New Jersey Offers Support to Prospective Entrepreneurs

493668_69476274_12272011.jpgAs the economy makes what we are told is a slow recovery, unemployment remains at uncomfortably high levels in many parts of the country, New Jersey included. With a 9.1 percent unemployment rate, some New Jersey workers have sought out alternative solutions. As the Asbury Park Press reports, entrepreneurship may soon become an appealing option for many as jobs remain scarce.

The Press tells the story of Charles Schlapfer of Lavallette, New Jersey, who worked as general manager of a building supply company when the 2008 financial crisis hit. He survived a massive round of layoffs but suffered a fifty percent pay cut. Although he looked around for other jobs, he could not find anything that met his family’s financial needs. Rather than continue with his reduced salary and no clear job security, he rolled the dice, quit his job, and started his own company. He now runs a “manufacturers’ sales representation firm” that helps businesses in the construction industry take advantage of public-sector opportunities, which he sees as a huge and relatively untapped market for local companies. The business draws on his work experience and contacts and, he hopes, has great growth potential.

New Jersey offers resources and support for entrepreneurs looking to start their own venture. The state’s Department of Labor and Workforce Development (LWD) operates several Small Business Development Centers (SBDC’s), which have begun hosting training courses and counseling for unemployed individuals who want to pursue an entrepreneurial path. A six-week training program, the “Entrepreneurial Training Program for the Unemployed” (ETPU), instructs aspiring business owners in how to develop a business idea and handle the many aspects of the business start-up process. It also includes one-on-one counseling and assistance with applications for start-up financing. The program is free, financed by grants from the LWD), and requires applicants to meet certain criteria related to employment and receipt of unemployment benefits.

Starting a business requires careful planning and attention. Every business is unique, but all have common questions at the outset. The question of initial capital is perhaps the most important. Some businesses can be run from a laptop computer and cell phone in a corner of your home or the neighborhood cafe, while others require significant equipment purchases and office space. This also affects the questions of how to structure a business. An entrepreneur must consider whether to operate a business as a sole proprietor, to form a corporation, or to create some other business organization. That leads to questions of whether to hire staff, and so on.

Of course, not everybody can opt to start a business when faced with unemployment. Starting a business is a risky prospect, requiring a significant commitment of time and resources. It almost always involves short-term pay cut while getting business operations started, and it often involves either a commitment of one’s own capital or a new debt obligation. We understand the risks and requirements of starting a business. In addition to being New Jersey business lawyers, we are also entrepreneurs ourselves, owning and operating a law practice. The risks can be great, and the hours can be long, but the rewards can be great as well.

The New Jersey business attorneys at Samuel C. Berger, PC offer fixed-fee legal services to businesses and investors who want to do business in northern New Jersey and New York. To speak to a member of our skilled legal team, contact us today online or at (201) 587-1500.

More Blog Posts:

Harlem Wal-Mart Could Put Local Stores out of Business, Say Critics, New York & New Jersey Business Lawyer Blog, December 22, 2011
Small Businesses Added 55,000 New Jobs to the Economy Last Month, New York & New Jersey Business Lawyer Blog, December 20, 2011
New Jersey Assembly Passes Bill Creating Small Business Loan Program, New York & New Jersey Business Lawyer Blog, December 13, 2011
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