So the state of NJ released its budget in detail and The Star Ledger had a write up on it, but I was curious about two items mentioned in the article. One was that they restored $395K for the NJ Motion Picture and Television Commissions and the other was they restored $500K for the NJ Small Business Development centers. This got me thinking.
We actually have a NJ Motion Picture and Television Commission? So I Googled it and low and behold we do have one and there is plenty of updated information on the site. I half expected to write a post about a story Ronald Reagan used to tell about the commissioner of Indian Affairs crying in his office because his last Indian died, but I was actually quite surprised. There were quite a number of films and TV shows shot on location in NJ included Adam Sandler's You Don't Mess with Zohan so perhaps we actually need this commission because it generates some revenue to the state. However, what I don't know is how large their budget is and how many people work there.
Next up is the NJ Small Business Development Center. I'm a small business (I work part-time for CDI) so I was wondering if somehow they can help me and is it worth it. I've never been contacted by then and didn't know they existed and I've been out of corporate America for over 30 months now. Nobody has ever mentioned them to me and I've run across a ton of local small business folks in Chester and Long Valley. My local bank who also runs the local business association never mentioned them either. Finally, my accountant and also my Dad who both do great jobs with their small businesses never mentioned them to me while every other tip they have given me has panned out or I've run into them. So curious I went to their site to see what they can offer me. So here's what I see on their home page:
- A link for consulting where they can help me with marketing and management. My favorite part was the link on eBusiness with strategies that are over 6 years old. All kidding aside, why would I go to them when it comes to marketing when in 30 months I've never heard of them?
- The calendar had some decent events so clearly there is some work being done. Perhaps they are marketing through these colleges and events, but once again I've never seen them advertised anywhere.
- The impact seems very impressive of what they have been able to accomplish. I don't have time to figure out how realistic their numbers are or how direct they are to what they do, but what has me a little concerned is their closing point because it doesn't mention money "Since 1979, more than 293,000 people have received direct assistance from the NJSBDC in the form of free, confidential, one-on-one management consulting and affordable education."
- The vast majority of in the news is from 2007 so either they were too busy or under funded to post more or perhaps they weren't in the news.
In the end, I'm not sure why NJ is funding them at all. $500K seems like a small enough number to put back in, but to me this looks like a lobbying effort. They do seem to push a lot about consulting and helping you so it seems like a giant networking effort. I could be wrong but in 30 months I have never heard of them and one of their offices is in nearby Hackettstown. Unlike BNI which a lot of people have recommended to me and the NFIB which I've seen signs for, the NJSBDC doesn't seem to be very active. So, I'm not sure what $500K is getting Small Business owners like me in NJ or why when the state is being described as draconian we should be funding an effort like this. If I'm wrong, feel free to enlighten me.