Tawanda Jackson Insurance Agency, Inc.
422 West Side Avenue
Jersey City, NJ 07305
(201) 209 – 0290
Tawanda Jackson has been the proud owner of a State Farm Agency for more than nine years. Her major products include personal, business, auto, home, and property insurance. Tawanda leased office space in a Jersey City strip mall and had an opportunity to purchase a mixed-use property. The property would afford her the opportunity to own a place for her business and to rent two apartments to supplement her business cash flow.
To take advantage of that opportunity, Tawanda needed assistance to obtain funding, develop a business plan, and prepare pro forma financials. After completing a Request for Counseling form in March 2017, Al Izzi of the NJSBDC at New Jersey City University contacted Tawanda. Al and Beshoy (Al’s intern at the time) worked with Tawanda for seven months, assisting her in preparing her loan package, finding an appropriate lender, and submitting the loan package to the lender. “Preparing a loan package takes time,” advises Al, “and there was a lot of going back and forth with the lender to make sure she was able to complete the due diligence process and close on her loan.” After working extensively with their client and the lender, Tawanda was able to obtain a $750,000 SBA-guaranteed loan to purchase the property.
With funding in place, Tawanda has been successful in relocating her business, renovating her apartments, and moving forward to expand her business. Tawanda’s rental income covers the cost of the loan, while client revenues have grown steadily. The new location also offers better client accessibility and the potential for increased sales, which are projected to be in the high-growth clientele profile.
“As a small business entrepreneur, it is difficult to focus on the future as day-to-day operations consume a significant amount of time. I needed to make a move as my rental expense was increasing. I went to major lenders and was told that I could not obtain funding to buy a building. I went to the SBDC and discussed my problem and my plans for the future,” said Tawanda. “The SBDC provided the guidance and counseling whereby I was able to obtain funding to purchase my own building and improve my day-to-day cash flow. A special thanks to Al and Beshoy for their assistance and continued support.”
According to Al, this was a classic case of continually working with a client to obtain funding and provide post-funding guidance. Tawanda became an advocate for the SBDC, joining other statewide SBDC clients to accompany NJSBDC network’s COO-Associate State Director, meeting with key staff of the Governor’s office and the Treasury Department to illustrate the beneficial impact the NJSBDC program has on small business success.