It could soon become a bit easier to start a small business in the Garden State.

Lawmakers this month advanced measures aimed at helping wannabe owners hit the ground running.

"We don't do enough to help the small businesses. Those little guys are hurting," Chris Emigholz, chief government affairs officer for the New Jersey Business & Industry Association, told an Assembly panel. "They're still struggling in many ways."

Under one proposed law approved unanimously by the full Assembly on Dec. 15, the New Jersey Business Action Center would be required to create and maintain a publicly available "small business manual," which would include information for new and prospective owners about permits and inspections, as well financial assistance programs and real estate transactions.

Another unanimously approved measure would establish a mentorship program for new businesses and start-ups.

Bill sponsor Assemblywoman Gabriela Mosquera, D-Gloucester, said the program would give new businesses a "leg up" by offering them access to individuals who've succeeded in the past with similar goals.

"Just to give them that push, that belief that even though it can be hard and starting a business is scary, it is something that is doable in the state of New Jersey," Mosquera said.

The New Jersey Assembly also approved, nearly unanimously, a measure that would establish a program to help businesses "develop an internet presence." The program would be staffed with volunteers and full-time employees, and would only be open to businesses in New Jersey with fewer than 25 employees.

Dino Flammia is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at

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