United Way of Greater Newark Receives Small Business Education Funding

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By: Yuritza Arroyo

United Way of Greater Newark received a $30,000 grant from Santander Bank to support technical assistance provided to small businesses through the Greater Newark Enterprises Corporation’s BackStop program.

According to officials, the BackStop program explores three avenues small businesses can enroll in to improve their back-end systems and processes.

Officials say one-year tracks teach bookkeeping, building business credit and branding, website and digital marketing.

“United Way of Greater Newark is deeply connected to the community and understands the needs of those we serve, including small businesses,” said Catherine Wilson, President and CEO of UWGN.

“This knowledge is essential to collaborate and support initiatives such as the BackStop program. Working with the Greater Newark Enterprises Corporation enables us to provide crucial educational services to improve the sustainability of small businesses in a post-pandemic world.

United Way of Greater Newark and Greater Newark Enterprises Corporation provided assistance to small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

United Way has helped facilitate emergency relief with its small business grant program, while the Greater Newark Enterprises Corporation has provided micro-business loans.

During the application and funding process, United Way found that 35% of applicants were ineligible for assistance because they lacked various technical components to run a business.

“We were disappointed when we had to turn away business owners who met the eligibility criteria due to gaps in their applications,” said UWGN Director of Financial Stability Danielle Corea-Smith.

“Some companies couldn’t provide the proper financial information or proof of liability insurance, for example. It made me realize that it was possible to help some of these owners improve their skills in accounting and other fields.

Filling these necessary technical gaps has been the driving force behind the BackStop program.

“At GNEC, we understand that running a business is a complicated task, which is why, with the help of UWGN, we designed BackStop to allow entrepreneurs to focus on their strengths while providing experts to help with back-office tasks that entrepreneurs might not have the skills or time to undertake,” said GNEC Executive Director Victor Salama.

“Our three tracks enable micro-business owners to survive tough economic times and start positioning themselves for growth.”

“You have a lot of really passionate people who are entrepreneurs or small business owners, and sometimes it’s the little bits and pieces that can hold them back from achieving their dreams,” Corea-Smith said. “They are the ones I see programs like this supporting. This program can help make someone’s dream come true.”

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