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State Offers Entrepreneurial Mentoring & Training Program

1,700 entrepreneurs trained & mentored in 2014

Enhancing the state’s commitment to economic growth and entrepreneurial development, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) continued its support of small businesses in 2014 through its partnership with UCEDC.  In 2014, UCEDC trained or mentored more than 1,700 entrepreneurs, conducted 55 business training workshops across the State, and provided $4.1 million in loans to 45 small businesses, 40-percent of which were minority or woman-owned enterprises.

The EDA’s partnership with not-for-profit economic development corporation UCEDC has helped to expand the array of training, technical and financial assistance services available to entrepreneurs and small businesses throughout New Jersey.  The EDA also provided a $250,000 loan to UCEDC in 2014 through its Loans to Lenders program, which allows the Authority to make capital available to financial intermediary organizations who can effectively reach small businesses in local markets.

“The state understands how critical small businesses are to New Jersey’s economy,” said Tim Lizura, EDA President and Chief Operating Officer. “Through its longstanding strategic partnership with UCEDC, the state has deepened its reach into underserved communities, and provided more access to resources for burgeoning entrepreneurs and small business owners.”

UCEDC offers a wide variety of free and low-cost training workshops, including a series of courses that help develop financial and business literacy for business owners at all stages of maturation and a comprehensive program that walks entrepreneurs through all aspects of starting a business, culminating in the development of a business plan. Through its microloans, SBA 7(a) loans and SBA 504 Commercial Real Estate program, UCEDC also offers a range of financing vehicles to address business needs at every stage of growth.  Loan clients receive individualized business mentoring to ensure they stay on their growth track.

“Through its broad continuum of programs, for over 35 years, UCEDC has helped new companies get started, established businesses expand into new markets, and has provided technical support to small businesses and entrepreneurs in all stages of growth,” said UCEDC President Maureen Tinen. “Our partnership with the state has helped us to expand our ability to provide entrepreneurs with the technical and financial support they need to grow their businesses in New Jersey.”

In addition to its business training workshops, UCEDC conducted seven Entrepreneurship 101 classes in 2014, supporting 75 small businesses and entrepreneurs in Cranford, Totowa, Asbury Park, Trenton and Hamilton.

Dianne Grossman, owner of Carpet Girl, is a recent graduate of UCEDC’s Entrepreneurship 101 program.  The Springfield-based business offers flooring project management, featuring sales consultants who make house calls.  “The class was an eye-opener,” she says. “You have no idea what you don’t know until you know it!”

Pastore Music, an instrument and audio equipment retailer and musical lessons studio, is a Union City icon.  But the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy left it cash-poor due to lost customers, threatening its viability and its plans to participate in the creation of an Arts District in the City. UCEDC’s $50,000 storm recovery microloan gave owner Jerry Pastore the working capital he needed.  “There was a culture of performance in this town and it’s important to keep that alive.  UCEDC helped us get back on track and even begin developing new lines of business.” Pastore said.

With EDA support, UCEDC established a satellite office in Camden last year at the Camden Co-Lab, a co-working and business accelerator community for entrepreneurs, businesses, and students.  UCEDC’s business mentors are providing individualized counseling/mentoring services to the Co-Lab’s tenants while presenting workshops at the location for the general small business community.

Other unique partners include the Newark Community Asset Preservation Corporation, which asked UCEDC to conduct specialized entrepreneurial training for emerging local contractors and developers, and the REPENT program, an initiative to provide entrepreneurial training to formerly incarcerated men in Trenton.

For more information on UCEDC, visit www.ucedc.com or call (908) 527-1166. To learn more about opportunities for business growth throughout New Jersey, visit the state’s business portal at www.NewJerseyBusiness.gov or call the Business Action Center at (866) 534-7789.

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Meadowlands USA

Meadowlands USA

Meadowlands USA is a North Jersey regional publication that reaches people who live and work in and around the Meadowlands (including the Bergen, Hudson, Essex and Passaic County corridor), as well as visitors to our region. The blog edition is updated regularly and the print edition is released six times a year.

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