(PHOTOS in extended article) The title of the Seminar alone – Starting and Running Your Own Business – was reason enough to draw the many “would be entrepreneurs” to this important workshop. But certainly, the more than fifty people in attendance were anxious to hear what the host organizations had on the agenda. This program, the first in a series of business seminars, was held Wednesday, January 20, at the Strand Gallery in Lakewood. This important series, designed to help start-up and small businesses succeed in today’s economic climate, is co-sponsored by the Lakewood Community Services Corporation (LCSC), the UCEDC and the Lakewood Development Corporation.
The Seminar was jointly hosted by Mr. David N Klein, Director of Small Business Services at Lakewood Community Services Corporation (LCSC) and Mr. Erich Peter Director of Training and Technical Assistance at UCEDC. UCEDC is a non-profit Economic Development Corporation contracted by the NJ State Economic Development Authority to provide resources and solutions for small businesses.
The seminar discussed the gamut of tools needed to start a successful business. Budgets, profit and loss statements, cash flow projections as well as credit reports, were only some of the important subjects that were discussed. Complementing the presentation was a PowerPoint presentation and handouts discussing entrepreneurial readiness.
“Lakewood is one of 22 municipalities in the state of New Jersey designated as an Urban Enterprise Zone. It is a special advantage to a new business in the zone because of the low 3.5% sales tax they can charge, preferred loan options, a new co-op advertising initiative, a new employment new hire grant and other preferential tax benefits that are available,” said Mr. Klein. “Lakewood is a rapidly growing community that provides a fertile environment for new small businesses and services. In conjunction with being a UEZ zone and with a business-friendly municipal government, entrepreneurs can start a new business with a ‘leg up’ on the competition”, Mr. Klein continued. “The philosophy is quite simple. Provide tax breaks, low sales tax to consumers, assist in marketing and encourage employment and you have a formula to stimulate the local economy,” Mr. Klein added.
Both Mr. Klein and Mr. Peter were pleased not only by the number of participants at this seminar, but by the excellent questions asked and enthusiasm shown by those in attendance as well. “This seminar was important to Lakewood in these difficult economic times,” said Rabbi Moshe Zev Weisberg, President of LCSC. “To be able to offer not only advice, but funding for new start up businesses is an enormous relief to young entrepreneurs,” he said. “We will continue to partner with UCEDC and follow up with more seminars relevant to helping Lakewood grow thus bringing new business opportunities to our town,” Rabbi Weisberg concluded.
“The unique combination of dynamic entrepreneurial spirit and the special economic stimulators that Lakewood has to offer creates the perfect conditions for our new relationship with the UCEDC.” Said Mr. Klein.
LCSC, together with UCEDC, will be conducting small business seminars covering various subjects over the course of the year. Most notably, to begin in mid March, is an ETI (Entrepreneurial Training Initiative) program, which is an intensive 6-class course to be covered over a seven week period. The ETI program guides the participant through the process of constructing a comprehensive business plan, developing a BRR (Business Readiness Roadmap), working with mentors who are local commercial lenders and finance professionals. In many cases, graduates of the ETI program can be guided straight through a loan application process and secure financing through participating banks.
LCSC and UCEDC as well as those in attendance thank Bagel Nosh for the delicious refreshments.
For more information about upcoming programs, or to receive a confidential no-cost consultation on what programs may be available for your business, please call Mr. David N. Klein at LCSC. He can be reached at 732-901-6001. You can also e-mail him at [email protected]