MEDIA CONTACT:  Julie Willmot
(609) 278-7137

TRENTON, N.J. - Daniel Lemus wanted to open a restaurant in Ewing but didn’t know how to go about it. Counselors from the New Jersey Small Business Development Center’s Spanish Program guided him through the process, providing specialized assistance that included all the appropriate documents, and setting up his financial system and marketing plan.

The result was the opening of Danny’s Restaurant at 1410 Parkside Ave. on Aug. 14.

That’s just one example of how a partnership between Mercer County and the SBDC at The College of New Jersey assists Latino small businesses in the County.

Mercer County has contracted with the SBDC over the past two years to form the Latino Business Resource Center, which aids in the growth and economic development of the Latino small-business community by providing technical assistance and counseling services. A new two-year contract was approved by the County Board of Chosen Freeholders on Aug. 16 under which the County will pay the SBDC $30,000 in two $15,000 increments.

“This program provides Latino residents with access to all aspects of business development, including business plan writing, government requirements, marketing and financing opportunities,” said Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes. “It’s one of many services we offer to help small businesses succeed in Mercer County.”

During the past two years, the SBDC counseled 135 businesses; produced and partnered on 43 training events that attracted 365 participants; and helped secure loan funding for new Latino businesses in Mercer County.

“Through this resource center, we hope to ensure that language does not serve as a barrier to successful economic development in Mercer’s growing Latino community,” said Elizabeth Maher Muoio, director of the County’s Office of Economic Development and Sustainability.

“The County recognizes that the success, growth and leadership in the Hispanic business community occurs with proper education and training,” added Lorraine Allen, director of the SBDC at The College of New Jersey. “Through supporting the outreach efforts and educational resources of the SBDC program in Spanish, we are succeeding in helping the community create and generate jobs and revenue in the County.”

The County also partners with the SBDC at The College of New Jersey to provide technical assistance, business development and workshops to the entire small-business community.

There are more than 1,000 Small Business Development Centers nationwide, including 11 regional and 22 satellite centers in New Jersey. The SBDC at The College of New Jersey assists the small-business communities in Mercer and Middlesex counties.

For more information on services available to small businesses in Mercer County, contact the Mercer County Office of Economic Development and Sustainability at (609) 989-6555 or the Small Business Development Center at The College of New Jersey at (609) 771-2947 (English) or (609) 771-2096 (Spanish). Online, visit www.mercercounty.org or www.tcnj.edu/~sbdc/.