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

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First published: 11/19/2022

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

(Newark, New York) Newark United Way was awarded a $30,000 grant by Santander Bank to support technical assistance to small businesses through the Greater Newark Enterprises Corporation’s BackStop program.

The BackStop Program explores three ways small businesses can enroll to improve their backstop systems and processes. One-year pathways teach accounting, business credit building and branding, website and digital marketing. United Way of Greater Newark, Greater Newark Enterprises Corporation and other partners of the Newark Building Asset Coalition have identified these pathways as most beneficial to small businesses.

“Newark’s One Way is intertwined within the community and understands the needs of those we serve, including small businesses,” said UWGN President and CEO Kathryn Wilson. “This knowledge is essential when collaborating and supporting initiatives like the BackStop Program. Working with the Greater Newark Enterprises Corporation allows us to provide critical educational services to increase small business resilience in a post-pandemic world.”

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

“We are disappointed when we turn away business owners who meet the eligibility criteria because of deficiencies in their applications,” said UWGN Director of Financial Sustainability Daniel Correa-Smith. “Some businesses were unable to provide proper financial information or proof of liability insurance. This led me to believe there was room to help some of these businesses deepen their hard skills in financial management, accounting and other areas.”

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Application processes highlight critical issues that prevent small businesses from obtaining assistance and harm their long-term chances of sustainability. Filling these necessary technical gaps was the driving force behind the BackStop Program.

“At GNEC, we understand that running a business is a complex task, so with the help of UWGN, we designed BackStop to allow entrepreneurs to focus on their strengths and experts in back-office tasks, to help entrepreneurs who don’t have the skills or time to do it,” said GNEC Executive Director Victor Salama. “Our three ways allow small business owners to survive difficult economic times and start themselves for growth.”

The BackStop program costs businesses $300 per annual track and can be requested by contacting program director Al Alvarez at [email protected] or call 973-242-5564. The accounting track comes with a 1-year QuickBooks Online license and 50 hours of booking services provided by local companies. The Credit Business Building Track provides access to Dun and Bradstreet CreditBuilder Basic and teaches the proper use of these services. The branding, website and digital marketing track focuses on website design, social media practices and educational tools to improve communication.

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In the first year of the program, eight enterprises enrolled in Track 1 and five enterprises enrolled in Track 2. Branding Track 3 was recently released and is now accepting applications.

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

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