By Rana Shanawani
Ridgewood NJ, people move to New Jersey for many reasons: beaches and boardwalks, diverse culture, family friendly atmosphere, great schools and of course fabulous food. But until recently, NJ has been making noise for all the wrong reasons as the only state in the nation that prohibits small business owners from making and selling baked goods using a home kitchen (vs. commercial kitchen). As the Executive Director for the Women’s Center for Entrepreneurship, it is my passion to work with small businesses and I have focused my efforts on helping women and BIPOC entrepreneurs impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic gain access to critical resources to help them succeed. This draconian law created excessive barriers to entry for thousands of small business owners who relied on selling home baked cookies, cakes, pies and other tasty treats to earn a living for themselves and their families. But finally, with the help of the New Jersey Home Bakers Association, advocates and key lawmakers, NJ has lifted its ban and reformed this half-baked law, providing a glimmer of hope for struggling solopreneurs, fempreneurs and BIPOC entrepreneurs across the state.