Upcoming training programs offered in several areas of the State by not-for-profit economic development corporation UCEDC are designed to help develop financial and business literacy for business owners at all stages of maturation. In partnership with the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA), the comprehensive, six-week “Entrepreneurship 101” program walks entrepreneurs through all aspects of starting a business, culminating in the development of a business plan. The EDA’s strategic partnership with UCEDC helps to increase the array of training and technical assistance services available, extending the State’s support of entrepreneurs and small businesses beyond financing.
“Through its relationship with UCEDC, the State has deepened its reach into underserved communities, and expanded access to resources for small business owners and entrepreneurs,” said EDA CEO Melissa Orsen. “Small businesses are vital to New Jersey’s economy, and the Entrepreneurship 101 program in particular, can have a tremendous impact on the viability of a new business.”
In 2015, UCEDC conducted 97 business training workshops, trained or mentored more than 1,900 entrepreneurs, and provided $1.4 million in loans to 65 small businesses, 69 percent of which were minority- or woman-owned enterprises.
UCEDC conducts Entrepreneurship 101 sessions throughout the state. Four sessions have been held in Union, Essex, Morris and Burlington counties over the last year. Summer sessions are scheduled for Jersey City, Hudson County, June 8 – July 13 (in partnership with the Hudson County Office of Minority and Women Business Enterprise) and Cranford, Union County, July 14 – August 23. Details on all upcoming sessions, as well as other UCEDC programs, can be found at www.ucedc.com/events.
“From determining if you have what it takes to own a business, to assessing the strength of your plan and deciding how to structure your enterprise, UCEDC’s Entrepreneurship 101 course will guide you through the steps that will help you launch your business in New Jersey,” said UCEDC President Maureen Tinen. “Our instructors are committed to the success of small businesses, and the expert feedback and mentoring at the heart of this course are invaluable.”
Since 1977, UCEDC has been helping new companies get off the ground, assisting established businesses expanding into new markets, and providing technical support to small businesses and entrepreneurs in all stages of growth.
“Partnering with the State has helped us to expand our programs that provide entrepreneurs with the technical and financial support they need to grow and thrive in New Jersey,” Tinen added.
Recent Entrepreneurship 101 graduate Joanne Allegra plans to open a bakery café in her hometown of Madison. The bakery will feature both classic and contemporary American-style baked goods, catering to both the nostalgic and the foodie. With a focus on fresh, locally-sourced, seasonal produce and only the highest quality ingredients available, the bakery aims to bring to dessert what the farm-to-fork movement has brought to the dinner table.
“The Entrepreneurship 101 program helped me to see how much more there is to owning a bakery than just being a great baker,” said Allegra. “This training has given me much greater confidence in my business model and my ability to manage all aspects of launching and operating a business.”
Another recent graduate, Gwendolyn Monangai, Founder and President of Jonathan Senior Care, plans to open an assisted living residence that sets a new standard in the delivery of holistic Alzheimer’s care.
“Entrepreneurship 101 helped to refine my plan and raised my awareness of potential challenges,” said Monangai. “I firmly believe this preparation will directly impact the success of my venture.”
UCEDC also offers a range of financing vehicles. Through its microloans, SBA 7(a) loans and SBA 504 Commercial Real Estate program, UCEDC can address the needs of small businesses at every stage of their growth. Loan clients receive individualized business mentoring to ensure they stay on their growth track.
In addition to its strategic training and technical assistance partnership, the EDA also provided a $250,000 loan to UCEDC in 2014 through its Loans to Lenders program. The program enables the EDA to make capital available to financial intermediary organizations who can effectively reach small businesses in local markets. UCEDC was able to leverage this loan to support its Community Advantage 7a loan program, designed to encourage business growth and job creation through long-term loans of $50,000 to $250,000 to start-up (in operation less than two years) and established businesses in New Jersey.Related Articles: