SBA Awards $300,000 in PRIME Grants to Help Emerging Micro-entrepreneurs in NJ Gain Access to Capital

Two New Jersey community-based organizations that provide assistance to disadvantaged entrepreneurs are set to receive a combined $300,000 in grants from the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Program for Investment in Micro-Entrepreneurs (PRIME).

UCEDC of Cranford and Rising Tide Capital of Jersey City will each receive a $150,000 grant to help low-income entrepreneurs gain access to capital to establish and expand their small businesses.

This year’s 34 recipients come from 24 states and the District of Columbia.  The grants come from a pool of $5 million made available from the SBA and range from $55,000 to $250,000. Typically, the SBA requires at least 50 percent in matching funds or in-kind contributions.  In total, 147 organizations applied for PRIME awards for 2017.

“One of my goals as Administrator is to revitalize the agency and raise its profile, and in turn, revitalize a spirit of entrepreneurship in America,” said Administrator Linda McMahon.  “Our aim at the SBA is to encourage entrepreneurship that helps build the confidence, skills and resources that entrepreneurs need to start or grow businesses, to invest in their communities, to create jobs, and to grow our economy.  I am proud to be part of an agency that provides assistance and support to organizations that help emerging entrepreneurs who lack sufficient training and education to gain access to capital to establish and expand their small businesses.”

“New Jersey is fortunate to have two highly respected and regarded community-based organizations dedicated to ensuring that micro-entrepreneurs, from all walks of life, have the opportunity to thrive and succeed in our state,” said SBA New Jersey District Director Al Titone. “The primary focus of this program is to spur economic development and growth in low and moderate income areas.”

With its PRIME award of $150,000, Rising Tide Capital will continue this past year’s PRIME-funded expansion of its nationally-recognized Community Business Academy and year-round Business Acceleration Services programs to serve 120 entrepreneurs, encompassing 95 Low-to- Middle Income individuals and nearly 3,400 hours of training and technical assistance. Additionally, the proposed PRIME-funded program will continue the outreach and services to ex-offenders that began in 2016, ensuring that at least 60 ex-offenders are served by the program.

UCEDC an SBA Microlender, Community Advantage and Certified Development Company lender, will utilize its PRIME award of $150,000, to help provide financing and expand its current level of mentoring activity and develop new training curriculum to help further target its services to reach more entrepreneurs in Low-to-Middle Income areas in the state. UCEDC will also put a special focus on supporting entrepreneurship among ex-offenders in the criminal justice system and build on past successes in this area.

The SBA placed special emphasis in this year’s competition on projects that will offer training and technical assistance to strengthen cooperative forms of business, particularly those that service economically disadvantaged entrepreneurs.  Six organizations received funding to specifically target cooperative small businesses.

This year’s awards also emphasized organizations participating in the SBA’s Community Advantage Program.  This program provides mission-oriented, nonprofit lenders access to the SBA’s 7(a) loan guarantees to help small businesses that have outgrown microlending, but are not able to access more traditional financing including funding from SBA commercial lending partners.  Eight Community Advantage Lenders were selected for PRIME awards.

PRIME was created by Congress as part of the Program for Investment in Microentrepreneurs Act of 1999.  Grant funds will be made available on September 30, 2017, and the project period for each grant is one year.

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