UCEDC is excited to announce that we have completed the first session of our Virtual Incubator Program (VIP). Through this program, developed in collaboration with UCEDC’s Diversity Advisory Committee, selected businesses with ownership from underserved populations received mentorship, training, and funds to help meet the challenges of this moment. While diverse businesses have struggled to find resources in the current economic climate, UCEDC’s goal is to provide them with the support they need.
Our first session was comprised of twelve businesses from across New Jersey, ranging from food service to STEM tutoring. The initial group of entrepreneurs was enthusiastic and committed to their own and each other’s success. Jewel Domino of BelleJohns’ Soul Food notes the other VIP business owners continue to send her leads on business opportunities. She says, “they’re still telling me about events. I’m still getting Instagram messages from them saying, ‘Jewel do you know about this event over here?’ In fact, we got an event in Jersey City because of one of them.”
Based on initial feedback, they are all putting what they learned to good use. Randall Toby, who has since been featured here on FOX 26 Philadelphia for his Breakfast With Our Boys Series, said the VIP program helped him to develop strategic partnerships, go after government contracts, and know his competition. He says it was “the most amazing program he’s ever been a part of” and that the VIP “forces you to do a self-assessment, know who you are, and be accountable for what you’re doing.” Meanwhile, Hilda Mera of S&A Auto Repair reports that the program has helped her to go after and gain three new contracts with fleet companies whose cars they will now be servicing.
To learn more about the VIP, and hear Lakeisha Littles, owner of You Fitness talk about her personal experience as a program participant, we encourage you to watch her interview with Joe Lamberti, UCEDC’s Director of Training below.
We are currently seeking corporate sponsors for the VIP program. If you are interested or would like more information, please reach out to UCEDC President Adam Farrah at firstname.lastname@example.org.