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One Small Step for Trenton, One Giant Leap for New Jersey

Introducing #NJsmall, a true “win-win-win” to hasten NJ’s economic recovery

Two entrepreneurs (who are members of Entrepreneurs’ Organization – New Jersey chapter) have come up with a no-cost way to help New Jersey’s economy recover faster.

Just how bad are things in the Garden State? As of June 1, New Jersey has seen 159,608 COVID-19 cases, with 11,634 deaths. Along with New York City, New Jersey has been one of the nation’s epicenters for the pandemic. Now, after three solid months of sheltering in place, the full scope of the economic damage is coming into view. The numbers—particularly for small business—feel like something out of a dystopian novel.

A pandemic. A lengthy, debilitating recession (with double digit unemployment). Economic uncertainty like we’ve never seen before. Getting out of this mess calls for some truly creative thinking. That’s why these two EONJ members — who usually spend their days thinking of creative campaigns for their clients — put their heads together to find a way to help the state where they work and live.

And with #NJsmall, they’ve come up with a truly “win-win-win” solution.

Will #NJsmall help small business get back on its feet? Yes.
Will #NJsmall help large corporations with a NJ presence reduce their tax burden? Yes.
Will #NJsmall help raise tax revenues for our state by speeding the recovery without spending money? Yes.  

#NJSmall is the big idea New Jersey’s small businesses and big businesses need right now.

What is #NJSmall and How Does It Work?

#NJSmall is the brainchild of Denise Blasevick and Adam Schnitzler, co-owners of The S3 Agency, the NJBIZ 2019 #1 Advertising Agency and #1 Public Relations firm in New Jersey. With high-profile clients like BMW of North America, Eight O’Clock Coffee and iconectiv (previously Telcordia), they’re used to thinking big, helping their clients break through the clutter in a crowded marketplace.

What they’re less used to is coming up with economic stimulus ideas — which may be why #NJsmall feels so refreshing. It wasn’t dreamed up in an out-of-touch think tank or academic consortium. This inspired idea is the natural by-product of entrepreneurial thinking, which has been further cultivated by their experiences as members of EO, where they are constantly learning new approaches from industry experts and other entrepreneurs.

Here’s how #NJSmall works:

  1. NJ’s big businesses are encouraged to hire NJ’s small business instead of opting for out-of-state vendors.
  2. In turn, these large corporations get a 1% corporate tax rebate for keeping their business in-state.
  3. The results: More small businesses recover faster. Big businesses save on taxes. More business stays in New Jersey. And New Jersey’s employment numbers stabilize, raising the tax base for the entire state.

“Some of the nation’s smartest, most innovative thinkers are working right here in New Jersey for small businesses,” said Blasevick, The S3 Agency’s CEO and Founding Partner. “Whether it’s technology, logistics, marketing, HR, finance, food service, hospitality, or any other field, contracting with #NJsmall businesses can provide tremendous value to big corporations. How often does the opportunity come along to simultaneously do good for the community and your bottom line?

Ultimately, the goal for #NJsmall is to get it in front of Governor Murphy so he can sign off on the tax incentives. If successful — and many are optimistic — it could even become a permanent part of New Jersey’s business culture.

This would go a long way towards debunking New Jersey’s reputation as a state unhospitable to business. Unfortunately, the numbers bear that out. In an updated 2020 Business Climate Analysis, New Jersey was ranked as the least competitive business climate in the region, with the highest corporate tax, state sales tax, income tax, and property taxes compared to six nearby states.

“Right now, New Jersey’s small businesses are really hurting,” said Schnitzler, The S3 Agency’s Chief Creative Officer and Founding Partner. “What makes #NJsmall such a dynamic idea is that it doesn’t require any extra spending, from companies or from the government. This is money that corporations had budgeted to spend anyway—we’re just giving them a reason to spend it here, and to spend it with small businesses like ours and the hundreds of thousands of others that abound in NJ. And the tax incentive will result in more business being done in NJ, which ultimately yields more tax revenue for our state.”

Hiring Small Is Better for All

Despite living in one of the most polarizing eras in American history, when finding consensus on virtually anything feels impossible, the importance of small business to our economy is one thing that everyone seems to agree on. According to a 2018 Gallup poll, 70% of Americans have confidence in small businesses, compared to just 21% for large businesses. The continuing popularity of the American Express Small Business Saturday is further proof

“We don’t need to sell New Jersey on small business — they’re already sold,” said Blasevick. “People want to support their local businesses. And I’m confident that same sentiment exists for large corporations. Incentivizing big business to patronize local small businesses instead of large out-of-state vendors has the potential to change everything. Plus, if it works here, it’s easy to imagine it working everywhere else as well. Hiring small is better for all.”

What’s Next for #NJSmall

The #NJsmall is catching on, with significant interest from state governmental departments and legislators. You can lend your support to the initiative by signing the petition asking Governor Murphy to support #NJsmall here. In addition, you can visit the NJSmall website for more information, updates, and other ways you can get involved.

Active on social media? Be sure to spread the word using the #NJsmall hashtag, with a post like:

Help NJ’s economy recover quicker! Sign the petition asking @GovMurphy to incentivize NJ’s big biz to hire #NJsmall!


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