CAMDEN, NJ — The Latin American Economic Development Association (LAEDA), a non-profit based in the city, is providing free counseling for Camden and South Jersey business owners and entrepreneurs during the COVID-19 health crisis. 

Some Camden businesses, like bodegas and restaurants, have felt the impact of dwindling income as state regulations have forced them to operate under a set of strict mandates. While others, such as barbershops and hair salons, have had to close entirely.

“Small businesses are a critical part of our economy and communities. Oftentimes, these individuals are the sole breadwinner of their families,” said Ray Lamboy, president and CEO of LAEDA. “Having limited income at this time can be extremely damaging to the family unit as a whole.”   

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The LAEDA noted that it has maintained contact with the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA), Small Business Administration and local banks to communicate the biggest needs of local business owners and seek out more resources. 

“Our state and federal partners are critical to the future of these businesses,” added Lamboy. “We are working together to ensure that businesses can reopen and thrive as the crisis resolves.” 

In addition, a team of LAEDA bi-lingual counselors are available by phone, email or video to support any Camden or South Jersey owner that has questions or is seeking guidance.

Jamila Powell, Program Manager of the LAEDA Women’s Business Center (WBC), said the organization is “uniquely positioned” to assist owners that are inquiring as to their eligibility for certain resources. 

“We’ve been assisting micro-entrepreneurs and small business owners, especially minority and women-owned, for over 30 years,” said Powell. 

For more information on the non-profit’s services click here.

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