Gov. Chris Christie recently signed a new law aimed to help New Jersey small businesses bid on public construction projects. Senate Bill No. 123 establishes “Small Business Bonding Readiness Assistance Program” to help small businesses meet state or federal contract surety bond requirements.According to Gov. Chris Christie, the new law will provide critical assistance to small business owners, who represent 98.3 percent of employers in this state. In many cases, these smaller contractors lack the resources to secure construction surety bonds, which are a mandatory prerequisite to bidding on public projects.

“S-123 is another avenue for small, minority-owned and women-owned businesses to have greater access to job-creating commercial opportunities,” Governor Christie said in a press statement. “It is a win for taxpayers and residents across New Jersey also because increased competition for public contracts will lead to lower costs and a more diverse pool of small businesses performing public services.”

Key Provisions of s-123

The new program, which aims to level the playing field between small and large contractors, will be operated by the Economic Development Authority (EDA). Below are the two key provisions of S-123:

  • Small Business Bonding Readiness Assistance Program

The “Small Business Bonding Readiness Assistance Program” will provide support services to small businesses and assist them in securing surety bonding so that small businesses may bid on public works projects or perform contracts offered by the state or by the federal government. To accomplish this, the EDA will enter an agreement with a non-profit business advocacy association.

The support services and assistance provided by the association will be designed to increase small businesses’ bonding knowledge and capacity in order for small businesses to qualify for surety bonding. The support services and assistance to small businesses will specifically focus on improving small businesses’ financial presentation, operational efficiency, profitability, and surety bonding capacity and knowledge through a series of workshops and strategic consulting sessions.

Related post: Construction bond.

  • Small Business Bonding Readiness Assistance Fund

The new law also establishes a special revolving fund known as the “Small Business Bonding Readiness Assistance Fund.” The fund is intended to provide grant funding to small businesses that participate in the program, grant funding to an association that provides small businesses participating in the program with support services and assistance, and to administer the program.

Under S-123, the fund may be credited with monies made available by the EDA for the purpose of the fund. The authority is authorized to seek and accept gifts, grants, or donations from private or public sources for deposit in the fund which are not inconsistent with other laws.

The authority will be establishing terms and conditions by which small businesses may apply for the program, as well as procedures for the implementation of, and requirements for, the program and the administration of the fund.

Are you a New Jersey small business owner? Do you have any questions regarding S-123? Would you like to discuss the matter further? If so, please contact me, David Blank, at 201-806-3364.