N.J. launches Spanish-language version of Business.NJ.gov

Site, meant to simplify businesses’ experience interacting with government, will have Spanish version of live chat feature

Gov. Phil Murphy announced Tuesday the launch of the Spanish-language version of Business.NJ.gov — the state’s new digital front door for businesses looking to start, operate and grow in the Garden State.

Business.NJ.gov, launched earlier this year, is meant to simplify businesses’ experiences interacting with the state by consolidating critical information and resources from more than 15 different agencies into one easy-to-navigate “first stop” for businesses. Users can find information on financing options, assistance with obtaining permits and licenses, tax information, and guidance on business planning and marketing.

In addition to the fully translated content, Business.NJ.gov also offers business owners the ability to connect by “live chat” with experts from the Department of State’s Business Action Center — a service that also will be available for Spanish-speaking entrepreneurs by Spanish-speaking business experts.

The announcement comes as the country wraps up Hispanic Heritage Month (which runs from Sept. 15-Oct. 15). And it was released in both English and Spanish.

Carlos Medina, the president of the Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey, said the message goes much deeper than that.

“It means that there is an openness and an open heart by the state to do business with Hispanic companies,” he told ROI-NJ. “A lot of people talk the talk, but they don’t do something as basic as translating a site or a form.

“So, the fact that this administration did is obvious that he cares about the community and recognizes it’s importance to the New Jersey economy.”

The strength of the Hispanic business community should not be overlooked.

Hispanics start more businesses than any other diversity group — and they represent a $20 trillion market in the U.S., Medina said. In New Jersey, Medina said Hispanics have a $4 billion impact.

“Entrepreneurship and innovation are just a few of the many ways that New Jersey’s Hispanic and Latinx communities deeply contribute to the Garden State’s rich cultural landscape,” Murphy said in a release. “As we continue to modernize and streamline the state’s ability to serve our businesses, we must do so in a stronger and fairer manner — that means ensuring that our resources, programs and services are accessible to as many people as possible.”

It makes a difference, Medina said.

“Anytime they put things in Spanish, it’s great,” he said. “A certain amount of folks have trouble with forms and other things if they are not in their native language. So, it’s a positive.”

A positive that Secretary of State Tahesha Way wants to build on.

“Experts at the Business Action Center help tens of thousands of businesses each year,” she said. “Live chat has enabled us to deliver expert advice in a faster and easier way to all business owners, and the ability to deliver human-to-human service in a multitude of languages, including Spanish, ensures that we can assist entrepreneurs from all walks of life and backgrounds.”

A key feature of Business.NJ.gov is its constantly evolving content — a cross-agency and multilingual team collaborates on a daily basis to ensure the site’s content is both up-to-date and serving the needs of New Jersey’s businesses. Complementary Spanish-language content is available the same day to ensure parity and opportunity across the state’s business community.

Beth Noveck, the state’s chief innovation officer, said bilingual services are key to growth.

“Offering the user-friendly content and services on Business.NJ.gov fully in Spanish is one more step on the way to a modern, simplified, 21st-century experience for business owners in New Jersey,” she said. “Business.NJ.gov will continue to be the foundation of new, innovative services that cut across state bureaucracy to transform the experience of starting, operating and growing a business in the Garden State.”