TRENTON, NJ – The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) today announced the start of the Neighborhood Preservation Program (NPP) Small Business Mentor Pilot Project, which is providing personalized support to small businesses in NPP districts to help them find solutions for pressing business challenges that are inhibiting their business growth and sustainability.
Under the Small Business Mentor Pilot Project, eight small businesses in NPP districts throughout New Jersey will receive up to five months of free one-on-one consulting with business mentors. The small businesses will also potentially be able to receive business innovation grants of up to $1,000 to implement the recommendations they receive from their business mentors.
“Small businesses are the heartbeat of successful downtown business districts in our communities. Through this pilot project, we want to help small business owners innovate their management practices and their shopping experience in order to attract more customers and increase their revenue,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver, who serves as DCA Commissioner. “We thank the volunteer business mentors and advisors of SCORE for partnering with our Department on this initiative for the benefit of neighborhood businesses. This combination of technical assistance and grant funding is a hallmark of why the Neighborhood Preservation Program has been so successful since Governor Murphy and I relaunched it in 2019.”
SCORE NJ is an organization of volunteer mentors who are experienced in entrepreneurship and related fields such as startup, marketing, and finance. Its mission is to foster vibrant small business communities through mentoring and education.
DCA’s Neighborhood Preservation Program is collaborating with SCORE New Jersey chapters to connect the eight small businesses participating in the pilot initiative with volunteer business mentors who can assist them with their specific business needs and goals.
“SCORE NJ is honored to partner with DCA to bring our business expertise to small businesses in NPP districts,” said Gene Wolf, SCORE NJ District Director. “Through our hands-on mentoring, our goal is to help these businesses grow and thrive.”
The participating small businesses are located in NPP districts in Burlington City, Hammonton, Mount Holly, New Brunswick, the City of Passaic, Phillipsburg, and Woodbury. All the small businesses are in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods and 50 percent are women-owned or minority-owned business enterprises.
The businesses will receive consulting in such areas as marketing, business technologies, graphic design, branding, bookkeeping, e-commerce, store renovation, online presence, employee retention, income diversification, foot traffic, and employment for at-risk youth.
DCA will evaluate the pilot initiative in the fall and determine next steps.
The following businesses are participating in the Small Business Mentor Pilot Project:
· Legends Pizza & Tap Room, Burlington City
· Action Travel, Hammonton
· Holly News & Card Shop, Mount Holly
· Mayra’s Hairstyling, New Brunswick
· Cielo’s Floral Designs, City of Passaic
· Aliyah’s Family Restaurant, Phillipsburg
· Driven Ska8te Shop, Phillipsburg
· Father and Son's Pizzeria, Woodbury
The NPP program is focused on conducting activities that strengthen threatened but viable neighborhoods through local planning, community participation, and local investment.
For more information on NPP, visit https://www.nj.gov/dca/divisions/dhcr/offices/np.html.
DCA offers a wide range of programs and services, including energy assistance, housing vouchers, affordable housing production, fire and building safety, community planning and development, local government management and finance, and disaster recovery and mitigation.
For more information about DCA, visit https://nj.gov/dca/ or follow the Department on social media: