News & Events

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SBA Offers Helpful Blogs, Webinars, Events on Variety of Small Business Topics

 U.S. Small Business AdministrationVisit the Small Business Administration website at www.sba.gov for helpful information designed to assist entrepreneurs, including starting and managing a small business, loans, updates on federal guidelines and policies and more.   Resources include:   

Courses   

Take Your Business Global – An Introduction to Exporting

Take Bus Global logoThis course is intended to be a guide for small businesses to help determine if exporting, as a business strategy, makes sense and whether the basic ingredients for export readiness are in-place

Upcoming Webinars  

What the Healthcare Law Means for Your Small Business

Register | Thursday, July 21, 2016 | 2pm – 3pm ET

Find out how to navigate the opportunities in health care through the Affordable Care Act 101 webinar series. Registration is free, but required.

Unexpected Ways to Grow Your Blog Subscriber List

Register | Tuesday, July 26, 2016 | 2pm ET

How can we afford to write new content weekly? The internet is cluttered with advice on how to grow your blog subscriber list. In this webinar, you’ll learn how to optimize and automate your content marketing to save your team time while building a truly efficient and effective content creation engine.

Protecting Your Business Data in Todays Inter-Connected World

Register | Thursday, July 28, 2016 | 8:30am – 9:30am PST

The threat landscape in cyber-space keeps evolving. Cloud technologies are designed to continuously identify and mitigate risks, and can help small businesses leverage the best of breed security and privacy capabilities, while focusing on their core competencies. Join this webinar to learn more about how cybersecurity threats are evolving, what risks they pose, and best practices to protect your business information in the digital age.

Blogs

Email Marketing Basics for Small Business
Email marketing is just one of many ways to engage customers and ultimately lead them to purchase a product or service.

Helping Employees TaxWise Who Work from Home     

If your business has employees who work from home, understand the tax rules they face for claiming a home office deduction and what you can do to help them.

How to Immediately Become a More Credit Savvy Business Owner
Credit plays an important role in your personal and business life. It impacts your purchasing power, the interest rates you’ll pay, and the terms of repayment.

SBA Learning Center logo

For more small business training, tools, and local assistance information, visit the SBA Learning Center.

( https://www.sba.gov/tools/sba-learning-center/search/training)

 

 

July 18th, 2016|Categories: All|

NJStart Portal Streamlines New Jersey State Procurement, Bid Process

NJ StartThe State of New Jersey’s NJSTART eProcurement portal is designed to streamline the procurement process and make it more efficient for companies looking to do business with the State.

Suppliers can create their own vendor profiles through the portal, eliminating the need to file duplicate forms every time they submit a proposal for a new contract. NJSTART’s business interface also allows for the submission of electronic W-9s for the first time, and expands the quantity of electronic payments, enabling prompt payment.

To register, and for information, including a glossary, vendor reference guides and forms, help desk contacts and more, visit the NJSTART website at:  http://www.state.nj.us/treasury/purchase/njstart/vendor.shtml

In addition, the State’s Division of Purchase and Property has announced a Pilot Procurement Program of new solicitations to help introduce NJSTART.  To register, and view open bids, active contracts and registered vendors, visit:  https://www.njstart.gov/bso/

June 23rd, 2016|Categories: All|

U.S. Department of Labor Updates Overtime Guidelines

President Obama Signs Final Rule on Overtime(Excerpt from U.S. Department of Labor website article): 

“On May 18, 2016, President Obama and (U.S. Secretary of Labor) Perez announced the publication of the Department of Labor’s final rule updating the overtime regulations, which will automatically extend overtime pay protections to over 4 million workers within the first year of implementation. …

Key Provisions of the Final Rule

The Final Rule focuses primarily on updating the salary and compensation levels needed for Executive, Administrative and Professional workers to be exempt. Specifically, the Final Rule:

  1. Sets the standard salary level at the 40th percentile of earnings of full-time salaried workers in the lowest-wage Census Region, currently the South ($913 per week; $47,476 annually for a full-year worker);
  2. Sets the total annual compensation requirement for highly compensated employees (HCE) subject to a minimal duties test to the annual equivalent of the 90th percentile of full-time salaried workers nationally ($134,004); and
  3. Establishes a mechanism for automatically updating the salary and compensation levels every three years to maintain the levels at the above percentiles and to ensure that they continue to provide useful and effective tests for exemption.

