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Brand Intelligence


Resilience is commonly associated with Hudson County and its diverse community of residents and businesses. Mary Olson’s branding and marketing firm, Brand Intelligence, exemplifies this quality and brings a unique perspective, vision, and skill set to the region.

Mary’s journey to  Hudson County began over 25 years ago when she was forced to leave her downtown New York City office due to the devastating attacks of 9/11. Mary continued her entrepreneurial drive by embarking on new business opportunities Jersey City offered. She immersed herself in the diverse community, networking, educating, and evolving her business into a branding advisory firm. Reflecting on Hudson County as a whole, she shared, “When I moved to Hudson County, I immediately felt welcomed by the business community and was impressed by the resources available to me to be able to rebuild my business. The cultural diversity and energy here continue to inspire me.”

The onset of the COVID-19 crisis posed extraordinary challenges for small business owners like Mary, who lost 80% of business revenue. Through the referral from Michelle Richardson, Executive Director of the Hudson County Economic Development Corporation (HCEDC), Mary connected with the New Jersey Small Business Development Center at New Jersey City University (NJSBDC at NJCU) and was provided with funding options to keep her business secure.

“The COVID-19 crisis presented unforeseen challenges to our business community. Our response to provide access to information, available funding, and resources was critical to the ongoing health and growth of the Hudson County economy.” Richardson stated. She facilitated the relationship between Mary and Karen McIntyre, Community Outreach & Employer Engagement at NJCU’s SBDC. “The New Jersey Small Business Development Centers’ network is committed to guiding established small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs to create and expand their business enterprises which will, in turn, result in sustainable growth, job creation and statewide economic development and prosperity.”

When asked about the importance of community relationships, Mary emphasized, “HCEDC, NJSBDC at NJCU, and Jersey City Economic Development Corporation reopened the doors for my business. HCEDC, with the leadership of Michelle Richardson, provides extraordinary knowledge and research into every resource available for small business owners like myself.” She continued, “These organizations focus on supporting entrepreneurs with the financial backing and personable reassurance to know someone is there thinking about you.” HCEDC is committed to supporting small business owners to continue to grow their business in Hudson County and advance economic development on a local level.

Have questions about resources available for your business? Click here.

Next Level Business Planning: Take Your Business from Striving to THRIVING

Sooner or later, every business owner gets to a tipping point where the decisions they make and the actions they take can mean the difference between failure or success, stagnation or growth. Moving in the right direction requires a strong foundation in basic business skills and the know how to assess and respond to current conditions and future projections.

This intensive six week workshop will guide you in identifying the barriers keeping you from success and crafting a practical, real world plan to overcome them.

Click here fro more information.

Million Dollar Challenge Press Release

The Million Dollar Challenge is an initiative to lend money to small businesses and startups in Hudson County that would otherwise be denied the necessary capital to pursue their business dreams. During this Challenge, the UCEDC and the Hudson County Economic Development Corporation will provide loans from as small as $5,000 to as large as $5 million through a variety of loan programs.


Loan Programs:


3% Working Capital (up to $25,000)

Well-qualified borrowers (profitable businesses at least 3 years in operation and good personal credit) are eligible for up to $25,000 at 3% fixed for five years. No collateral is required and there are no prepayment penalties.


Microloans (up to $50,000)

The Microloan Program offers fixed-rate (5.0% – 9.5%), six-year loans with as little as 10% down for startup and existing businesses. Businesses in operation for less than two years can borrow a maximum of $35,000; older business with a profitable operating history are eligible for up to $50,000. There are no prepayment penalties.


Community Advantage 7a (up to $250,000)

Long-term loans (10-20 years) of up to $250,000 are available to start-up (in operation less than two years) and existing businesses. These loans feature flexible collateral requirements. Interest rates are Prime +3% – 4%, with as little as 10% down.


504 Commercial Real Estate (up to $5 million)

This program provides startup and established businesses with the opportunity to purchase, construct or improve their own building or purchase major equipment through long-term (10-20 years), fixed rate financing (current rates are approximately 5%). Borrowers can put as little as 10% down.


Get started today!

You can learn more about our loan program by viewing our press release and flyer below or visiting UCEDC’s website. If you have any questions, please call UCEDC at 908-527-1166.


