Members of the first class of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) and African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey’s (AACCNJ) Small Business Bonding Readiness Assistance Program have to date qualified for more than $4 million in surety bonding that will better position these firms to bid on public contracts. This is a major success for the program, which launched in January and supports Governor Phil Murphy’s vision for a stronger and fairer New Jersey economy by preparing small, minority- and women-owned businesses to obtain bonds, a crucial step in competing for state and federal government contracts.

“We are thrilled with the Small Business Bonding Readiness Assistance Program’s success,” said John Harmon, Founder, President, and CEO of AACCNJ. “The ability to get bonded and access financing is not only critical to small businesses growth, but also removes a barrier that has prevented many of these businesses from applying for state and federal contracting opportunities. Leveling the playing field in this way is crucial to building a stronger, fairer New Jersey economy where more small businesses can compete for opportunities and succeed.”

Launched in January 2019, the Small Business Bonding Readiness Assistance Program provides a comprehensive series of classroom trainings, workshops, and strategic counseling sessions covering a variety of topics relevant to small businesses in all sectors, including bonding and insurance, business development, financial presentation, construction and contract law, construction management, estimating, and credit. At the end of the program, all participating businesses receive a Bonding Readiness Segment Report, which provides an in-depth assessment of their strengths and weaknesses to help them plan for the future.

“The Small Business Bonding Readiness Assistance Program provided me and my team valuable training from experts in every aspect of business management and development,” said Jocelyn Tucker, Chief Executive Officer of Job One Contracting. “They worked with us patiently and without judgment to fill holes in our current operations and ultimately submit responsive bids on two large projects.”

Ten of the 30 small business owners who make up the program’s inaugural cohort have already received confirmation that they would be favorably considered for bonds ranging from $250,000 to $1 million. Final bond approvals will be conditional upon contract terms and bond forms, confirmation of satisfactory financing, and a favorable review of the underwriting information at the time the small business actually requests the bonds.

The businesses represent a variety of industries, including solar, construction, landscaping, and digital signage. New Jersey’s geographic diversity is well-represented in the cohort, with businesses from Elizabeth, Newark, Ewing, and Camden all receiving confirmation that they would be good candidates for bonding.

“Supporting small businesses and creating new opportunities for women- and minority-owned businesses to grow is vital to building a stronger, fairer New Jersey economy,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. “The Small Business Bonding Readiness Assistance Program’s success providing guidance for growing businesses and removing barriers that have prevented many women- and minority-owned businesses from bidding for state and federal opportunities is an important step toward leveling the playing field and ensuring all New Jerseyans can play a leading role in our state’s economic success.”

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) serves as the State’s principal agency for driving economic growth. The NJEDA is committed to making New Jersey a national model for inclusive and sustainable economic development by focusing on key strategies to help build strong and dynamic communities, create good jobs for New Jersey residents, and provide pathways to a stronger and fairer economy. Through partnerships with a diverse range of stakeholders, the NJEDA creates and implements initiatives to enhance the economic vitality and quality of life in the State and strengthen New Jersey’s long-term economic competitiveness.

Headquartered in Trenton at 379 West State Street. The African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey (AACCNJ) performs an essential role in New Jersey’s Economy. As affirmed in its mission statement, the Chamber seeks to economically empower and sustain African American communities, facilitating entrepreneurship and free enterprise activity within the state, with direct outreach programs.

Different from acting as simply an association of allied businesses, the Chamber serves as a proactive advocacy group with a 501(c)3 tax exemption, similar to the National Black Chamber. While providing a collective voice for New Jersey’s African American business leaders, the AACCNJ advocates and promotes economic diversity while fostering a climate of growth through major initiatives on the educational and public policy levels. To learn more visit

For more information on the Small Business Bonding Readiness Program visit

To read Governor Murphy’s full economic plan, please visit:

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