Business & Finance

UCEDC Wins $250,000 Grant to Support Diversity in Small Business Lending


CRANFORD, NJ - UCEDC, a statewide nonprofit economic development corporation, has been awarded $250,000 by Wells Fargo to support its lending and educational initiatives among women- and minority-business owners. UCEDC was one of 12 organizations nationwide in 2017 to be funded through Wells Fargo’s Diverse Community Capital (DCC) program.

“Wells Fargo shares our commitment to giving diverse communities a fair chance to succeed in small business development,” says Maureen Tinen, UCEDC president. “Access to capital remains a struggle for women and minorities and this grant will allow us to redouble our efforts to reach them with innovative financing solutions.”

UCEDC offers training services and financing options to start-up and established business owners, with a focus on job creation and community development.  The organization has recruited a seasoned community advocate to spearhead its grant-supported outreach and strategic partnership initiatives.  Michael Miller, community development officer, will work directly with diverse businesses as well as with public and private entities to increase awareness of and access to UCEDC's loan programs.

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“Through the Diverse Community Capital program, Wells Fargo works alongside community partners such as UCEDC in assisting diverse entrepreneurs start, stabilize and grow their enterprises,” says Tomas Porturas, vice president of Community Relations at Wells Fargo.  “The grant award will help expand UCEDC’s robust services including funding, technical training and other resources for more diverse-owned small businesses to strengthen their businesses and ultimately, our communities.”

To learn more about the strategic partnership initiative, please contact Michael Miller at or (908) 527-1166.

Since its inception in 1977, UCEDC has loaned over $30 million to small businesses throughout New Jersey, helping to create and retain more than 6,000 jobs. In 2017, UCEDC approved 61 small business loans totaling $9.6 million.  Minority-owned businesses accounted for 54% of those loans, while women-owned operations represented 69%.

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