Additionally, the Final Rule amends the salary basis test to allow employers to use nondiscretionary bonuses and incentive payments (including commissions) to satisfy up to 10 percent of the new standard salary level.

The effective date of the final rule is December 1, 2016. The initial increases to the standard salary level (from $455 to $913 per week) and HCE total annual compensation requirement (from $100,000 to $134,004 per year) will be effective on that date. Future automatic updates to those thresholds will occur every three years, beginning on January 1, 2020. … ”

For the entire article, and further details including webinars on the topic, please visit the United States Department of Labor website page at:   https://www.dol.gov/whd/overtime/final2016/

Additional articles about how the new update will affect businesses and employees include:    

June 3rd, 2016|Categories: All|

SBDC to Offer Sustainability Program to Small Business Owners

The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Raritan Valley Community College is partnering with New Jersey SBDC to help small businesses initiate or expand their “green” practices.

With assistance from a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency grant, established businesses will receive onsite sustainability evaluations, pollution prevention recommendations and resources for making improvements. Businesses who participate in this program will be recognized on the New Jersey Sustainable Business Registry for their efforts in adopting or increasing their sustainable practices.

Small business owners also may take advantage of no-cost consulting focused on sustainability practices for their company. Whether business owners are seeking basic information, help with the registry application, or a strategy to help them deal with an existing environmental concern, the NJSBDC can provide assistance from a counselor who is knowledgeable in all facets of sustainability, pollution prevention, toxics mitigation, and disaster preparedness.

For additional information, contact the SBDC@RVCC office at 908-526-1200, ext. 8516 or  sbdc@raritanval.edu. Office hours are Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Any messages or emails should include that business owners are seeking information about the NJ Sustainability program.

Raritan Valley Community College’s main campus is located at 118 Lamington Road in Branchburg, NJ. Serving Somerset and Hunterdon County residents for close to 50 years, RVCC is an educational and cultural center that is nationally recognized for its innovative programming, service to the community and environmental leadership. The College offers more than 90 associate degrees and certificates, as well as career training, professional development and personal enrichment courses. The College also has a performing arts center and planetarium.

RVCC is committed to offering a quality and affordable education through effective teaching, liaisons with the community’s businesses and state-of-the-art technology. For further information, visit www.raritanval.edu.

 

January 12th, 2016|Categories: All|

PuroClean Disaster Response – 2015 Success Award Winner

Puroclean Logo

Sandra White

PuroClean Disaster Response

432 Lincoln Blvd

Middlesex, NJ 08846

Pictured L to R; Bill Harnden, SBDC Regional Director, Sandra White, President & Rick Sobczak, Vice Pres., Sales

Pictured L to R: Bill Harnden – SBDC Regional Director; Sandra White – President & Rick Sobczak – Vice President, PuroClean Disaster Response

In 2008 Sandra White and her husband, PuroClean Vice President Richard Sobczak, decided it was time to make a change in their careers, so they began to research franchises.  They contacted Bob Johnson at FranNet, who introduced them to the PuroClean franchise.  White and Sobczak felt it was a good match because of their history of buying, cleaning up, and selling a number of houses with mold and other problems.

The disciplines of White’s education as a geophysicist provided her with “a deep understanding of the science behind water migration and drying as well as the detailed remediation” needed to clean buildings damaged by a disaster.  White also holds a number of Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) industry certifications.  The IICRC is the leading independent non-profit certification and standard-setting body within the cleaning, inspection, and restoration industry. She is registered and approved by the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance, a designation she has used to expand her business by offering continuing education training classes to insurance agents on the premises.  White’s usage of state-of-the-art remediation techniques, combined with a deep compassion for her clients, help PuroClean Disaster Response stand out from the competition.

After being in business for four years White identified several operational items the company needed to improve in order to grow.  In May of 2012, White contacted the New Jersey Small Business Development Center (NJSBDC) at Raritan Valley Community College (RVCC) and requested assistance with marketing, sales, and cost control.  After meeting with NJSBDC counselor Ed Dolan to discuss business development, White and PuroClean Office Manager Sue Terracciano met numerous times with SBDC counselors Linda Dousis for QuickBooks assistance, Carla Fallone for cost analysis, and Rita Auld for human resource issues. White and Terracciano also attended training from the NJSBDC at RVCC, and both received an Accounting and QuickBooks certificate.

