group
September 25th, 2015|Categories: All|

Veterans Entrepreneurship Act of 2015 Waives Loan Fee

The Veterans Entrepreneurship Act, passed in July 2015, waives the upfront guarantee fee  which is normally required for a Small Business Administration 7(a) express loan, for veterans or their spouses. It applies to loans made on or after Oct. 1, 2015.

Veterans Entrepreneurship Act of 2015

(Sec. 2) Amends the Small Business Act to prohibit the Small Business Administration (SBA) from collecting a guarantee fee in connection with a loan made under the SBA Express Program  (  to a veteran or the spouse of a veteran on or after October 1, 2015, except during any upcoming fiscal year for which the President’s budget, submitted to Congress, includes a cost for the Program that is above zero.

(Sec. 3) Requires the SBA to assess for Congress the level of outreach to and consultation with female veterans regarding access to capital by women’s business centers and Veterans Business Outreach Centers.

(Sec. 4) Amends the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015 to increase the limit from $18.75 billion to $23.5 billion for FY2015 commitments for general business loans for a combination of amortizing term loans and the aggregated maximum line of credit provided by revolving loans.

Amends the Small Business Act to prohibit the SBA, starting October 1, 2015, from guaranteeing a loan if:

the lender determines that the borrower is unable to obtain credit elsewhere solely because the lender’s liquidity depends upon the guaranteed portion of the loan being sold on the secondary market, or

  • the sole purpose for requesting the guarantee is to allow the lender to exceed its legal lending limit.

For more information:


September 3rd, 2015|Categories: All|Tags: , |

SBDC@RVCC Client Launches New Music Instruction Book

Brandon K BookLongtime SBDC client Brandon Kurzawa has authored a new book, “Learn Today, Play Tomorrow.” Kurzawa is the founder and director of the award-winning music school Music Notes Academy, which offers private music instruction within a comprehensive music curriculum at its East Brunswick Academy. Music Notes Academy will open a second location in July 2015, at the Whitehouse Preparatory School, Rt. 22, Whitehouse, New Jersey.

The new book, says Kurzawa, is “a music lesson assignment book for comprehensive instruction,” designed to help students, music teachers and schools stay organized and progressing with their music education. It includes practicing guides, lesson assignment pages, helpful charts, checklists, guidelines and tips, music dictionaries, vocal warm-ups and more.

For information on Music Notes Academy, located at 573 Cranbury Road, Suite A3 East Brunswick, NJ 08816, visit their website at

Kurzawa has worked with the SBDC @ RVCC since 2005, when he began meeting with the counselors at the center in preparation for starting his business. He was recognized for his success with Music Notes Academy when he was presented with the NJSBDC Success Award in 2012.   Read more here:


June 9th, 2015|Categories: All|

SBA Office of Advocacy Issues Brief on Crowdfunding

SBA Office of Advocacy logo

The Office of Advocacy has released a new issue brief, Equity-based Crowdfunding: Potential Implications for Small Business Capital. Many small businesses are utilizing crowdfunding as an alternative form of funding, but one method of crowdfunding remains untapped in the United States: equity-based crowdfunding. This issue brief explores this new funding option, how it could unlock additional capital and how it works in other countries.

While only 5 percent of all crowdfunding globally is equity-based, a new regulation being promulgated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) may shift this trend. Equity-based crowdfunding was created under Title III of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act (2012), and the rule is still being written by the SEC to expand the ability for entrepreneurs to sell equity to prospective investors online. Until the SEC issues the final rule, equity-based crowdfunding for the vast majority of Americans remains off-limits.

This issue brief examines the potential benefits equity-based crowdfunding could offer small businesses that have trouble obtaining capital through conventional means while looking at two case studies of equity-based crowdfunding platforms operating in Germany and England.

The issue brief is available on Advocacy’s website at

April 16th, 2015|Categories: All|

SBA Webinars for Small Business Owners: Affordable Care Act

SBA Webinars: Affordable Care Act

SBA Webinars: Affordable Care Act

Affordable Care Act 101 Webinars

SBA and Small Business Majority will host free Affordable Care Act 101 webinars so small business owners can learn the basics of the Affordable Care Act and how they can enroll in health insurance marketplaces. Join us every other Thursday at 2 PM ET.


