UEZ Microloans Benefit Six Lakewood Businesses
Rabbi Moshe Weisberg, treasurer of the Lakewood Development Corporation (LDC) and Patricia Komsa, LDC executive director, awarded six microloans, ranging from $20,000 to $35,000 each, to certified Lakewood UEZ businesses at a recent Lakewood Township Committee Meeting.
The recipients are Cleanstock, a paper and plastic goods company with a same-day delivery service; New Jersey Appliance, a retail store catering to property management companies, builders, and consumers; Daily Deals on 2nd, a variety discount store; the men’s clothing store His Place; Aqua Custom Creations, aquariums for residential and commercial facilities; and the CPA firm JD Hutman.
Microloans are now being granted at 3 ½ percent interest amortized from 5 to 10 years for loans ranging from $5,000 to $35,000. They are designed to facilitate small business growth and development, and job creation in Lakewood. Microloans are available for businesses seeking to establish, expand, or redevelop their companies. Funds may also be utilized used for working capital, supplies and machinery, the purchase of inventory, and to refurbish existing facilities. Microloans, however, cannot be used to refinance existing debt.
Rabbi Moshe Weisberg reported that to-date the LDC has awarded close to 100 Microloans. Although it is well-known that statistically over half of all business fail, the Lakewood Microloan program has a better than 95 percent success rate since its inception in 1998.
Patricia Komsa, the executive director of the LDC, said, “The UEZ program has been an economic development driver in Lakewood since its inception. The loan program itself has generated to date 97 microloans and 38 project and joint participation loans totaling $15,243,500.”
The repayment of previous microloans has resulted in “second-generation funds” that are now being used to award the new Microloans. Rabbi Weisberg said, “In this way, the program is self-perpetuating. It does not cost Lakewood taxpayers anything. We are very proud of this program because it is a home-run for the Township, a home-run for the LDC, and a home-run for businesses. The Microloan program brings energy to the township and it brings revitalization to the downtown and other commercial areas. We need to keep this program and the economic development it fosters.”
The Microloan program, a subdivision of the Financial Assistance Program, was cited as a model program across the state by the Urban Enterprise Zone Authority, Trenton.
Rabbi Weisberg encourages those who have businesses in Lakewood to participate in the UEZ program. “Speak to Trish Komsa to find out how. I would especially like to thank Committeeman Ray Coles, who was one of the founders of the Microloan program and served as the chairman of the LDC for many years; and the Township Committee who have been strong supporters of the Microloan program.” Committeemen Ray Coles and Isaac Akerman serve as liaisons to the LDC.
The Lakewood UEZ Microloan Program is now accepting applications for loans up to $35,000 a year. Businesses interested in applying for a Microloan can pick up applications at the UEZ office, Room 12 of the Lakewood Municipal, 231 Third Street, Lakewood, or contact Patricia Komsa, executive director of the Lakewood Development Corporation at 732-364-2500 Ext. 5257 or visit lakewoodnj.gov/department/uez for more information.
If a business is not UEZ certified or for further questions or to learn how to become certified, call Patricia Komsa in the Lakewood UEZ office at 732-364-2500 Ext. 5257. Lakewood businesses can also contact Eli Josephson of the LCSC (Lakewood Community Services Corporation), who provides UEZ consultation services for Lakewood businesses and assistance with UEZ loan application packages.