Press Release
August 17, 2015
3 minute read

Small Business Lending Program is Focus of EDA Visit to Newark Health Sciences Training Facility


(left to right:  Steven Gomez, Executive Director, GNEC; Melissa Orsen, CEO, New Jersey Economic Development Authority; Praveen Mudumba, M.D., Chief Operating Officer, Academy of Allied Health Sciences; Suresh Sagi, M.D., President, Academy of Allied Health Sciences.)

TRENTON, N.J. (August 17, 2015) The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) and Greater Newark Enterprise Corporation (GNEC) today visited the Academy of Allied Health Sciences (AAHSC) in Newark to raise awareness of the State’s efforts to help small businesses grow and thrive. Founded in 2011, the full-time health sciences school recently received a $25,000 working capital loan.
Through the EDA’s Loans to Lenders program, GNEC has received $500,000 over the last three years to help the organization provide term loans and lines of credit to micro-enterprises and other small companies not qualified for traditional bank financing.  The program makes capital available to financial intermediary organizations like GNEC that can effectively reach small businesses in local markets. AAHSC is one business that has benefited.
“Underserved communities and businesses face unique challenges as they grow,” said EDA Chief Executive Officer Melissa Orsen.  “The Loans to Lenders program extends the state’s reach, enabling us to help business owners overcome barriers to success.”
Housed in a state-of-the-art 5,200-square-foot facility in Newark, AAHSC’s mission is to provide students, many of whom are low income, disadvantaged and displaced workers, with the skills needed for a career in allied healthcare.   AAHSC also features a scholarship program for military spouses.  The school boasts a near perfect graduate job placement record.
“Our goal is to provide valuable resources to people who are looking to start new careers,” said Suresh V. Sagi, M.D., President, AAHSC.  “The capital from GNEC has helped us to pay rent and purchase equipment, which enabled us to operate and have revenue coming in sooner than we would have without GNEC’s help.”
Since 2010, the EDA has provided a total of $5.5 million to five organizations through the Loans to Lenders Program, including NJCC, UCEDC, Greater Newark Enterprises Corporation (GNEC), Community Business Assistance Corporation (CBAC), and Regional Business Assistance Corporation (RBAC).  Of the $3.4 million EDA has disbursed to these entities to date, $1.7 million in loans have gone to support 43 businesses, with an average loan size of just over $41,200. More than half of the businesses supported are minority- or women-owned.
GNEC is a not-for-profit formed in 2007 to provide credit to small businesses located primarily in economically and socially distressed areas in northern New Jersey.  GNEC’s primary mission is to provide resources for community redevelopment, which includes job creation, and financial services for low income residents in seven counties (Essex, Hudson, Union, Passaic, Bergen, Middlesex and Monmouth). To accomplish these goals, GNEC provides small business loans to companies that would not qualify for traditional bank financing. 
“GNEC has been able to provide financing to more small businesses thanks to the EDA’s Loans to Lenders program,” said Steven Gomez, Executive Director, GNEC.  “It’s so exciting to see small businesses thriving – creating jobs and positive momentum in our communities.”
Through the Urban Entrepreneurs Development Institute (UEDI), GNEC and its partners assist prospective and existing business owners in the Greater Newark area to become economically self-sufficient and to help develop self-employment and capital resources. The coordinated program offers self-employment assistance, micro-enterprise training, technical assistance and credit to participants.
In addition to the UEDI, GNEC sponsors seminars and workshops designed to give entrepreneurs practical training in skills critical to business start-up and daily business management.
Aside from Loans to Lenders, other state programs for small business include the Small Business Fund, which provides financial assistance to qualified businesses through direct loans, participations or guarantees, with fixed interest rates.  The EDA also partners with New Jersey’s banking community through its Premier Lender Program, which helps to lower the cost of borrowing for small businesses.  Bond financing is also available for qualified manufacturers and not-for-profit organizations.
The EDA is part of the state’s results-driven Partnership for Action.  Created by Governor Christie and led by Lt. Governor Guadagno, the Partnership is the hub for all economic development activity in New Jersey and is comprised of four interconnected and highly focused organizational elements: Choose New Jersey, the Business Action Center, the Office of the Secretary of Higher Education and the EDA. 
To learn more about opportunities for business growth throughout New Jersey, visit the state’s business portal at or call the Business Action Center at (866) 534-7789.