With so many small businesses hamstrung by the coronavirus crisis, what if New Jersey's big businesses could hire those small businesses, and their out-of-work employees, for tasks usually fulfilled by outside vendors?

That is the idea behind the #NJsmall movement, and an accompanying petition aiming to reach Gov. Phil Murphy's desk. The founders of the movement, Denise Blasevick and Adam Schnitzler, are the owners of the S3 Agency, a small business in Boonton.

Blasevick said small businesses employ about half of New Jersey's workforce, and that according to what she has heard from experts, if those businesses don't reopen soon, it could take them until 2023 to recover — if they recover at all.

"What we came up with is, if New Jersey's big businesses, whenever they have the opportunity, instead of going out of state, if they will instead hire New Jersey's small businesses," she said.

The petition asks the governor to grant a $1 million tax credit to big businesses who hire New Jersey small businesses under this initiative, but unlike other requests Murphy's office is considering, this does not request direct funding.

"I think every other solution probably is asking for some kind of money, and this is not," Blasevick said. "This is a very unique solution. It's kind of a unicorn; it wins for every single person involved, which is basically everyone in New Jersey."

What kind of service a big business offers, and what kind the small business it partners with specializes in, is not the primary concern.

"It could be for marketing services, it could be for manufacturing. You think about catering services, all of those sorts of things, really anything that small businesses do," Blasevick said. "Innovatively, creatively, we can move in an agile manner. We're used to reinventing ourselves. It can be done much quicker than trying to get a big business to do that."

Blasevick said a relatively small portion of the Garden State's small businesses were lucky enough to receive federal assistance through the Paycheck Protection Program, but the countdown to how long that money would hold out began as soon as it was received.

Partnering small businesses with big ones, she said, would stimulate their survival and eventual growth, and in turn stimulate the economy by getting New Jersey residents to spend money here.

To get more information and view or sign the petition, go to njsmall.com.

Patrick Lavery is New Jersey 101.5's afternoon news anchor. Follow him on Twitter @plavery1015 or email patrick.lavery@townsquaremedia.com.

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