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originally published: 19.11.2022

United Way of Greater Newark awarded funds to support small business education program

(NEWARK, NJ) — United Way from Greater Newark received a $30,000 grant from Santander Bank to support technical support for small businesses through Greater Newark Enterprises Corporation’s BackStop program.

The BackStop program explores three avenues small businesses can enroll in to improve their backend systems and processes. The year-long courses teach accounting, building business credit and branding, website and digital marketing. United Way of Greater Newark, Greater Newark Enterprises Corporation and other Newark Asset Building Coalition partners identified these ways as most beneficial to small businesses.

“United Way of Greater Newark is connected to the community and understands the needs of those we serve – including small businesses,” UWGN President and CEO Catherine Wilson. “This knowledge is key to collaborating and supporting initiatives like the BackStop program. Working with Greater Newark Enterprises Corporation allows us to provide critical education services to improve sustainability for small businesses in a post-pandemic world.”

Both the United Way of Greater Newark and the Greater Newark Enterprises Corporation have supported small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. United Way helped facilitate emergency relief through its Small Business Grants Program, while Greater Newark Enterprises Corporation provided loans to micro-businesses. During the application and funding process, United Way found that 35 percent of applicants were ineligible for assistance because they lacked various technical components essential to running a business.

“We were disappointed when we had to turn away business owners who met the eligibility criteria because of gaps in their applications,” said UWGN Director of Financial Stability Danielle Corea-Smith. “Some companies could not provide the correct financial information or proof of liability insurance, for example. I realized there was room to support some of these owners to hone their hard skills in financial management, accounting and other areas.”

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The application processes highlight serious issues that prevent small businesses from receiving support and hampering their long-term chances of sustainability. Filling in these necessary technical gaps was the driving force behind the BackStop program.

“At GNEC we understand that running a business is a complicated task, so with the help of UWGN we developed BackStop to allow entrepreneurs to focus on their strengths while providing experts to help them with back-office tasks , entrepreneurs may not have the skills or time to undertake this,” said GNEC Managing Director Victor Salama. “Our three pillars enable micro-entrepreneurs to weather tough economic times and position themselves for growth.”

The BackStop program costs companies $300 for each year-long track and can be applied for by contacting Program Director Al Alvarez at [email protected] or by calling 973-242-5564. The accounting track comes with a 1 year QuickBooks online license and 50 hours of accounting services provided by local companies. The Building Business Credit Track provides access to Dun and Bradstreet CreditBuilder Basic and teaches how to properly use these services. The Branding, Website and Digital Marketing track focuses on website design, social media practice and educational tools to improve communication.

In the first year of the program, eight companies signed up for Track 1 and five for Track 2. Track 3 on branding was recently released and is now accepting applications.

“There are a lot of really passionate people who are entrepreneurs or small business owners, and sometimes those are the small parts that can keep them from achieving their dreams,” Corea-Smith said. “They’re the ones I see supporting programs like this. This program can help make someone’s dream come true.”

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