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May 10, 2013

RE: Unconventional Disaster Loan Program for Small Businesses Can Speed Recovery

Dear Mayor:

This information could be crucial to small businesses in your municipality. Please share it with your local entrepreneurs.

The UCEDC, a state-wide non-profit (501c3) economic development corporation, has provided financing and training to small businesses for over 37 years. Funded by the state and federal governments and private foundations, it provides financing and training to small businesses which cannot meet conventional lending criteria.

UCEDC recently received funding from First Lady Mary Pat Christie’s Hurricane Sandy NJ Relief Fund to provide 2% loans to small businesses impacted by Superstorm Sandy.  These are working capital loans of up to $25,000 that can be used for economic and physical damages. No collateral is required and there are no fees.

It appears that many small downtown businesses will not be eligible for the new ‘Stronger NJ’ grant program. However, the UCEDC specializes in funding small businesses which cannot meet conventional lending criteria.

Below is a more detailed description of the organization.
As small businesses owners work to recover from the storm, they have had difficulty finding the capital necessary to rebuild their businesses. More often these applicants are too risky for loans from conventional lenders. These businesses need access to working capital FAST; long before insurance proceeds may arrive or SBA Disaster Loans can be processed. UCEDC, who has served the small business community for 37 years with capital, training and government procurement assistance, stepped-in and created an emergency loan for Sandy-impacted businesses.

UCEDC’s Storm Recovery Loan Program is available to established (Two year’s minimum) profitable small businesses that had physical or economic damage from the storm. Small businesses may borrow up to $25,000 of working capital, at 2% fixed rate, for five years, with no collateral. Loan turn-around time is two-weeks. There is no application, processing, or fees of any kind.

In the past 60 days, UCEDC has approved 50 loans for nearly $1 million. Because demand remains high, we have allocated and additional $1,500,000 to the program which we expect to lend over the course of a year. We will also seek grants of lending-capital when they become available from federal sources this summer. In total, we expect to lend $2.5 million in Storm Recovery Microloans to 100+ small businesses. This is in addition to our usual annual loan volume of 20+ loans.

Unknown Demand
As the New Jersey shore undergoes a rebuild over the next few years, the ‘unknown loan-demand’ is challenging to predict as a steady stream of stories of inadequate insurance coverage continues to emerge. This will result in a financing gap that can only be filled through higher risk financing vehicles or possible federal grant support. Despite the possibility of special storm related federal appropriations, it is reasonable to assume that a financing gap will exist. We fully expect loan demand to increase further as both the economy continues to improve and as New Jersey rebuilds in the aftermath of Super Storm Sandy.

You can direct your local business owners to for details on the program, and to access an application. To learn more about the UCEDC, visit

You can also access information on the UCEDC and other helpful resources for local businesses at the State’s Superstorm Sandy Business Recovery Assistance site at

Very truly yours,

William G. Dressel, Jr.
Executive Director




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