April 14th, 2015|Categories: All|

Counseling Is Often More Valuable Than a Small-Business Loan

The following article appeared online in The Wall Street Journal  on July 7, 2014

Borrowing may not be the best way to solve financial woes.


The head of the U.S. Small Business Administration, Maria Contreras-Sweet, made a bold statement this week in an interview regarding the state of small-business lending and the SBA’s role in aiding small businesses. Ms. Contreras-Sweet said “the counseling is almost more important than the lending.”

What she is referring to is something I encounter on a regular basis as well. Small-business owners often believe that loans are a remedy for nearly all business problems. However, a loan isn’t always the best answer. In fact, it can oftentimes worsen the problems small-business owners are facing by putting them even deeper into debt when that may be unnecessary.

By acknowledging the fact that many small-business owners use loans as a crutch or a Band Aid for lingering business problems, Ms. Contreras-Sweet is taking a definitive step toward helping small businesses across the country grow responsibly and with purpose. As a co-founder of a bank servicing small businesses, she knows firsthand how many discussions with business owners seeking financing progress.

When small-business owners call my loan-brokerage firm seeking capital, the first thing that we ask is why they need the money. You’d be surprised that most can’t directly answer this question. From our experience, many get in a tough spot financially and think that they need a loan to fix their problems instead of looking at the true root of the problem.

A few months ago, I spoke to an owner who was in a cash crisis. He thought that he needed a large loan in order to pull his business out of a deep financial hole. When I asked him what the problem with the business was, he said that he thought it had something to do with his marketing and low conversion rate.

I counseled him to put his focus into his company’s marketing endeavors to improve sales conversions instead of taking out a large loan that would only increase financial stress on the company in the long run due to monthly payments and interest rates.

By talking with business owners about the roots of their problems and how they can possibly solve these—without taking a loan—Ms. Contreras-Sweet and others from the lending industry are doing a great service. The need for quality mentoring is just as vital as the need for faster bank-loan processing, or the need for more transparency in the alternative-lending space.

About the Author:   Ami Kassar founded MultiFunding LLC, based near Philadelphia, which helps small businesses around the country find sources of financing. (MultiFunding at times accepts fees from lenders that agree to make loans.)



March 2nd, 2015|Categories: All|

Requirements for Issuing 1099s

The following, from Gail Rosen, CPA, PC in her Jan. 2015 newsletter contains important Information for small business owners about the requirements for issuing 1099s for all 2014 payments to unincorporated individuals and businesses of $600 or more (rents, services, prizes, attorney fees, etc):

Federal & state taxing authorities increasingly focus their attention in this area, imposing penalties which otherwise might be avoided.

We strongly encourage you to consider the following:

  • First, you need to determine if you have a trade or business. If you are operating to make a gain or profit, you have a trade or business. If you run a nonprofit organization, a government agency, or a trust of a qualified pension or profit-sharing employer plan, such are considered trades or businesses for 1099 purposes. The IRS made significant changes to the form 1099-MISC reporting requirements and expanded the types of payees and payments applicable. While the IRS might have previously abated the steep penalties, we’re advised such may not be the case in the future.
  • Thoroughly review all disbursements made from January 1, 2014 through December 31, 2014, summarizing all payments to unincorporated individuals and businesses where accumulated total is $600 or more. You should make sure that you have the correct name, employer identification or social security number and address. If you’re unable to confirm if a particular establishment is a corporation or not, issuing a 1099 might be a wise precaution.
  • Beyond having to possibly subject yourself to the government auditor, if you fail to file a correct information return timely, you fail to include all information required to be on a return or you include incorrect information on a return, you can be subjected to an array of steep penalties if you cannot show reasonable cause. If the payee fails to furnish his or her taxpayer identification number (TIN), they are subject to backup withholding at a 28% rate. If you do not collect and pay backup withholding from affected payees as required, you may become liable for any uncollected amount. A good policy is to request every vendor to complete and provide a W-9 before you pay them.
  • Firms maintaining trust or escrow accounts need to review these disbursements as well. Payments frequently overlooked, where 1099s should be issued, include payments out of these trust accounts as well as disbursements for interest, rentals, contracted services (other than for employees), part-timers where W-2s are not required or issued, commissions, individuals performing plant maintenance or cleaning services, etc. 1099s are required for individuals, partnerships, an LLC, etc. Do not think that just because a payment is made to a “company”, that it is a corporation.
  • Payments to attorneys for legal fees that amount to $600 or more should be reported in box 7 of form 1099-misc. even if the attorney is incorporated. Report in box 14 of that form payments or gross proceeds paid to an attorney, such as in a settlement agreement, unless the attorney’s fees are reportable by you in box 7. The exemption for payments to corporations does not apply to payments for legal services.
    Many clients have followed our suggestion having 1099s prepared by in-house staff or payroll service bureaus to keep professional fees at a minimum. Regardless, it is incumbent upon such firms to make sure that they still have someone review all 2014 expenditures since we’ve seen all too many types of payments go undetected.

