For New Jersey Tech Weekly’s end-of-year series in 2017, we asked company officials and other members of the tech ecosystem in New Jersey to craft a letter to the incoming governor, Phil Murphy, telling him about specific important business or social issues they are encountering, and giving him ideas on how state help could solve them.
We are calling on Murphy’s leadership to make this state a better, more welcoming place for tech and biotech companies, both those that are starting up and those that are growing. Our first “letter” to be published is from the founder and CEO of SPHERE Technology Solutions, Rita Gurevich.
Dec. 20, 2017
Dear Governor-Elect Murphy,
I am writing you to express my perspective as a New Jersey-based technology business owner regarding specific challenges that our ecosystem will have to overcome to ensure that businesses continue to thrive and grow in New Jersey.
As most business owners can attest, whether in startup mode or simply maintaining the status quo, ensuring that there is adequate financial stability to operate is always at the top of our minds. But companies that are trying to grow need to take some reasonable risks, and they must be able to do so without endangering the base they have built. In my opinion, growing a company is significantly harder than starting one.
Companies that are attempting to grow should be particularly interesting for New Jersey lawmakers and public advocates. These are the companies that will halt the exodus of talent from local universities, grow the population of high-income taxpayers for New Jersey and spend more on purchases from other businesses across the state. Helping these businesses grow will have a positive ripple effect across the state. These companies should be elevated and given the resources they need to grow and prosper. A growing business is good for New Jersey.
While I truly believe that we need to foster innovation and encourage new companies to form, helping them get past the initial phase of seed and development, these are not the businesses that will immediately bring on positive changes for New Jersey. Research shows that more than half of these businesses will fail. But companies that have shown stability will have a long-term impact on the state. And the more these businesses grow, the greater their impact will be. These are the businesses that should be given incentives to help soften the risks they must take to grow. With these incentives, companies that are successful with their growth strategies could hire more long-term New Jersey employees, and will likely maintain these new levels of employment, and potentially even grow some more.
As a technology company, we actually have a lot of reasons to leave the state. Technology companies can be more mobile, and they tend to have the capabilities of hiring and working remotely. So, for New Jersey-based technology companies that focus on the New York metro area, it is incredibly enticing to move their businesses to lower-cost areas elsewhere in the country. New Jersey needs to make every attempt to avoid this if it wants to retain its workforce and talent.
Incentives can come in many forms. It could be as simple as tax relief. Another example is providing a subsidy for each New Jersey-based employee hired and retained for one year or more. Or the state government could help companies lower their operating costs. New Jersey is one of the most expensive places to live and work, so additional write-offs should be given to companies that have shown a commitment to staying in the state. These are just a handful of examples. In my opinion, the focus should be on helping companies that have started in New Jersey ? and continue to operate here ? to stay in New Jersey. Business owners do not have the time to go out looking for these programs. I recommend that the programs be heavily advertised, and that major efforts be taken to keep them simple to understand and utilize.
With a focus on helping our stable companies that show a desire to stay and grow in New Jersey, we can reverse the unfortunate migration of companies out of the state. This will keep tax-paying citizens working and living here. This should be a major goal of the administration. Business owners like me could provide all the details and information on the management decision-making that will have an impact on New Jersey.
Keeping an open line of communication between government and the business community is key.
Founder and CEO
SPHERE Technology Solutions
SPHERE Technology Solutions is an acknowledged leader in Cybersecurity solutions. Working with cutting edge technologies to provide concrete, business-relevant technology solutions as both project-based assignments and on-going managed services, along with strategic software sales and integration, SPHERE is one of the fastest growing, woman-owned technology firms in New Jersey. Based in Jersey City, NJ with a global staff, SPHERE has been engaged by numerous Fortune 100 financial, pharmaceutical, transportation, insurance and manufacturing companies in the US and globally.