CAMDEN, NJ — A concept two years in the making working to jumpstart business in Camden, became a reality this past week when a local non-profit's sleek new portal went live.

The first phase of WeBuyCamden.com, described by the Camden Business Association (CBA) as a business database and local procurement and purchasing portal, provides an overview of business offerings in the city large and small.

Although in the early stages, CBA Vice President Nichelle Pace said its already leaps and bounds ahead of anything the city has had in the past — and will work to include small and micro-businesses more in the area’s economic development.

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“We’ve never had this much of a snapshot,” Pace told TAPinto Camden immediately following the launch. “It’s a good start, but there’s much more in the works.”

Over the next two months, the CBA will refine that picture further, by doing in-person and online outreach with businesses in Camden.

Pace said the initial phase is supported by Camden Works, Cooper’s Ferry Partnership and the Haddon Avenue Business Association (HABA).

“Having this portal in the city of Camden is a crucial step in the city’s economic development. Local, large, small and micro businesses can now be identified all in one place,” said CBA President, Ray Jones. “This will be monumental to the Camden Business community as a whole, large and small, and it will give the large companies and anchor institutions a consolidated resource for the many goods and services they outsource every year.”

Jones noted that the portal is a boon for any business looking at what’s being outsourced in the city, as well have a chance to get their bid in the door.

The hub’s home page has three options to click through: Business Directory, Local Purchasing and Procurement, and an Events Calendar. 

Pace said it would behoove businesses and entrepreneurs in Camden to verify that they are “all buttoned up” as CBA representatives work to canvas neighborhoods to verify site information. 

“Everything from menus, to their capability statement of goods and services, and other materials,” she said. “We also plan to have workshops to make sure everyone levels up, crosses their t’s and dots their i’s.”

The second phase of the initiative will comprise a B2B procurement and purchasing option, and introduce the Invest Camden Council (ICC). 

The ICC will include a group of supplier diversity, procurement and purchasing leaders from top corporations and institutions who operate in Camden and are looking to “sync efforts” in local procurement and purchasing. 

“I am committed to inclusive prosperity and want all Camden based businesses to take full advantage of our city’s sustained growth,” said Camden Mayor Frank Moran. “Our small businesses community is at the heart of the city’s economy, and they provide the services that larger corporations need.  This website will help facilitate those connections to opportunities while ensuring diversity. This is another step towards creating meaningful business to business interactions for all types of businesses.”

The WeBuyCamden.com project was highlighted in the CBA’s 2020 Small Business Advocacy Plan — which keys in on statistics from the U.S. SBA Office of Advocacy 2019 NJ Small Business Profile.

The profile cites that small businesses in New Jersey employ 1.8 million people (49.8% of state employees), add more than 61,000 net jobs annually, with firms of 20 employees or fewer (micro businesses) experiencing the largest gains with over 40,000 net jobs created in a year.

“This new portal is the type of innovation that is crucial to the City of Camden’s continued growth. Connecting Camden’s small businesses with larger opportunities will build and strengthen the local economy,” said Congressman Donald Norcross. “I look forward to seeing the positive impact this initiative has on not only Camden’s businesses, but our community as a whole.”

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