The U.S. Small Business Administration’s New Jersey district office in Newark announced Friday that New Jersey’s small manufacturers received 72 loans backed by the SBA for a total of $59 million during the agency’s fiscal year 2019, resulting in a 7% increase in loans over fiscal year 2018.
“Small manufacturing is alive and well in New Jersey,” Al Titone, SBA New Jersey district director, said. “We’re seeing small manufacturers incorporating new technologies, working smarter, getting leaner and staying competitive.”
The Top 5 counties with the most loan approvals to small manufacturers include Bergen ($10.4 million over eight loans), Monmouth ($3.8 million over eight loans), Burlington ($3.5 million over eight loans), Camden ($5.4 million over seven loans) and Essex ($6.5 million over six loans).
However, according to SBA’s Office of Advocacy, there are a total of 13,545 small business manufacturers in New Jersey.
“Small businesses account for 62% of all manufacturing in New Jersey and employ slightly over 136,000 employees,” Titone said. “The 72 loans that we approved this year to manufacturers helped to retain 892 jobs and create another 229 jobs around the state.”
The SBA also announced how the $125,000 it awarded in prize money to the New Jersey Institute of Technology’s Makerspace in its Makerspace Training, Collaboration and Hiring, or MaTCH, pilot competition in August will be used to provide an advanced manufacturing and mechatronics training program from November 2019 through February 2020.
The program is designed for individuals already working as technical or engineering staff in manufacturing-related fields, current or prospective students of engineering and a limited number of high school seniors interested in manufacturing or engineering careers.
“Having enough qualified and trained workers for future job openings in the manufacturing sector is critical to the success of small manufacturers in the state,” Titone said. “Not only is this space dedicated to training students for future manufacturing jobs, but also existing manufacturers can lease space (here) at a significant cost savings, helping them to develop prototypes while keeping their research and production costs down.”
Partnerships, like the one the SBA shares with NJIT, Titone added, will go a long way toward changing the workforce culture.
“I believe it is going to reinvigorate and strengthen manufacturing in New Jersey,” he said.