The assistance the NJSBDC at RVCC provided PuroClean helped them improve their business from a staff of five fulltime employees and sales revenues of $500,000 to a staff of nine with an estimated $750,000 in sales revenue in 2015.  White’s future plans for PuroClean include further business expansion – she plans to increase the facility’s physical footprint through the purchase of nearby warehouse space and to begin exploring a potentially new market for her company in the procurement area.

January 11th, 2016|Categories: All, Awards|Tags: , |

SBA Reopens Disaster Loan Filing Period for Superstorm Sandy Survivors

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced it has reopened the filing period for survivors in all states affected by Superstorm Sandy on December 2, 2015 to apply for low-interest disaster loans. The new filing deadline for physical damage and economic injury losses is December 1, 2016.

“The additional time for businesses, homeowners and renters to request federal disaster loans will go a long way in continuing to support the rebuilding efforts of the communities affected by Superstorm Sandy,” said SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet. “I want to thank the chairmen and ranking members of the Senate and House Small Business Committees for their leadership on this issue. We look forward to working with them to make sure the needs of small businesses are met.”

The recently approved Recovery Improvements for Small Entities (RISE) After Disaster Act of 2015 gives the SBA Administrator the authority to make disaster loans for Superstorm Sandy for a period of one year. The bill authorizes SBA to revise the disaster deadline for major Presidential declarations for Superstorm Sandy in Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island. Additionally, SBA will be accepting applications under its related agency declarations for North Carolina, Puerto Rico, Virginia, West Virginia and certain counties in Maryland.

The SBA will open disaster centers across select counties in the affected areas and review activity levels on a continuous basis.   (For a list of Centers in New Jersey, click here.)

Businesses and private nonprofit organizations may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace disaster damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business assets.

For small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private non-profit organizations, the SBA offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster. Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance is available regardless of whether the business suffered any physical property damage.

Disaster loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace disaster damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible up to $40,000 to repair or replace disaster damaged or destroyed personal property.

Interest rates are as low as 1.688 percent for homeowners and renters, 3 percent for non-profit
organizations and 4 percent for businesses with terms up to 30 years. Loan amounts and terms
are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition.

Survivors may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure
website at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.

Additional details on the locations of recovery centers and the loan application process can be
obtained by calling the SBA Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the
deaf and hard-of-hearing) or by sending an email to disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is December 1, 2016. The
deadline to return economic injury applications is December 1, 2016.

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For more information about the SBA’s Disaster Loan Program, visit our website at:  www.sba.gov/disaster.

December 22nd, 2015|Categories: All|Tags: , , |

Affected by Hurricane Sandy? Assistance Available at NJ SBA Centers

ATLANTA – New Jersey businesses and residents that were affected by Superstorm Sandy are now receiving one-on-one assistance from SBA customer service representatives. Survivors are encouraged to visit the centers to apply for SBA low-interest disaster loans. No appointment is necessary.
The Centers are open until further notice, with location and hours of operation as indicated:

Atlantic County

City of Atlantic City

1301 Bacharach Blvd, Room 129

Atlantic City, NJ  08401

Hours:  8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday – Friday

Bergen County

Bergen Co. Office of Emergency Management

285 Campgaw Road

Mahwah, NJ  07430

Hours:  8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday – Friday

Essex County

Essex County Hall of Records

Business Resource Center, Room 447

465 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd

Newark, NJ  07102

Hours:  9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday – Friday

Hudson County

Hudson County Plaza Building

Hudson Co. Minority & Women Business Enterprise

257 Cornelison Avenue, Room 2106

Jersey City, NJ  07302

Hours:  8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday – Friday

Monmouth County

Monmouth Co. Emergency Operations Center

300 Halls Mill Road

Freehold, NJ  07728

Hours:  8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday – Friday

Ocean County

Miller Air Park, Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Management

101 Airport Road

Bayville, NJ  08721

Hours:  9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday – Friday

Union County

Union County Administration Building

2nd Floor, Department of Human Services Suite

10 Elizabethtown Plaza

Elizabeth, NJ  07202

Hours:  9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday – Friday

Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure website at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.

Businesses and individuals may also obtain information and loan applications by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 (1-800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing), or by emailing disastercustomerservice@sba.gov(link sends e-mail).

Loan applications can also be downloaded at www.sba.gov/disaster. Completed applications should be returned to the centers or mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155

The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is Dec. 1, 2016.  The deadline to return economic injury applications is Dec. 1, 2016.

