Celebrating Women’s History

At UCEDC, we have had the pleasure of working with so many talented and successful small businesswomen. In honor of Women’s History Month, we thought we’d share some of their stories with you. Click on the names below to read more.

Dr. Rebecca Mercuri, owner of Notable Software is a leading expert in computer voting systems. Her work was so groundbreaking that back in 1985, years before just about everyone had a home computer, she had to convince academics that computer security was going to be a big deal. In fact, when she proposed it as the subject of her thesis, it was rejected. Undeterred, Dr. Mercuri has since become a forensic computing expert and has often been called as a witness to offer her knowledge and insight on a wide range of civil, municipal, and criminal cases.

Djenaba Johnson-Jones started Hudson Kitchen in Kearny, NJ after a layoff from her corporate job as a Marketing Executive pushed her to pursue her entrepreneurial dreams. When she faced challenges in making her dreams a reality due to a lack of accessible commercial kitchen space, she pivoted and realized a new opportunity.

Djenaba created Hudson Kitchen, a membership-based commercial kitchen that enables other entrepreneurs to run their own successful food-based businesses. In addition to offering a space for small businesses to get off the ground, she has also hosted many workshops and classes that empower and educate entrepreneurs in need of guidance.

Liz Sanchez turned her challenge as a mother into a small business plan and created I Excel Childcare to meet the needs of working parents throughout her community in Perth Amboy, NJ. Her model of offering transportation between local schools and her childcare center was so successful that she needed a working capital loan to scale up immediately. She now runs multiple childcare centers and even has a program where the children who once attended I Excel can get their first job experience working for the center.

Catherine La Vecchia started working on the business plan for her exclusive membership-based barbershop at only 26 years old. At 27, she opened the doors to Presidents Club Barber Shop in Milburn, NJ. Empowered by her youth and inspired by her entrepreneurial step-father, she gave herself five years to make it or break it. With a couple of years left before her deadline and after having survived the most challenging parts of the pandemic, it’s clear that she’s already succeeded in small business.