Through this program Black and Latino entrepreneurs will gain critical skills required to manage and grow urban retail and restaurant business ventures. Participants will receive intensive business training, individual business and financial counseling, coaching and networking opportunities and ongoing mentoring over a 6-month period. This initiative will expose BLUE-RAP participants to thought leaders experienced in finance, banking, marketing, accounting, and site selection to help them operate profitably, expand to new locations and foster community revitalization.
What to expect
Each month, you’ll meet for half a day of instruction and interaction. Experienced instructors — all experts in their fields — will share hands-on strategies you can begin applying immediately to your business.
There will be a bilingual Spanish facilitator available at the training sessions for those that require this assistance. All training sessions are held in Jersey City Exchange Place, conveniently located near mass transit.
Individual Business Development and Financial Counseling
Each participant will work one-on-one with an experienced counselor to identify challenges and develop a plan to overcome them and grow your business. You’ll also work with a financial counselor who’ll help you understand the financial health of your business. They’ll also work with you to spot and correct potential problems and prepare you to be “loan ready,” whether you’re pursuing financing now or in the future.
Peer Empowerment Group
Learn and grow from the advice and experience of your fellow business owners. Participants will be divided into small peer groups that provide support throughout the program and enhance your professional network.
Business Growth Plan
At the completion of the BLUE-RAP program, you’ll have a plan of action to expand your retail or restaurant business that you can immediately implement. Program participants will have the opportunity to present their growth plans to a panel of local business experts, corporate partners, micro lenders and venture capitalists and receive valuable, actionable feedback. The training and counseling sessions will guide you in creating a powerful growth plan.
BLUE- RAP participants, receive access to invitation-only events from our program partners, and gain the opportunity to put Rutgers MBA students to work on special projects for your business.
To gain the full benefit of the BLUE-RAP, all participants must commit to:
- Half a day training sessions biweekly
- Additional hours (approximately 6-9) over the six-month program for business development and financial coaching
- Developing and presenting a customized growth plan for your business
The BLUE-RAP program is a 13 week program that runs from February – August.