Annual Highlights 2013
While 2012 ended with businesses shell-shocked from the effects of Sandy, 2013 epitomized the ‘Jersey Strong’ spirit, with physical and economic rebuilding efforts throughout the state. UCEDC was there every step of the way with innovative lending programs, expanded training initiatives, and rock-solid procurement assistance.
We’re Number 1!
It’s common knowledge that small businesses are the economic engine of the U.S. economy, (88% of small businesses in New Jersey employ fewer than 5 people) but what may not be so well-known is the power of microloans to get those small businesses started, growing and thriving. UCEDC has worked long and hard to serve fledgling entrepreneurs and hard-working business owners, and 2013 yielded our greatest success!
We were proud to be recognized by the US SBA as New Jersey’s 2013 leading microlender at the SBA Annual Lenders Awards Ceremony. We topped New Jersey’s other lenders in fiscal year 2013 (Oct 1 – Sept 30) by lending $2 million in microloans to 71 small businesses. Our calendar year figures tell an even more impressive story: 92 microloans for a total of $2.4 million.
The microloan program provides loans up to $50,000 to help small businesses and certain not-for-profit childcare centers to start-up andexpand when they can’t qualify for conventional lending. We reached the top ranking by creating the Storm Recovery Loan Program to help businesses impacted by Hurricane Sandy. Made possible by support from Investors Bank and the Hurricane Sandy NJ Relief Fund, this 2%, no collateral working capital loan helped sustain the economic anchors of storm-devastated communities throughout the state.
With the addition of our first SBA 504 commercial real estate loan, several Community Advantage 7a loans and our Line of Credit program for Union County businesses, we achieved a historic lending level in 2013: 102 approved loans for close to $4 million. With our help, over 800 much-needed jobs were created or retained.
The Next Big Thing
2013 was a banner year for our Training and Technical Assistance division. Our Entrepreneurship 101 workshops, held throughout the state, attracted our highest caliber of start-up and early-stage businesses ever. A high-end wood-working company, personal training service, a variety of food-based enterprises, family entertainment center, coffee roaster, paint store, college application matching service, public relations and marketing agency, Mercedes repair shop, and everything in-between were represented in our intensive six-week programs.
Offered in partnership with the Mercer County Office of Economic Development, Interfaith Neighbors Business Development Center, and Main Street Atlantic City, and supported in part by Investors Bank and Wells Fargo, our entrepreneurial training initiatives were both a reality check and confidence booster for dozens of would-be business owners. And to help with the expenses in starting a new business, we established a low-interest Business Builder Loan Program, offered exclusively to our Entrepreneurship
Way Down South
Being a statewide economic development corporation is both a privilege and a challenge. We’re proud to be able to help small business owners throughout New Jersey and to serve the diverse needs of our state’s distinct regions. Making our services convenient and accessible to as many clients as possible is our ongoing goal. And we took a giant step toward that goal in 2013 with the establishment of new strategic partnerships in South Jersey.
We now have home bases for entrepreneurial training, business workshops and personalized business counseling in Atlantic City, Vineland and Salem. These three locations join our already-established location in Asbury Park. And we’ve joined forces with new partners in Camden for customized training programs.
Thanks to these new satellite offices as well as our ongoing strategic partnerships, we delivered over 1,000 counseling hours and presented over 50 training workshops in 2013.
Building on the success of the first Quick Pitch Business Competition and the quality of our Entrepreneurship 101 graduates, we held two Quick Pitch competitions in 2013. Supported by Capital One Bank, the competition gives our grads the opportunity to work directly with a business banking expert to refine their business proposal. Then they make a short presentation, or “quick pitch” to a panel of judges, with the winner receiving a $1,000 grant from Capital One.
Our two winners shared common traits: a passionate belief in their business concept; a commitment to work as hard and as long as needed to achieve success; and a willingness to respond quickly to market forces. On the other hand, their early-stage businesses were completely different from each other, clearly demonstrating that sound business principles and practices transcend industry and field.
Dulce Tanelli of Union won the year’s first competition with her pitch for Younique Probiotics, a line of cultured vegetable products intended to aid digestion and build immunity. Dulce was inspired to start her business after she embarked on a personal diet and wellness journey in 2007.
The second competition of the year went to Maureen Shaffer of Ocean Grove for Mingletoe, a business strategy consulting firm for early- and growth-stage medtech companies. Maureen started her business after spending 25 years in senior corporate positions in the medtech industry.
Contractor Wins Different Type of Award
UCEDC’s Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) has helped small businesses penetrate the often confusing world of government contracting and win billions of dollars in contracts over the years with over 25 free trainings per year and hundreds of hours of free counseling. In 2013, our PTAC team was particularly proud to learn that one of its long-time clients won a different type of government award as one of the government’s top suppliers – the Recognition for Excellence Bronze Award from the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) Land and Maritime.
Mack Boring and Parts Company, a UCEDC client since 2000, supplies diesel engine parts used in generators for various ground support equipment for the Department of Defense and other agencies. The company, which has been a DLA vendor for four years, won the award for meeting stringent quality and delivery requirements established by the DLA.
PTAC worked with hundreds of clients like Mack Boring in 2013, helping to win $200 million in government contracts and creating/retaining 4,000 jobs.