If you’re ready to get started, complete the quick Loan Pre-Qualification Application. The information you provide on this secure form will help us to assess your eligibility and recommend the right financing option for you.


You will hear from UCEDC within two business days of your application. If appropriate, you will be asked to complete a full application and provide additional documentation.


We want YOU to succeed!

In addition to our loan programs, we have access to Federal, State and local resources and services and can put you in touch with the right people. Contact the Hudson County EDC Lending and Technical Assistance Manager at (201) 369-4300 extension 2 or at



Press Release


Hudson County Launches Million Dollar Challenge to Help Small Businesses

Lending initiative designed to reach businesses that can’t get conventional financing


The Hudson County Economic Development Corporation today announced the launch of “The Million Dollar Challenge”, a new small business lending initiative aimed at increasing access to capital for the county’s business owners and entrepreneurs.


Working in partnership with UCEDC, a nonprofit small business lender and training organization, the Hudson EDC is committed to bringing $1 million of fairly priced capital to viable start-ups and growing small businesses that would otherwise be denied conventional lending. Financing will be provided by UCEDC through its SBA loan products.


“Access to capital is the lifeblood of small businesses but too often, hard-working business owners and entrepreneurs can’t get the financing they need,” says Thomas DeGise, Hudson County Executive. “We want to give Hudson County’s small businesses a fair chance to start, grow and thrive and I’m pleased to see that the Hudson EDC has taken on this challenge with such an innovative response.” Loans of $5,000 to $5 million will be made available to start-up and established businesses throughout Hudson County. Hudson EDC and UCEDC staff will work with strategic partners such as business/professional associations, chambers, business incubators, and other public and private entities to promote the program and assist businesses in applying.


“The Million Dollar Challenge is all about helping businesses of all sizes and types get a fair chance to succeed,” says Michelle Richardson, Hudson EDC Executive Director. “It doesn’t matter if you’re a sole proprietor working from home or the owner of a generations-old manufacturing business – you are a vital part of our economy and community.”


There are many reasons why a sound small business may not be able to secure conventional lending, says UCEDC President Maureen Tinen. “Just being less than two years in operation can automatically disqualify you from getting a bank loan. Issues like insufficient collateral or not having enough of your own equity to contribute are other typical roadblocks. Our job is to look for the “yes” and we encourage the county’s small businesses to contact us.”


Small business owners and entrepreneurs can learn more about The Million Dollar Challenge by visiting the Hudson EDC website at


About the Hudson County Economic Development Corporation

The Hudson County Economic Development Corporation (EDC) is a not-for-profit corporation organized to encourage and assist business to remain located in the County of Hudson and to attract new business to locate in the County of Hudson. The EDC offers assistance to businesses in Hudson County in the areas of: access to working capital financing via a partnership with UCEDC; access to a trained workforce via collaborative efforts and partnerships with the Hudson County workforce system. Technical assistance programs relate to activities such as: counseling and referrals; capacity training to support business growth strategies; governmental and private sector procurement; real estate site selection; and demographic research.



UCEDC, a nonprofit economic development corporation, is dedicated to promoting New Jersey’s small businesses with resources tailored to every stage of business growth. Since our inception in 1977, we’ve provided over $24 million in loans to start-up and established businesses through a variety of SBA programs and other funding sources. With its free counseling, bid matching services, and contracting workshops, our Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) has helped local businesses win over $2 billion in awarded government contracts. And thousands of entrepreneurs and small business owners have attended our workshops and seminars, giving them a strong foundation for success.


Media Contacts:

Michelle Richardson Executive Director, Hudson County EDC

201-369- 4370

Robin Preisler, Director of Business Development, UCEDC

908-527- 1166

Jim Kennelly, Director of Communications, County of Hudson

201-369- 4386



Million Dollar Challenge Flyer

Grow Your Business in Hudson County NJ

Join the Hudson County-Jersey City Workforce Development Board for the “Grow in Hudson County NJ” networking event and meet government, educational, and non-profit representatives committed to assisting your businesses with opportunities to provide goods and services as well as employer incentives for business growth. You must pre-register by 11/02/16 at *Free parking passes available to early registrants-first come first serve only* For more information, contact The Hudson County-Jersey City Office of Workforce Development Board at (201) 420-3000 ext. 2636, or visit: Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise & The Board of Chosen Freeholders



For more information CLICK HERE