Baraka given national award for helping Newark’s small firms

Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka was awarded the Partner America 2018 Small Business Advocate Award by the U.S. Conference of Mayors at a ceremony Wednesday in Newark.

The award was given in recognition of Baraka’s commitment and work to support Newark’s small business community. It was given by Partner America, a public-private partnership that was created by the U.S. Conference of Mayors to assist mayors in providing the resources and information small businesses need to thrive within their local communities and the global economy.

“I accept this award not for myself, but for every small business owner and entrepreneur in the city of Newark, who has worked with energy and creativity to strengthen Newark’s economy and prosperity,” Baraka said.

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, center, with Newark CEDC CEO Aisha Glover, left, and Partner America Regional Director Hank Locke.

“It is recognition that we are on the right track, that we recognize the central role of small businesses in transforming Newark and that our creative initiatives will contribute to defining the course of our nation’s.”

Baraka was recognized for his innovative programs to strengthen small businesses, including: Shop Newark, Moms who Hustle, retail incubators, shared neighborhood storefronts for retail entrepreneurs, preferences for small contractors in tax-abated development, training small businesses on how to secure city contracts, developing a comprehensive database of local businesses to enable anchor institutions to buy locally and teaching small construction companies how to become developers.

Newark Community Economic Development Corp. CEO and President Aisha Glover said the award recognizes an important part of Baraka’s role as mayor.

“Small businesses are the backbone of Newark’s economy,” she said. “They have an immediate impact on the lives of every Newark resident, they provide many residents with opportunities to be entrepreneurs and their own boss, and career and employment opportunities for residents.”

Earlier this week, Baraka was one of the three mayors who shared the top spot in the ROI Influencers Real Estate 2018 list. Baraka shared the honor with Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop and New Brunswick Mayor Jim Cahill.

The Partner America Program is a U.S. Conference of Mayors small business initiative to provide mayors with best practices, information and support to help grow and sustain local businesses.

The committee is co-chaired by Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor Sly James and Burnsville, Minnesota, Mayor Elizabeth Kautz. Past recipients of this award include Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney; Austin, Texas, Mayor Steve Adler; Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh; and Columbia, South Carolina, Mayor Steve Benjamin, among others.