The Burlington County Board of Commissioners, the Burlington County Bridge Commission’s Department of Economic Development and the Burlington County Regional Chamber of Commerce are partnering on a new initiative to assist small business owners and those interested in starting new businesses.
Known as Burlington County Business Connect, the new program aims to provide business owners with information about government regulations, permitting, assistance programs, promotions and other useful advice that can help them succeed and grow.
The initiative will kick off on Tuesday, May 4, with the first of several planned seminars hosted by the Chamber of Commerce and the Board of Commissioners.
“Small businesses are not only the backbone of our economy, they are the center of our downtowns and local communities, so we’re thrilled to partner with the Burlington County Regional Chamber of Commerce to make sure businesses in our communities have all the information they need about what help is available,” said Commissioner Director Felicia Hopson, who is the liaison to the Department of Economic Development. “Now more than ever it is important for government to lend a helping hand to assist businesses recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, and our Board is committed to using whatever resources we can gather to help them.”
Kristi Howell, President and CEO of the Burlington County Regional Chamber of Commerce, said the objective is to provide businesses with monthly updates so they are informed about the newest developments and become familiar with the programs and government agencies they’re likely to interact with or have to navigate.
“For our existing businesses, we want to make sure they know exactly what assistance is out there, who to contact and what they need to know,” Howell said. “For new businesses or people mulling the launch of a new business, we want them to understand the process and how our Chamber and the County might be able to help. We know this information is a critical component for their success and, in some cases, survival, so we’re excited to work with the Commissioners to make sure businesses have easy access.”
Tuesday’s seminar will be conducted virtually from 5:30 PM to 6:30 PM and will feature an overview of the Business Connect program by Hopson and Howell, as well as updates by Melanie Willoughby, executive director of the New Jersey Business Action Center, and Marie J. Giletto, chair of corporate law for Parker McCay.
Willoughby will share ways the Action Center can assist small businesses with permitting, licensing and compliance issues, and Giletto will speak about basic legal issues facing businesses in New Jersey.
Liz Verna, director of the Bridge Commission’s Department of Economic Development and Regional Planning, will also participate and provide an update on available business assistance programs, including the County’s zero-interest Health Emergency Loan Program, which still has more than $300,000 to loan to qualified applicants.