Mayor Ras J. Baraka and the Newark Community Economic Development Corporation (Newark Community EDC) recently opened the city’s latest Community Storefront Program’s (CSP) retail incubator in the East Ward at 124 Polk St. The CSP cultivates and supports small business and local entrepreneurship throughout Newark’s neighborhoods. Deputy Mayor Baye Adofo-Wilson, director of the Department of Economic and Housing Development and Councilman Augusto Amador also celebrated the new incubator and welcomed the business owners to their retail space.
To date, the CSP has helped launch or advance enterprises ranging from clothing brands to educational programs and commercial services. Program participants gain educational training and firsthand experience in running daily operations. Residents have the opportunity to patronize local establishments that focus on their needs and wants.
“The training that came along with being in the program gave me an opportunity to work on my business and not just in my business,” said Tara Williams-Harrington, managing director and owner of Bricks 4 Kidz® Essex County and CSP participant. “For entrepreneurs in retail it is a great way to learn more about yourself, your business and develop a network. It also does wonders to lift the community when we see people from the community building businesses and being successful.”
“Encouraging entrepreneurs is an important element of our economic development strategy. Those participating in our community storefronts offer products and services Newarkers are looking for,” said Mayor Ras J. Baraka. “We are establishing storefront business incubators in every ward of Newark. The program gives participants the opportunity to work and succeed in their own neighborhoods – when we support our small business owners, we all benefit from their success.”
In June 2015, Newark Community EDC won a $75,000 CommunityWINS grant for the CSP from the U.S. Conference of Mayors and Wells Fargo. The program also received support from Rising Tide Community Capital, the Prudential Foundation and other public and private partners.
“Newark’s innovative retail incubator model has provided a physical location for nearly 50 small business owners, and has helped train more than 100 entrepreneurs around the city,” said Newark Community EDC acting president and CEO Aisha Glover. “Through this fourth community storefront, the City and NCEDC have helped activate vacant spaces in the area and create a pathway to business success, all while empowering entrepreneurs and strengthening the City’s local economy.”
Newark Community EDC’s other storefronts are located at 790 Clinton Ave. (South Ward location); 989 South Orange Ave. (West Ward location) and 216-218 Bloomfield Ave. (North Ward location). The final location will open in the Central Ward on January 30th.Related Articles: