NEWARK, NJ -- Rutgers Business School’s Center for Urban Entrepreneurship & Economic Development (CUEED) celebrated its 10th anniversary, bringing together elected officials, local vendors and leaders in the community to mark a decade of success. Held at Express Newark, the CUEED UnGala Experience also featured Q&A sessions about business topics and a marketplace showcasing the products of program graduates and participants. 

Representative Donald M. Payne Jr. spoke at the event, remarking that his uncle was a local Newark entrepreneur, and he witnessed firsthand both the highs and lows of owning a business. “It was a great life lesson for me, some of the battles and issues that he had,” Payne said. “So it’s always been something important to me to try to make it easier for the next guy.”

“Our program is unique,” said, Lyneir Richardson, executive director of CUEED. “We’re always talking to new entrepreneurs, talking to corporate partners, who want to make that connection between entrepreneurship and community revitalization, and who can see their stories in the entrepreneurs we deal with every day.” 

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“What we’ve been doing for 10 years is supporting the economic revitalization of Newark and beyond,” said Jeffrey Robinson, academic director of CUEED. “We work with entrepreneurs at various stages to improve their businesses and grow their businesses.” 

“The program is really important for small business owners,” said Holly Kaplansky, owner of Minuteman Press in Newark, who was a CUEED participant during the first year of the program. “It was amazing all the things that I learned--from marketing...to how to get capital, financials, even how to manage your staff,” she said. 

Also speaking at the 10th anniversary event was Randal D. Pinkett, co-founder and chief executive officer of BCT Partners and the winner of Season 4 of The Apprentice. “Research shows that small businesses drive economies and drive job growth,” said Pinkett. “I see why Rutgers Business School and CUEED have been investing in small business in Newark and nationally because that’s really where the action is if you want to spawn this type of growth.” 

“If it wasn’t for the resources, the network and the access that Rutgers imparted on us, we may not be where we are today,” said Kayla Jackson, co-founder and chief operating officer of Pedul. The CUEED alumna met her co-founder through the program. “CUEED has been such an instrumental part of my entrepreneurial journey because they really taught me from an early stage that I always have the power to be a pioneer of my own dreams.” 

 

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