Diverse business owners have historically encountered many obstacles to success. To battle these injustices, UCEDC’s Board of Trustees developed the Virtual Incubator Program (VIP). The VIP will allow 10 businesses with ownership from an underserved population the opportunity to sustain themselves through these trying economic times by offering education and access to capital.
The VIP will provide the benefits businesses would get from a traditional business incubator in a virtual setting, in addition to providing capital to these entrepreneurs upon completion of the program. While businesses have struggled to find resources in the current economic climate, our goal is to provide them with the support they need. The program will include virtual training sessions, group, and one-on-one mentoring. Upon completion of the incubator program, participants will receive forgivable loans of up to $10,000 at 0% interest.
Qualifications to Apply
- Business must have majority ownership by an under-served individual or group of individuals (Black, Hispanic, LGBTQ, Veteran, Asian, Native American)
- Business must be located and perform the majority of their operations in New Jersey
- Must be in business for 2 years (forced closure from pandemic does not count)
- Must have been operating profitably, or at break-even, prior to the pandemic
- Must be willing to participate fully in the program as outlined below. Failure to fully participate will result in removal from the program and disqualification of funding.
Program Process and Curriculum
1. Training Workshops
a. Week 1: Business Assessment
b. Week 3: Marketing Strategy
c. Week 5: Basic Financial Statements & Profitability
d. Week 7: Projecting Financial Results & Sustainability
2. Group Counseling
a. Week 2: Group Counseling Session – Business Assessment examples (applied learning)
b. Week 4: Group Counseling Session – Marketing Strategy examples (applied learning)
c. Week 6: Group Counseling Session – Basic Financial Statements examples (applied learning)
d. Week 8: Group Counseling Session – Projecting Financial Results examples (applied learning)
3. On-going Mentoring
a. Week 9 forward: One-on-One Counseling & Mentoring on a monthly basis through the life of the forgivable loan
b. One-on-One sessions will include the additional assistance of a guest counselor/SME, when possible and where appropriate
c. Guest counselors will be professionals such as Attorneys, Accountants, Insurance Agents, and Bankers.