UCEDC, a nonprofit economic development corporation based in Cranford, was one of 32 community-based organizations across the United States to receive a combined $5 million in grants from the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Program for Investment in Micro-Entrepreneurs (PRIME). The PRIME grants will help each organization to continue providing assistance to underserved entrepreneurs to gain access to training and capital in their local communities.
“The SBA really has such a vital role not only in helping small businesses access capital, but also to ensure they have access to the resources and training needed to create healthy, sustainable businesses,” SBA Administrator Linda McMahon said. “This year’s PRIME grant awardees are dedicated to providing underserved entrepreneurs with the necessary tools to strengthen their businesses and create more jobs.”
According to SBA New Jersey District Director Al Titone, UCEDC will receive a $150,000 grant from the SBA to help low-income entrepreneurs in New Jersey. The grant will go toward strengthening UCEDC’s mentoring programs and help with the development of a new training curriculum that will target Low-to-Middle Income (LMI) areas throughout New Jersey. “Although UCEDC is based in Cranford, the organization has a statewide reach and is a much valued economic development partner of the SBA,” said Titone. “SBA’s longstanding relationship with UCEDC dates back over 20 years when the organization first became an SBA micro lender.”
Since that time, UCEDC has added SBA’s Community Advantage and 504 loan programs to their offerings for New Jersey small business owners. “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 micro lending but are not able to access more traditional financing including funding from SBA commercial lending partners,” added Titone. “UCEDC was one of eight Community Advantage Lenders selected for a PRIME grant award this year.”
This year’s 32 recipients come from 24 states and the District of Columbia. The grants range from $75,000 to $250,000 and typically require at least 50 percent in matching funds or in-kind contributions. In total, 111 organizations applied for PRIME grants for 2018.
Titone also noted the SBA placed special emphasis in this year’s competition on projects that will offer training and technical assistance to strengthen economically disadvantaged businesses, particularly those that service entrepreneurs in rural areas and HubZones.
PRIME was created by Congress as part of the Program for Investment in the Micro-Entrepreneurs Act of 1999. Grant funds were made available on September 30, 2018, and the project period for each grant is one year.
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