New Brunswick, NJ – Mayor James M. Cahill joined the Intersect Fund and dozens of local residents and business owners at Belky’s Salon on Wednesday to recognize small business creation in the City.

The City provides a portion of its annual Community Development Block Grant, administered by HUD, to The Intersect Fund. The funds are used to help disburse microloans – small startup loans less than $20,000 – at a low interest rate to low and moderate-income entrepreneurs in New Brunswick. The grant has also supported outreach to prospective business owners, mainly from the Latino community, to provide low-cost technical assistance and coaching sessions.

Belky’s Salon, owned by Juana Kalem, is a recent recipient of a microloan and technical assistance from The Intersect Fund, which she credited with helping her get her business off the ground. The Salon now provides a wide range of services, from haircuts to manicures to massages and facials.

“The success of Belky’s Salon is indicative of the overall progress that’s possible when government works together with local interests to promote business,” said Glenn Patterson, director of the Department of Planning, Community and Economic Development for New Brunswick.  “The Intersect Fund has not only helped to create jobs in the City, but it has provided residents with real private-sector opportunities that might have previously seemed out of reach,” Patterson added.

The program is a recent component of the administration’s overall economic development and job creation efforts. New Brunswick currently enjoys an unemployment rate below both the state and national average, largely thanks to its business-friendly climate.

Luis De La Hoz, The Intersect Fund’s Senior Loan Officer, said that the organization has had particular success in outreach to New Brunswick’s Latino population, both through microloans for business and personal credit-building loans.

“We have been extremely active in the Latin American community,” he said. “Regardless of what language you speak, we want to provide you with the tools to be successful in your business or with your personal finances.

The Intersect Fund is a rapidly growing, non-profit microlender and certified CDFI that equips the least fortunate with the skills and capital to develop successful businesses, generate income and build assets. The organization has provided business training, coaching and microloans to low-income, minority and women-owned businesses throughout New Jersey.

Belky’s Salon opened yesterday at 93 Bayard Street in New Brunswick with the help of a microloan from The Intersect Fund that receives funding from the City of New Brunswick.  Pictured at the opening ceremonies are from left to right:  Luis de la Hoz, Senior Loan Officer of The Intersect Fund; Gladis Ramirez, owner of Las Cazuelas Restaurant and a recipient of a micorloan from The Intersect Fund; Juana Belky Kalem, owner of Belky’s Salon; New Brunswick Mayor James M. Cahill; Rohan Mathew, President and CEO of The Intersect Fund; and Glenn Patterson, Director of Planning, Community and Economic Development for New Brunswick.

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