Paterson councilman hosts workshop series for small businesses | Paterson Times

Paterson councilman hosts workshop series for small businesses


Councilman Alex Mendez hosted first of a series of small business workshops with the Greater Newark Enterprises Corporation to equip existing city small business owners with the knowledge of financing business expansion and obtaining government contracts.

Almost three dozen small business owners learned about building credit, financing expansion, managing debt, contracting with local, state, and federal government agencies on Wednesday night at the Ranchete Social Hall on Park Avenue.

“I came to get information on how I can get a job with the state government as a minority owned business. I don’t need to learn how to do the job. That much I know. I need to know how to get the job in the first place,” Gary Santos, owner of an HVAC company, said.

Mendez reached out to the Greater Newark Enterprise Corporation to assist business owners like Santos understand the process governments use to secure goods and services. By understanding the process governments use to obtain goods, Santos and other local business owners could submit bids for government contracts and grow.

“It’s a shame that when the City of Paterson puts out a request for bids, the award ends up going to companies as far away as Morristown or Wanaque,” Mendez said. “We need to empower our local businesses to be able to compete and get a fair shot at keeping that money right here in Paterson. The better our local businesses do, the more people they hire, and the more our entire community benefits.”

Restaurants, daycares, shipping logistics, and barbershops learned about steps they need to take to position themselves to receive bank loans to grow their businesses.

“It is both in your short and long term interest to develop a formal relationship with banking institutions and ensure your business is on solid ground with respect to taxes and compliance with all relevant regulations,” Rafael J. Martinez of Wells Fargo told the business owners. “Accurate and organized accounting will improve the chances that financing will be available when your business needs to grow.”

Steven Gomez, executive director of the Greater Newark Enterprise Corporation, said his organization has been seeking to expand its footprint in Paterson. He said the nonprofit is working with the Paterson Housing Authority to open a business incubator on Ward Street to encourage small business activity in city.

Over the past year, the nonprofit graduated 23 people through an entrepreneur training program run in conjunction with the Paterson Housing Authority.

“We’ve been trying to do more in Paterson,” he said. He said there is at least more small business workshop scheduled which will be announced in the future.

Jay Rahman contributed to reporting.

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