On November 10th, the Greater Newark Enterprise Corporation (GNEC) set “collaboration” as its theme for its 2015 Opportunities and Awards Breakfast held on the NJIT campus.As a community development corporation, GNEC has collaborated with small businesses in the New Jersey area, providing overall nearly $5 million in funding. At their event, they recognized outstanding small businesses in the state and those who contribute to the community's growth.
Steven Gomez, GNEC Executive Director, elaborated on the event’s theme, “Innovation through Collaboration: “It is a testament to how, through collaboration, we as a community can create new ways to move forward as it relates to small business growth and entrepreneurial development.” Gomez, along with GNEC, is dedicated to assisting entrepreneurs and small business owners in Newark and the surrounding areas with access to microloans and skills training.
Judith Sheft, Associate Vice President of Technology and Enterprise Development at New Jersey Innovation Institute (NJII) and award recipient for the “Outstanding Community Advocate of the Year”, ran with this theme in her keynote talk, opening with: “If you want to go fast go alone, if you want to go far go together.”
Sheft noted that a lack of resources and funding is what prevents entrepreneurs and small businesses from moving forward with their ventures. As the “drivers of economic growth,” she emphasized the importance of business collaboration to provide these small ventures the tools they need to expand.
“Companies working together, that take advantage of the resources that are available to them are going to do better than companies that are just operating by themselves and are not connected to the other resources that we have,” Sheft continued.
It is the goal of established entities such as NJIT and GNEC to work together with small businesses to encourage and offer resources for their development. Once these businesses, in collaboration with others, have gained the resources needed to expand, they will be on the road to success.
Sheft concluded the keynote by announcing that GNEC and NJIT will be teaming up to combine their financial training programs to pull together to find funding for entrepreneurs and small businesses.
“Part of what our whole message is to help the ecosystem, help everything together, help move things forward to bring to entrepreneurs the kinds of capabilities that they need,” Sheft said in summary.