It’s no secret that the nation’s economy was moving at glacial speed toward recovery in 2011 and New Jersey’s situation was no different. UCEDC rose to the small business development challenge with new loan products, results-driven entrepreneurial training and a continuing commitment to government contracting assistance.
A hallmark of 2011 lending was reaching the Lucky 13 level – since its inception, UCEDC has loaned a total of $13.021million to start-ups and existing businesses throughout NJ, helping to fund $167 million in projects and create/retain close to 5,000 jobs.
That achievement was helped along this year when UCEDC was chosen to be one of only 30 lenders throughout the nation to offer the SBA’s 7(a) Community Advantage Loan product. This innovative program, offering loans up to $250,000 is designed to encourage business growth in under-served communities.
Small Business: The Next Generation
They’re sometimes referred to as Generation Y or the Millenials, but to UCEDC, they’re the next generation of small business entrepreneurs. Young people are starting and building small businesses throughout New Jersey, and in 2011, UCEDC was able to help two new ventures get off the ground.
Ensign Ice Cream, a Jersey shore ice cream operation, was started by two freshly minted college grads, building on their summer job experiences. Ryan Downie and Nick Musumeci leveraged their own money, sweat equity and a microloan from UCEDC into additional trucks and better routes. That investment paid off during the 2011 summer and the two owners were able to pay off their microloan in less than a year!
Graduation is still a year off for Farleigh Dickinson University juniors Joseph Getts and Matthew Fishman, but that hasn’t stopped them from launching Click-a-Flick, a DVD/Video Game rental kiosk business on the FDU campus.
The two Entrepreneurial Studies majors have the backing of the University, a $2,000 grant from an alumni group, and a UCEDC microloan to fund the purchase of the kiosk and inventory. The two plan to invest any profits into broadening the reach and activities of Launchpad, the student entrepreneurship organization they co-founded.
With 185 business and financial literacy sessions held throughout New Jersey, UCEDC’s training division helped thousands of small businesses get and stay on track.
For those looking for a more intensive experience, the eight-week Entrepreneurial Training Initiative (ETI) was the answer – four ETI sessions were conducted in 2011, giving dozens of small businesses the jump start they needed. The New Jersey Economic Development Authority, which funds the ETI program, was so pleased with the results that it awarded UCEDC another three-year contract.
Olive Lynch knew she was onto something big when she began developing her company, Green Waste Technologies, two years ago. The innovative concept behind the company is the use of fly larvae to convert food waste into biofuel. Lynch wanted to make sure she was seeing both the big picture and small details of business ownership so she enrolled in UCEDC’s Entrepreneurial Training Initiative.
With seven weeks of intensive instruction and personal mentorship from UCEDC’s training staff under her belt, Lynch produced a solid business plan to guide her operations. So solid in fact that she has gone on to win two statewide business plan competitions, earning her thousands of dollars in business services and products and the interest of angel investors.
Savvy small business owners are always looking for ways to build revenue and UCEDC’s Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) is the go-to resource for government contracting assistance.
Through its individualized counseling, bid-match service, and free workshops, PTAC helped local businesses obtain $200 million in government contracts. These awards led to the creation or retention of 3,700 much-needed jobs.
When WinceyCo owner, Wincey Terry-Bryant became interested in mining new business opportunities to expand her arts education programs and services, she turned to UCEDC’s PTAC. The program helped Terry-Bryant customize her company’s services, enter into the bid matching service and provided training and assistance for preparing and submitting a bid to win government contracts.
With PTAC’s help, Terry-Bryant is providing educational, motivational and inspirational music-based instruction for children in school districts throughout New Jersey. Her work, which emphasizes empowerment, anti-drug and violence, and academic achievement messages, recently earned her a spot in New Jersey Monthly Magazine’s list of Leading Women Entrepreneurs and Business Owners.