Last Friday I attended a a great event, hosted by the NJ Institute of Technology and its partner organization NJ Innovation Institute. The focus was an energizing discussion on the creation of small-business clusters and support systems for early stage companies.
Small businesses account for a large chunk of the U.S. economy. At Phone.com, we know this only too well because we serve this market! There are over 28 million small businesses in the United States, and thousands of small companies forming every week. In 2014, over 298,000 jobs were created by small businesses in the State of New Jersey alone.
The focus on clusters—on supporting and fostering connections that strengthen the broader community—was a key part of our discussion on Friday. NJIT is committed to small businesses, especially those that are tech oriented, with the Innovation Institute delivering much-needed support and funding.
NJII’s objective is to identify synergies between small businesses and their surrounding communities—creating a climate of innovation and mutual benefit. NJII invests in smaller tech-focused companies, in the IT and the healthcare sectors particularly—nurturing alliances and encouraging peer-support activities, marketing and finance classes, partner networks and much more.
As we all know, business success is largely about being in the right place at the right time, and this is certainly the case for entrepreneurs taking advantage of these resources. An interesting statistic on clustering: Urban areas with small-business clusters are three times more productive than those without!
We have a a long way to go in Newark but it’s clear that the initiatives underway are having, and will continue to have, great success! Entrepreneurs, industry leaders, academics and those in the public sector are excited about growth in the Newark economy and the changes that it will no doubt bring about in our local communities.
What I would like to see added to this effort are programs that target local schools. There is huge potential for getting kids who aren’t exposed to business skills at home or in their communities into programs that encourage entrepreneurship. From healthcare and IT to retail and manufacturing, we can encourage growth in our future business owners from a very young age.
I realize that many have worked on improving Newark for decades, but I believe new tech-based initiatives hold real promise. At Phone.com, we actively work to help small businesses succeed. We see so many great new companies launch, utilizing technology and communication tools to jumpstart their businesses! It is rewarding to see organizations like NJIT and NJII partnering with these entrepreneurs to encourage success.