Thirteen small business owners and entrepreneurs from across New Jersey, representing diverse industry sectors, ranges of employment and revenue, and backgrounds, were recognized for their outstanding development and growth with the assistance provided by NJSBDC’s business experts at the New Jersey Small Business Development Centers’ (NJSBDC) Annual Small Business Growth Awards on Friday, Feb. 17.
“The NJSBDC lives for small businesses, and the Small Business Growth Success Awards is our opportunity to show our clients how much we appreciate not only their hard work and resilience but their trust in us to help them take their businesses to the next level,” said Kelly Brozyna, NJSBDC’s CEO and State Director. She continued, ” Rounding out our 45th year of helping New Jersey’s businesses succeed and helping to grow New Jersey’s economy is icing on top of a very rewarding cake.”
Here are the profiles of 2022 NJSBDC Small Business Awardees:
Calle Driving School’s owner Ana Calle worked as an instructor at a driving school for more than five years and saw a market for Hispanic-focused instructional services. Calle launched Calle Driving School, based in Succasunna, in October of 2021 and came to the NJSBDC at Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU) for everything from business planning to navigating the permits and licenses needed from the Department of Motor Vehicles. Calle Driving School is now fully operational. Calle Driving School is the NJSBDC at Fairleigh Dickinson University’s 2022 Small Business Success Awardee for Hunterdon, Morris, Sussex, and Warren counties.
Child’s Play Challenge Courses, co-owned by Lauren and Matthew Borawski, is a Scotch Plains-based kid’s obstacle course that is portable, bringing the action to their clients’ backyards or event locations. In 2018, Lauren Borawski met with the NJSBDC at Kean University team to receive guidance on management, hiring, workers’ comp, contracts, taxes, expenses, and payroll. Since then, Child’s Play has moved beyond the kid’s party of choice to an elaborate, multi-faceted obstacle course extravaganza uniting friends, family, co-workers, and participants of all ages from areas all over the community. Child’s Play Challenge Courses is the NJSBDC at Kean University’s 2022 Small Business Success Awardee for Somerset and Union counties.
GeoGreens, an indoor vertical hydroponics vertical farm based in Hamilton, was formed in 2014 by Desmond Hayes to change how food is grown and distributed while reconnecting people with the story of food from “farm to fork.” The goal at GeoGreens is not only to conserve energy and reduce water usage, but to provide more nutrient-rich foods to people of all ages and ethnicities, especially those in food-insecure areas and minority communities. GeoGreens operates out of its 2,000-square-foot facility, which produces 1-2 tons of produce monthly, and is one of the only indoor farms nationwide to accept SNAP benefits. The company is the NJSBDC at Brookdale Community College’s 2022 Small Business Success Awardee for Monmouth and Ocean counties.
LesbiVeggies’ owner Brennah Lambert began her journey of opening a business cooking vegan and gluten-free meals for her friends and family and blossomed into an online vegan meal-prep and catering service in 2017. The NJSBDC at Rutgers University–Camden has helped Lambert with business expansion, including tax advice, registration, financial projections, marketing, and general counsel since May 2018. In 2021, Lambert opened her restaurant, with plans to open more locations as her brand grows. Audubon-based LesbiVeggies is the NJSBDC at Rutgers University–Camden’s 2022 Small Business Success Awardee for Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, and Salem counties.
M4 Transportation, LLC, owned by Melania Osorio, is a family-operated business based in Trenton that provides employee transportation services for warehouses, stores, and other companies. Osorio came to the NJSBDC at The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) for help with her business in 2021. The NJSBDC team helped her with improving business operations and administrative functions. With help from the NJSBDC, M4 increased its sales by 300%, despite challenges from COVID-19. M4 Transportation, LLC is the NJSBDC at The College of NJ’s 2022 Small Business Success Awardee for Mercer County.
Melissa Dream Enterprises, Corp., based inJersey City, NJ, is owned by Melissa Courtney. In August 2022, Courtney came to the NJSBDC at New Jersey City University for assistance with her business. Together, they created a roadmap that resulted in her taking advantage of a contract opportunity and an invitation to participate in the NJSTART program. Melissa Dream Enterprises, Corp. is the NJSBDC at New Jersey City University’s 2022 Small Business Success Awardee for Hudson County.