Gail Rosen, CPA, PC
2032 Washington Valley Rd.
Martinsville, NJ 08836

January 16th, 2015|Categories: All|

Healthy Balance 2014 Success Award Winner

Jane Bowers, owner of Healthy Balance

Jane Bowers, owner of Healthy Balance

Jane Bowers
Healthy Balance
1239 US Highway 22 East
Lebanon, NJ 08833

While growing up in rural Hunterdon County, Jane Bowers of Healthy Balance loved being outside identifying plants but often suffered from allergies and other sinus ailments. In high school, her Biology teachers encouraged her to experiment by microscopically studying the effects of natural supplements added to single-cell organisms, and referred her to references on herbal therapeutics – a field Bowers has extensively researched and studied under regional experts such as David Winston of the Herbal Therapeutics’ School of Botanical Medicine.

In 1980 Jane opened up her first health food and supplement store, Good Food Grocer, in Clinton, NJ. In 1990 she sold the store and committed herself to other personal projects. By 1995, she decided it was time to return to the retail trade she enjoyed so much. She became manager of a fledgling retail store which opened in March of the previous year. She purchased that store, Balance Health, in Lebanon, NJ in 2007 and changed the name to Healthy Balance.

Healthy Balance specializes in gluten-free foods, herbs, and a vast inventory of supplements that support your “healthy balance.” Bowers tells Healthy Balance customers, “We have an ‘Intel chip’ in our body that allows us to read and understand natural data (herbs and natural compounds).” She believes the point of using herbal therapeutics is to help a person find wellness naturally rather than by being treated for individual symptoms with artificial substances.

In August 2011 Bowers’ office manager was experiencing problems with Quickbooks which created a posting backlog and hampered her ability to calculate cash flow. The NJ Small Business Development Center (NJSBDC) at Raritan Valley Community College (RVCC) assigned Quickbooks Pro-Advisor counselor, Linda Dousis, to address these concerns. After several productive sessions Dousis put Healthy Balance back on the right path. When her office manager left in January of 2012, Ms. Bowers requested assistance from the SBDC to evaluate accounting methodology and procedures for her business.

Bill Harnden, NJSBDC at RVCC Regional Director, conducted an assessment and laid out a strategic accounting procedural plan for her. Bowers also wanted to improve her social media marketing. NJSBDC counselors Maria Semple and Roland Reinhart were assigned to train her on Constant Contact, Google AdWords, LinkedIn and advertising on Facebook.

In 2014 Bowers saw the need to move Healthy Balance to new premises free of the structural and ground maintenance issues, parking limitations, and other liabilities that had plagued its original location. The move has had a positive effect on Healthy Balance’s operating margin, an edge Harnden assists Bowers in keeping by going over her profit-and-loss numbers on a regular basis.

Bowers continually strives to maintain the success of Healthy Balance by keeping a tight inventory, cutting costs wherever she can, and always offering excellent service, attention to detail, and good information to Healthy Balance customers. This holistic approach to her business operations, along with her utilization of the resources offered by the SBDC@RVCC, has resulted in a 6% increase in annual sales and 9% increase in annual net profit.

December 10th, 2014|Categories: All, Awards|