For more information, visit the Small Business Administration (SBA) website:

December 21st, 2015|Categories: All|

Contract Opportunities for Small Businesses Get Boost: SBA Increase for Surety Bond Guarantee

 

SBA Surety Bonds Program Maximum Guarantee Increased by 20 Percent

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Small businesses will have more contracting opportunities beginning in FY 2017 thanks to a law President Obama signed recently that increases the maximum Small Business Administration surety bond guarantee percentage by 20 percent.

The President signed the National Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2016 on November 25, 2015. Among other changes, the Act increases the maximum guarantee percentage in the SBA Preferred Surety Bond (PSB) Program from 70 percent to 90 percent.

“This is the first significant legislative change to the surety bond guarantee program in several decades. It will provide increased incentives for surety bond companies and bond producers to participate in the program, which will expand contracting opportunities for small businesses across the country,” said Frank Lalumiere, Surety Bond Guarantee Program Director at SBA.

Surety bonds help contractors bid on projects, both private and public as they protect project owners in the event the contractor fails to successfully perform the contract. If the contractor fails to perform, the surety company assists the project owner in completing the contract.

SBA does not provide direct surety bonds to small businesses; surety companies do. But through its Preferred Surety Bond program, the agency guarantees between 70 and 90% of the losses and expenses incurred by the surety company if the small business fails to complete the contract.

This government guarantee encourages the surety company to issue a bond that it would otherwise not issue to a small business. In turn, with the backing of a surety bond, a small business contractor may bid on a project that otherwise it could not bid on.

For more information about the SBA Surety Bond Guarantee Program, visit https://www.sba.gov/surety-bonds.

 

December 21st, 2015|Categories: All|Tags: , |

SBDC Offers “Veterans Entrepreneurial Certificate Program”

Small Business Program Waives Fees/Tuition Costs for Eligible US Veterans

The Veterans Entrepreneurial Certificate Program (VECP), sponsored by the Small Business Development Center @ RVCC, and hosted by Raritan Valley Community College, is being offered at no cost for tuition or fees to eligible U.S. military veterans (copy of DD 214 required for registration).

The 39-hour program comprises nine courses designed to provide the basic information required to start and/or successfully manage a small business.  It is designed to be completed within up to four semesters.

Participants will receive a certificate of completion after finishing all of the following courses in the program  (please check the program’s SBDC Training schedule for class dates/times:

The Business Plan
Create a sound business plan to help you manage your business more effectively and/or prepare to seek financing. Chart your course and improve your chances for business success (9 hours).

Legal 1
Be knowledgeable of the laws affecting business. Business owners learn how to choose the appropriate business structure, assess business risks, provide adequate protection and establish proper record keeping and controls (3 hours).

Legal 2
Attain a basic understanding of contract law, legal ownership of a business, stock, and partnership agreements (3 hours).

Building Your Marketing Plan
Learn about market research, strategic marketing decisions, advertising and sales, public relations, promotions, and networking. Find out about all phases of a marketing plan, how to define markets and how to implement creative, low-cost guerrilla marketing (6 hours).
Small Business Taxes
Learn which type of legal entity is the best structure for your company and receive information about tax responsibilities based on the entity you choose. Find out what tax deductions you are entitled to (3 hours).
Tue Oct 27       6:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Small Business Recordkeeping
Learn what records you need to keep, how to do your own bookkeeping, and how to use records as a management tool. Find out processes you need to follow for tax deductions (3 hours).
Seal the Deal: Winning Sales Strategies
Learn step-by-step selling techniques to help you feel more comfortable in front of your prospects and increase your close rate. Follow this strategic selling system and you’ll be sure to meet or exceed your goals for sales and profitability (6 hours).
Mastering the Mental Side of Building a Business
Learn how to proactively handle and even benefit from the inevitable challenges and setbacks you’ll face along the way building your business. Finish up with solid ways to build your confidence in any situation, work through habits and fears that can hold you back, and create a support system that will help lead you to success (3 hours).
Understanding Financial Statements SBCE
Learn about spreadsheets, understanding revenue and expense, structure and relationships, meaningful forecasts and projections, break-even analysis, balance sheets, P&L, and cash flow (3 hours).
Registration for VECP:

Please note: You must register for the VECP training courses by contacting our office:  by phone, (908) 526-1200 x8516, or by email, sbdc@raritanval.edu or in person (our office is located at: 14 Vogt Drive, Bridgewater, NJ 08807).  Office hours are 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Registrants must provide a copy of their DD 214 form.

 

October 30th, 2015|Categories: All|

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|