UCEDC one of 32 U.S. groups to win SBA grant to help N.J.’s underserved entrepreneurs

UCEDC, a nonprofit economic development corporation based in Cranford, was one of 32 organizations throughout the U.S. to receive a grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Program for Investment in Micro-Entrepreneurs.

The PRIME grants, which total $5 million, will help the organizations continue providing assistance to underserved entrepreneurs and help them gain access to capital and training.

“The SBA really has such a vital role not only in helping small businesses access capital, but also to ensure they have access to the resources and training needed to create healthy, sustainable businesses,” SBA Administrator Linda McMahon said. “This year’s PRIME grant awardees are dedicated to providing underserved entrepreneurs with the necessary tools to strengthen their businesses and create more jobs.”

UCEDC will get a $150,000 grant from the SBA, according SBA New Jersey District Director Al Titone, to help low-income entrepreneurs in New Jersey. It will help strengthen UCEDC’s mentoring programs and develop a new training program that will target low-to-middle income areas throughout the Garden State.

“Although UCEDC is based in Cranford, the organization has a statewide reach and is a much valued economic development partner of the SBA,” Titone said.

Titone said this year’s awards emphasized organizations participating in the SBA’s Community Advantage Program.

“This program provides mission-oriented, nonprofit lenders access to the SBA’s 7(a) loan guarantees to help small businesses that have outgrown micro lending but are not able to access more traditional financing including funding from SBA commercial lending partners,” added Titone.  “UCEDC was one of eight Community Advantage Lenders selected for a PRIME grant award this year.”

This year’s grant recipients come from 24 states and the District of Columbia. The grants range in size from $75,000 to $250,000 and usually require at least 50 percent in matching funds. In total, 111 organizations applied for PRIME grants in 2018.