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SUCCESSFUL FIRMS TO BE RECOGNIZED AT NJSBDC SMALL BUSINESS GROWTH AWARDS LUNCHEON – Two State Legislators to Receive “Business Advocate” Awards

November 30, 2011

(Newark NJ) – Thirteen exceptional businesses and two legislators will be honored at the New Jersey Small Business Development Centers network annual luncheon December 2.

The Small Business Growth Success Awards Luncheon recognizes key NJSBDC network small business clients across the state representing diverse industries for their business development and success. This year’s event will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. December 2 at the Forsgate Country Club, Monroe Township.

“We’re truly impressed with the caliber of successful clients we are recognizing this year,” said NJSBDC CEO-State Director Brenda Hopper. “They have very unique stories and it lends credence to the comprehensive assistance our program’s experts provide to small business owners and entrepreneurs.”

Senator Thomas Kean Jr., the Senate Minority Leader, and Assemblyman Gordon Johnson, the Assembly Deputy Conference Leader, are also being acknowledged for their commitment to small businesses and the NJSBDC mission to help establish and grow businesses and create and retain jobs.

“We are presenting the 2011 ‘Business Advocate’ award to Senator Tom Kean, Jr. and Assemblyman Gordon Johnson for their efforts on behalf of the NJSBDC network and their support for small business assistance through our nationally accredited organization,” said NJSBDC COO-Associate State Director Deborah Smarth.

Senator Kean, the son of New Jersey’s 48th Governor, will also address the audience on relevant business topics at the luncheon which is sponsored by PNC Bank, PSEG, Verizon and NJ Shares, and New Jersey Business Magazine.

“In these difficult financial times, small businesses are fortunate to be able to rely on the resources and expertise provided by the New Jersey Small Business Development Centers,” said Senator Kean. “I look forward to continuing to work together with NJSBDC toward our mutual goal of ensuring the stability, vitality and the long-term viability of small businesses in New Jersey.”

Assemblyman Johnson also had high praise for the NJSBDC network.

“The New Jersey Small Business Development Centers are not only at the heart of our small business community, they are its standard bearer in Trenton, and it’s the go to organization for small businesses on the ground,” he said. “I think it has often been said that small business is the engine of New Jersey’s statewide economy. The best way to support our small business community and keep that engine running is to support the NJSBDC. So, to my friends, at the NJSBDC and all of small business that make NJ’s economy what it is – you can count on me!”

Business leaders and government officials, including SBA NJ District Director, Alfred Titone and Senior Policy Advisor Elizabeth MacKay of Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno’s office, will attend the luncheon.

The thirteen award winners, in alphabetical order, are:

Banker Tek, Jersey City, headed by Syd Rodriguez, is a financial services company providing on-site project management and delivery of business consulting solutions for diversified financial institutions, insurance companies, asset managers and capital market firms. The NJSBDC at NJ City University helped Rodriquez to prepare a loan package which resulted in a working capital line of credit from a major SBA lender. The funding will help meet staffing needs.

Black Rocket Productions, LLC, Freehold, owned by William Zengel and Richard Ginn, received personalized counseling and training from the NJSBDC at Brookdale Community College on financials and business recordkeeping. The company provides educational services for youth focusing on digital arts, science, engineering and math. With NJSBDC’s assistance, the company has grown to seven full and part-time employees year round.  Its revenues have tripled.

Eastern Christian Schools, North Haledon, established three, for-profit businesses that generate alternative revenues for the school. The NJSBDC at William Paterson University helped its Executive Director Thomas G. Dykhouse in establishing ditto, an upscale retail store; securing a bank loan for more than $2 million for Eagle Solar, LLC to operate a solar energy system on the campus; and Eagles Day Camps, which offers summer camps in various disciplines.

–Edge Therapeutics, Inc., New Providence, headed by Brian A. Leuthner and co-founded by R. Loch Macdonald, M.D., Ph.D. and Carl Soranno, Esq. launched in early 2009, develops technology to produce products that treat acute/debilitating neurological conditions. With NJSBDC’s assistance, Edge obtained a $244,000 NIH/IRS qualifying Therapeutic Discovery Project grant. Coupled with other funding, it has assisted the firm to reach its objective to improve a patient’s outcomes.

–Feather Sensors, LLC, Millville, headed by Charles E. Forbes, Ph.D., is a hi-tech company that designs and manufactures special sensors which measure air speed for diverse industry applications. The assistance by NJSBDC resulted in a distribution agreement with a company in Osaka, Japan.

MONDO Summit, owned by Annette Dwyer, received counseling and training from NJSBDC at Kean University on construction financing, project finance analysis, real estate cash flow evaluation, real estate leasing arrangements and negotiation skills. Ms. Dwyer’s business obtained construction financing for renovation of a four-story building with almost 100 percent occupancy. The building will be home to a vertical mall, MONDO Summit, which promotes “shared retail space environment.”

–Omni Finishing, Bedminster, run by Cecilia Sweeney, is a leader in the surface preparation and coating industry, carrying an extensive line of finishing equipment as well as parts, accessories, abrasive media and compounds. Omni services private sector clients in automotive, foundry, marine and medical devices and equipment sectors. The NJSBDC of Northwest NJ assisted the company with an extensive financial analysis, which is expected to improve profitability and enhance growth.

–Oncobiologics, Inc., Cranbury, is a research and development firm involved with the development of low cost innovative oncology and immunology biopharmaceutical treatments for cancer patients. The NJSBDC at Raritan Valley Community College assisted the company’s CEO Pankaj Mohan, Ph.D. to obtain a $1 million SBA backed term loan and assisted with human resources issues.

–Para-Plus Translations, Inc., Barrington, is a family-owned business offering language interpreting and translation services for virtually any language. The NJSBDC at Rutgers-Camden assisted company Founder, Sonia Santiago, with business valuation, marketing, and other organizational issues. The company is now run by her sons Robert and Carlos with Sonia’s oversight.  The firm has 10 employees and 13 full-time equivalent language translators and interpreters. The business expects to increase sales by slightly over 20 percent.

Robin Meyer NYC, LLC, Bogota, owned by Robin Droescher, a former corporate vice president, finalized her business plan and received a line of credit from Affinity Federal Credit Union with the assistance of the NJSBDC at Bergen Community College. Her company makes fine canine accessories and apparel. She’s hired an assistant and expects to hire two additional employees by the first quarter of 2012.

Seaside Cheese Company, West Cape May, owned by Stephen White, sells gourmet cheese, olives, imported meats, oils and specialty sandwiches. White received assistance from the NJSBDC at Richard Stockton College with marketing, inventory practices and capital access opportunities.  NJSBDC’s recommendations resulted in effective marketing, increased retail sales and savings and a micro-loan from the Cooperative Business Assistance Corporation.

–TEMPO Networks, LLC, Newark, owned by Frederick A. Morton, Jr., is a pan-Caribbean media and entertainment network, broadcasting in 24 Caribbean islands with approximately 3.5 million viewers. The NJSBDC at Rutgers-Newark assisted Morton with advertising and distribution rights, strategic planning, branding and referrals for SBA backed financing. TEMPO was successfully launched at the end of September on Cablevision airing on channel 1105.

Village Learning Center, Pennington, a child care company owned by Mary Innocenzi, has grown to a staff of 20. The center is fully accredited by the National Accreditation Commission for Early Care and Education Programs. The NJSBDC at the College of New Jersey assisted the Center’s CEO on financial management, financial analysis, accounting, marketing and general management. With NJSBDC’s help, the Center obtained a $100,000 business loan and was awarded a $14,000 workforce development training grant.