Paul V. Profeta, the publisher of Real Estate New Jersey, speaks during the Free Entrepreneurial Workshop at the New Jersey Institute of Technology campus in Newark. — Photos by Karen Q. Pisciotta
Paul V. Profeta, the publisher of Real Estate NJ, recently pledged a significant sum of money to New Jersey Institute of Technology in order to launch the minority Enterprise Center at 211 Warren St. on the NJIT campus in Newark. The building has since been named the Profeta Center. The work of the Profeta Center began in earnest this fall with the inception of the “Free Entrepreneurial Workshop” being held Saturday mornings from September through November.
Sixty applicants have signed up for the course, which is an intensive training boot camp on how to launch your own small business.
Profeta also operates the Profeta Urban Investment Foundation, which provides the seed capital to these kinds of minority, Newark-based startup companies at no interest and no liability. Since its inception several years ago, the Profeta Urban Investment Foundation has launched 15 businesses which have created 450 new jobs in the Newark market.
The “Free Entrepreneurial Workshop,” which began Saturday, Sept. 9, is a unique mixture of academic business education and hands-on advice/experience from successful minority entrepreneurs. Several of Profeta’s “graduates” have come back to teach and explain the “grit” it takes to get such a small business off the ground. One teacher, the Rev. Gerald Whitaker, founded Bridge Builders with the Profeta Urban Investment Foundation’s seed capital and is now employing more than 150 people. Malik Carey, with the help of the Profeta Urban Investment Foundation, founded Family Healing Center, which now has more than 30 psychologists on its staff. And finally, Aminata Dukuray from Ancient African Formula at 109 Halsey St. started with a shea butter cosmetic business and has now branched into genuine custom-made African women’s clothing made in Africa from genuine African fabric.
The academic instructors are Profeta himself, John Harmon, president of the African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey; Karen Pisciotta of Real Estate New Jersey; CJ Meenan, Startup Strategist; the Rev. Gerald Whitaker and Malik Carey (both mentioned above).
It is hoped that this seminar will be the catalyst to launch several new businesses in Newark whose “graduates” will come back to help out at the next seminar in the winter.