Miami Global Lines (MGL), founded by Syed Hamid Husssaini, is an indirect Air Freight Carrier, a licensed Non-Vessel Operating Common Carrier, and a licensed, bonded Broker and Freight Forwarder in Piscataway. Hussaini first came to the NJSBDC at Rutgers University–New Brunswick team in 2019 for guidance with restructuring his business and expanding his company’s outreach across the globe, leading MGL to become a franchiser. Miami Global Lines (MGL) is the NJSBDC at Rutgers University–New Brunswick’s 2022 Small Business Success Awardee for Middlesex County.
OSAR Solutions’ owner and founder, Damon Suggs launched his Newark-based minority-owned small business in November 2015. OSAR delivers expert procurement services to private and public sector clients. OSAR came to the NJSBDC at Rutgers University–Newark to get assistance with contracting opportunities. With the help of the NJSBDC team, OSAR completed its SBE, MBE, and federal Disadvantaged Small Business certifications, which helped it secure contracts totaling $1.5 million from the cities of Newark and, Philadelphia. OSAR Solutions is the NJSBDC at Rutgers University–Newark’s 2022 Small Business Success Awardee for Essex County.
Tripician’s Macaroons is a retail bakery and confectionary in Galloway specializing in Macaroons. It was founded in 1910 on the Atlantic City Boardwalk and owned by Cindy Lakes. Lakes reached out to the NJSBDC at Stockton University in March 2019 to get marketing help and discuss growth plans. With the help of the NJSBDC at Stockton team, Tripician’s Macaroons created marketing platforms and a marketing calendar that helped the business increase its customer base and revenue. Tripician’s Macaroons is the NJSBDC at Stockton University’s 2022 Small Business Success Awardee for Atlantic, Cape May, and Cumberland counties.
Your Dreamwall®, owned by Marcela Tapiero and based in Prospect Park, is a woman-owned business that has taken the vision board to new heights. After realizing that typical vision boarding was made from random magazine clippings, creating a big mess, Tapiero created a patented product and planned to change the game. With the NJSBDC at William Paterson University’s (WPU) assistance, she received MBE, WBE, and SBE certifications and obtained contracts in various states. Your Dreamwall® doubled its revenue and clientele in 2022 and has plans to launch with national retailers in 2023. Your Dreamwall® is the NJSBDC at William Paterson University’s 2022 Small Business Success Awardee for Passaic County.
Zuted Vintage is owned by Army Veteran Terrell Person and has worked with the NJSBDC at Ramapo College of NJ team to relocate his trendy retail selling hand-picked 80s, 90s, and 00s apparel and sneakers from the King of Prussia Mall, PA, to the American Dream Mall in East Rutherford. Terrel also worked with the NJSBDC team on his business model, lease negotiations, and marketing/ financing options. Zuted Vintage has successfully moved to the American Dream Mall and is expanding its footprint in Bergen County. Zuted Vintage is the NJSBDC at Ramapo College of NJ’s 2022 Small Business Success Awardee for Bergen County.
The NJSBDC’s 2022 Tech Business of the Year was awarded to Small Factory Innovations, Inc., a Monmouth Beach-based company that uses technology to devise engaging solutions to meet the social, emotional, and behavioral needs of students in K-12 general, special, and transition vocational education programs. Owner Christopher Dudick, a long-time NJSBDC client and previous Success Awardee, reached out to the NJSBDC for expert assistance with a Phase II grant proposal for a new, cutting-edge product that uses previously discarded data to make a significant impact in the field of behavioral and learning analytics. Dudick and the NJSBDC team successfully submitted their proposal and await news of a second National Science Foundation (NSF) award for their product.
The NJSBDC’s 2022 Small Business of the Year was awarded to Bandel Group, Inc. of West Milford. The Bandel Group provides small business consulting, working with businesses that need a strategic push. With the help of the NJSBDC’s Capital Team, owner John Bandel secured funding to acquire substantial commercial real estate in NJ for The Bandel Group, Inc.
The event also presented several NJSBDC Team Member and Advocate Awards, including the Consultant of the Year Award to Barbara Boyington of the NJSBDC at Brookdale Community College. The NJSBDC also awarded Judith Sheft of the New Jersey Commission on Science, Innovation, and Technology (CSIT), with the Diamond Community Partner of the Year for her tireless work towards helping the state’s technology and innovative businesses.
The awards ceremony was held at the Forsgate Country Club in Monroe Township and attracted more than 265 attendees, including small business owners.
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