Thirteen small businesses, ranging from a violin studio to a manufacturer, wholesaler and exporter of African food products, were the recent recipients of the annual New Jersey Small Business Development Centers’ Small Business Growth Success Awards.
These businesses were selected by the regional directors of the 13 NJSBDC locations throughout the state based on company growth, according to Kelly Brozyna, state director and CEO of the NJSBDC.
The 13 2021 winners, along with the 2020 winners (who were honored virtually two years ago), were recognized at a ceremony held at Forsgate Country Club in Monroe Township. “The pandemic hit small businesses hard in our state, but with our clients’perseverance and NJSBDC’s guidance and support, these businesses have recovered and are paving the path to resiliency,” Brozyna said.
The 2021 winners include:
Discussing the results of a recent NJSBDC survey, Brozyna said small businesses need access to capital. To that end, the NJSBDC put together a Capital Team that is designed solely to enhance entrepreneurs’ access to funding. “The individuals on the team are CPAs, business bankers and brokers, and other financial people,” Brozyna said. “We already have a ton of financing in the pipeline for small businesses in a short period of time. … We are happy about that.”
Other issues based on survey results included e-commerce, cybersecurity, labor and supply chain concerns.
To help NJSBDC clients in these and other areas, Brozyna said, “We are trying to be proactive and not reactive. We are offering a lot more workshops based on business needs.”
She added that the NJSBDC is “shifting back to basics” in working with and helping businesses. “There is so much potential moving into the future of where the NJSBDC is going. In three-years time, I guarantee you that we will be one of the best SBDC networks in the nation,” she said.
The national Small Business Development Center program is part of the US Small Business Administration (SBA). Here in New Jersey, the SBA has been working closely with the NJSBDCs thanks to the SBA New Jersey District office, which, for the past 11 years, was headed by Al Titone, who retired on Dec. 22.
Titone told New Jersey Business Magazine that his proudest achievements these past 11 years included enhancing the SBA presence in Southern New Jersey by hiring new staff for the region and that 50% of SBA lending went to women and minority-owned businesses during his time as director.
Under his tenure, the NJ-SBA district office also reported five lending records for the state. In fiscal year 2021, the district office broke $1.3 billion in lending, all of it non-COVID related.
“It’s been a great ride. Ever since I came here, I received a lot of support from the business community as well as elected officials,” Titone said.
(Note: New Jersey Business Magazine wishes Al Titone a happy retirement and thanks him for his years of editorial contributions to the magazine regarding small business issues and the work of the SBA.)
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