June 24, 2024
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June 24, 2024
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Outdoor Jbiz Expo Empowers Businesses

(Courtesy of OJC) The Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce (OJC) based in Lakewood, New Jersey, held its annual Jbiz Expo on Monday, at BlueClaws Stadium in the township. The event brought together business owners, economic leaders, elected officials, and strategists, all working together to restore prosperity and profitability to businesses and communities struggling under the ongoing health crisis.

The OJC has annually held a networking expo to empower business to grow and expand, but this year’s expo was made infinitely more vital—and more difficult to arrange and run safely—by the pandemic. For many businesses, the current Expo provided tools not only for growth, but for survival.

After weeks of preparation, the OJC’s hand-picked all-star lineup of elected officials, business leaders and strategists shared their vision and practical ideas for the way forward in these challenging times.

After Governor Phil Murphy delivered opening remarks, U.S. Assistant Secretary of Labor Mark Zelden presented the keynote session. State Senator Robert Singer, Ocean County Freeholder Director Joe Vicari and Lakewood Mayor Raymond Coles presented as well.

Participants were presented with an array of workshops by top-level successful business people and had valuable opportunities to network with like-minded entrepreneurs and investors. A separate pavilion held Women in the Workforce classes and networking.

The overall momentum of the day was one of camaraderie, positivity, empowerment and confidence. Participants stressed that they did not feel lectured or spoken down to; the presenters and strategists, on all levels, from Governor Murphy and Secretary Zelden to the final presentation, cultivated an air of shoulder-to-shoulder work to rebuild, restart and revitalize the individual businesses, and county, state, and U.S. national economies as a whole. The OJC’s work and advocacy goes far beyond Lakewood, and has been recognized numerous times for its impact on people of all races, religions and communities.

“The Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce’s mission of building communities through commerce was carried out today, by bringing together federal, state and local officials; business leaders; and small business owners—the backbone of the economy,” said John Crisafulli, founder and president of the Central Ocean Business Association. “We were honored to be part of this expo and benefited in great ways.”

“The Expo was a breath of fresh air,” one participant noted. “It drove home the message that it is eminently possible for businesses to thrive in today’s challenging environment.” The access to top-level officials was easy and open. All participants walked away with the personal business card of the assistant secretary of the US Department of Labor, and many other valuable connections.

Governor Murphy thanked the OJC for its continuous efforts on behalf of businesses in the state. “The Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce is an incredible asset and leader in the complex effort of rebuilding the economy,” the governor said. He commended OJC Founder and CEO Duvi Honig for his extraordinary advocacy for businesses and reiterated his personal commitment to the Jewish community as a whole. “I declare that we will not permit this virus to be an excuse to spread hate,” he added.

Assistant Secretary of Labor Mark Zelden announced that forthcoming legislation would make it easier for small and midsize organizations to apply for government grants and funding. Currently, the grant application process is prohibitively complex and costly for all but the largest of national organizations. The OJC has lobbied the Trump Administration extensively for grants to be available, on a simplified basis, for smaller foundations, and Zelden announced that a separate such fund will be established next week, thanks to the OJC’s efforts.

Zelden also presented a personal gift from President Donald and First Lady Melania Trump to Duvi Honig. After delivering the White House’s gratitude and gifted cufflinks, Zelden, whose father is Jewish, received a gift of his own. Honig presented him with a copy of the sefer Parnassa K’halacha, a compendium of Jewish halachic business ethics. Zelden appeared to be overwhelmed with appreciation for the gift, and promised to study it page by page. He acknowledged a great love for Jewish thought, and took time from his busy schedule during the visit to Lakewood for only one other stop—a trip to Judaica Plaza for more volumes to study.

Senator Singer noted that the Expo was a “spectacular event, helping to empower all.” Freeholder Director Vicari thanked Honig for his forward-thinking creativity and empowerment for others, and expressed anticipation for the next Expo, to be held in March. Mayor Coles lauded the event as a platform for economic development and job creation for Lakewood, at a time in which many have nowhere to turn because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Singer, Coles and Vicari joined Honig for the ribbon-cutting ceremony, while Yitz Henkin of Toms River performed “God Bless America.”

Mendy Mirocznik, executive vice president of the OJC, called Honig a visionary, “who cares about people and has one agenda—to forge the best possible relationships between various business stakeholders, to help each succeed and grow.”

“It was incredibly refreshing to meet with local entrepreneurs, and learn how to leverage failure and overcome it,” said Bizfluence co-founder Joel Wohl. “The Jbiz team was professional as always.”

“I met ambitious, inspiring and strong-minded women who are willing to work hard and empower others,” said Esther Lowenbein, who moderated the panel discussion at Women in the Workforce.

The knowledge, information and connections built at the Expo are sure to help kickstart the recovery of the U.S. economy, with each business and individual finding something practical to take home and put into immediate action.

The OJC thanks Reich Jewelers, LTC Consulting and all the corporate sponsors of the Jbiz Expo, who worked hard to ensure the success of the event. It particularly notes the dedication, flexibility and commitment of the BlueClaws stadium administration and staff, who spared no effort to ensure the safety and success of the Expo.

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