Every year, immigrants and entrepreneurs are choosing Hudson County as their home thanks to our diversity and accessibility to pursue their hopes and dreams. “Our mission at Hudson County Economic Development Corporation is to help them realize their goals by connecting them with the training, education, information and access to capital through our powerful network of partners,” said Michelle Richardson, Executive Director. Chic Diva Spa is one of the many stories which illustrate how it all comes together.
“The support we received from organizations such as UCEDC, The Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey, and others was critical to our success here.” Shared Ana Centeno, owner of Chic Diva Spa with partner Blanca Dole, “As immigrants from Honduras, we immediately felt welcomed in Hudson County and were provided with all the resources we needed to start our lives here.”
One of the first connections Ana made was with Reina Valenzuela of the Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey (SHCCNJ). Reina immediately went to work to assist Ana and Blanca by enrolling them into SHCCNJ’s HETP program; providing business coaching, renewal of business licenses, certifications, applying for loans, and necessary strategies to grow their business. Through the affiliated partnerships among the SHCCNJ and HCEDC, Ana was introduced to the UCEDC to provide them access to the capital the businesses needed through the pandemic.
“Our continuous goal is to promote community economic development. We provide our clients with access to entrepreneurial capital, and related business development services such as loans, loan packaging, government procurement assistance, training in English & Spanish, and technical mentoring services to offer small businesses solutions to challenging obstacles,” said Adam Farrah, President of UCEDC.
Chic Diva Spa, a Holistic Center operating in North Bergen since 2015, continues to be a valued service for the community, a place where clients become family and have the opportunity to recharge. When asked about what advice they have for other small business owners in Hudson County, Ana says without hesitation, “Education! Educate yourself about the resources available at a state, county, and community level. Take classes and training courses– most of them are free! It may be hard running a business all day, however, understanding how to do things properly for your business will only drive it to greater success.”