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.

Hudson County is an ideal place to do business. As the fastest growing county in New Jersey, Hudson County is home to our State’s most diverse and densely populated towns featuring 46 miles of commercial, industrial and public open spaces ready to be used to their fullest potential!

With a reliable network of public transportation options, roads and waterways, Hudson County is a major transportation hub in the Northeast.  Major roadways including the New Jersey Turnpike and US Routes 1 & 9 as well as vehicular water crossing including the Holland Tunnel and Lincoln Tunnel all transit through Hudson County.  Port Jersey and Cape Liberty Cruise Port both call Hudson County their home.  Located along the Hackensack, Hudson and Passaic Rivers, Hudson County is a key location for cargo and passenger shipping terminals.

As the result of Hudson County’s public transportation system, Hudson is New Jersey’s only county where more residents commute via public transportation than vehicle.  Through NJ Transit rail, bus and light rail- all providing service to commuters as well as the Port Authority’s PATH System and passenger ferry service- Hudson County provides plenty of efficient options to commuters.

Hudson County supplies New Jersey with a well-educated workforce. Several institutions of higher education call Hudson County home including: New Jersey City University and St. Peter’s University in Jersey City, with 41 and 60 undergraduate programs offered, respectively. Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken is ranked 7th in the country by U.S. News & World Report as a leading university granting STEM-based degrees. Hudson County Community College is an important workforce training provider with campuses in Jersey City and Union City, offering degrees and certificates in a variety of fields in the arts and sciences.

Hudson County’s open spaces offer a variety of passive and active recreation opportunities, many with spectacular views of the Manhattan skyline. Residents and visitors alike can enjoy outdoor entertainment in parks like James J. Braddock Park in North Bergen and Liberty State Park in Jersey City, or Skyway Golf Course at Lincoln Park West in Jersey City- offering a fun and challenging 9-hole course in the shadows of the Pulaski Skyway with panoramic vistas of the Manhattan skyline.

Hudson County is home to a vibrant dining scene which is sure to please any palate. Showcasing the rich diversity of the County, neighborhood eateries offer endless culinary adventures and ethnic delights while waterfront dining venues offer breathtaking views of the Manhattan skyline.  Whether dining for business or pleasure, Hudson County restaurants will serve you well!

The Hudson County Economic Development Corporation is proud to partner with the Hudson County Office of Cultural & Heritage Affairs/Tourism Development. Through this partnership, we elevate and highlight Hudson County’s vibrant arts community and opportunities for immersion in our rich culture and history. See it all from Visit Hudson NJ!

Hudson County is a great place to live, work, play and grow your business. Come and see for yourself. Let the Hudson County Economic Development Corporation open a door for you in Hudson County!

Every day since our founding in 1994, and relaunch in 2016, the Hudson County Economic Development Corporation team and board of directors have worked alongside County administration and municipal partners to open doors to opportunity for our vibrant and diverse community of residents, businesses, and organizations. Our collaborative approach to addressing some of our County’s greatest challenges by leveraging our community’s strengths with innovative programming, professional training, and timely access to capital has helped our local economy remain resilient and thriving.

Through HCEDC’s powerful partnerships, our ongoing commitment to serving and supporting diverse, underserved communities throughout our 12 municipalities continues to shape Hudson County in meaningful and lasting ways.

Hudson County, one of New Jersey’s fastest-growing, most densely populated, and diverse regions, offers a wealth of assets and is proud to be an important driver of the state’s economy. Our strategic location, accessible transportation options, highly educated workforce, and culturally rich communities together provide an outstanding quality of life for residents and businesses. As Hudson County continues to evolve, HCEDC and partners anticipate the need and implement proactive strategies to support business attraction and retention.

We hope that through the pages of this website you will find valuable resources and helpful information regarding the various programs, grants, and loan services we offer through our extended network of partners. In addition, we encourage you to explore our social media channels and connect with us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for updates and timely news.

On behalf of our board of directors and partners thank you for taking the time to visit us. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me for assistance, the HCEDC team and I look forward to serving you. As always, we remain steadfast in our commitment to supporting the vitality of our diverse community of businesses and organizations and look forward to the bright future of Hudson County for all.

Michelle Richardson
Executive Director

PAZ Music Academy

Established in 1985, Paz Music Academy of Kearny, a unique multi-generational business continues to transform Hudson County’s families and special needs communities through the teaching of appreciation, theory and technique. Today, Yanina and Roberto Paz further a family tradition and love of music which began with Roberto’s father in Spain.

Roberto reflected on the means of transforming his family’s dream into a successful business by stating, “The American Dream is to come to America to start a business, plant seeds, and develop roots to give to the next generation. We’re living proof of that hard work. When my father immigrated to Newark in 1969, he taught music from the basement of a local Church. “Now, as parents to 3 children, we are proud to be 2nd generation owners, and we are continuing to thrive thanks to Hudson County’s focus on diversity and support of small businesses.”

Hudson County Economic Development Corporation focuses on diversity and support of local businesses by offering programs and opportunities through partnerships to shape and continue to grow Hudson County. Through word-of-mouth, Yanina discovered the HETP/LETS (Hispanic Entrepreneurship Training Program/Latina Entrepreneurship Training Series) sponsored by The Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey.

Carlos A Medina, ESQ. President/CEO of SHCCNJ, emphasizes the impact of the organization, “The Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is a not-for-profit organization that has been the voice of 120,000 Hispanic-owned businesses that contribute over $20 billion to the state’s economy. We’re proud to be serving this vibrant and vital community, and to promote the continued growth and development of Hispanic entrepreneurs, such as the PAZ learning center.”

Yanina emphasized the importance of community outreach and business training by stating, “These programs speak directly to the needs of small business owners and have been essential to our business’ health. Everything I learned significantly accelerated our capacities as new owners as Roberto and I assumed those responsibilities only 3 years ago. The personalized attention I received from my coaches Tatiana Orozco, from Torozco Digital, and Susana Fonticoba, from Clear Path Strategy, empowered me with not only the knowledge I needed to be a better business owner but the understanding and practice of how to organize back-end operations. The program offered tools and marketing tactics to grow our current client base while re-engaging existing students to build our community and brand loyalty. Throughout the process, I greatly benefited from connecting with other local business owners to share successes, get advice and ask questions.”

“The Hudson County Economic Development Corporation in partnership with the Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is a cornerstone of our approach to ensure that we are advancing our mission to ‘Open Doors’ for all businesses and organizations in Hudson County. Education, training, information and access to capital in concert with affordable housing are services we are proud to help provide to fuel growth in our diverse and underserved communities.” Michelle Richardson, Executive Director, HCEDC.

According to Yanina Paz the future looks very bright as Paz Music Academy continues to evolve. “The pandemic and training we’ve received opened doors to reinvent and adapt our business. We’ve seen a 400% increase in enrollment since the HETP/LETS training program and it’s wonderful knowing that I can continue to rely on their support and expertise as we grow and find new ways to serve the community. Small businesses like ours are making such a difference here, we’re hiring more teachers and expanding our hours of operation. Everyone benefits when we work together.”

The Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce has opened their applications for the 2022 Hispanic Entrepreneurship Training Program. If you think your business could be a fit from this program, we encourage you to apply. The application link can be found 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.