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News
September 7, 2016
3 minute read

With EDA Support, Bestwork Industries for the Blind Offers Training and Employment Opportunities While Ramping Up Manufacturing


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EDA President and Chief Operating Office Tim Lizura observes as Machine Operator Cynthia Williams makes a jacket.

TRENTON (September 7, 2016) – For 35 years, Bestwork Industries for the Blind, Inc. in Cherry Hill has been providing training and employment opportunities for blind and visually impaired adults, by engaging them in the manufacturing of a variety of products. Bestwork’s customers include the U.S. Military, the General Services Administration, the State of New Jersey and commercial firms.

Founded in 1981 by James Varsaci, a veteran who lost his sight during World War II, Bestwork, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit  corporation with 82 employees, manufactures military clothing, safety clothing, vinyl tool bags, laundry nets, and polishing and wiping cloths. Bestwork also provides non-sterile examination gloves, adult briefs and industrial paper wipes to its customers.

When Bestwork looked to expand its presence within South Jersey, it turned to the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA)’s Small Business Fund for support. Through the Fund, Bestwork, which is now led by President and Chief Executive Officer Belinda Moore, received a TD Bank loan with a 33 percent EDA participation. Bestwork used the funding to purchase its new, larger facility on Olney Avenue in Cherry Hill.  

“At 50,000 square feet, our new location is nearly double the space that we had been using,” Moore said. “We are grateful that the Small Business Fund has enabled us to expand into a larger location, increasing our manufacturing capabilities and reaching a broader customer base.”

To showcase Bestwork’s growth and highlight financing opportunities available to small businesses throughout the Garden State, EDA President and Chief Operating Officer Tim Lizura today visited the company.

“The EDA is committed to helping small businesses and not-for-profit organizations throughout the State,” Lizura said. “Bestwork’s impact on South Jersey’s industry is impressive; they’re not only manufacturing items for the military and other outlets, but also creating job opportunities for individuals within the blind and visually impaired community.”

The Small Business Fund offers assistance to qualified businesses and not-for-organizations through direct loans, participations or guarantees, with a fixed interest rate and an expedited approval process. To be eligible, businesses must be in operation for at least one full year and not-for-profit corporations must be operating for at least three full years. 

Today’s visit complements the EDA’s enhanced efforts to facilitate awareness of the programs it offers to support small and mid-sized businesses and not-for-profits, including a print and digital marketing campaign and social media channels. Centered on the theme “EDA Was Here,” the campaign and new social media presence highlight how organizations like Bestwork have used the EDA’s financing programs to overcome challenges, meet their needs and grow. Through its small business lending programs, the EDA provided 55 companies with more than $32 million in assistance in 2015.

To learn about EDA resources for small businesses and not-for-profits, visit
https://www.njeda.com/small_midsize_business and follow @NJEDAWasHere on Twitter and LinkedIn.
 
The EDA is part of the state’s results-driven Partnership for Action. Created by Governor Christie and led by Lt. Governor Guadagno, the Partnership is the hub for all economic development activity in New Jersey and is comprised of four interconnected and highly focused organizational elements: Choose New Jersey, the Business Action Center, the Office of the Secretary of Higher Education and the EDA. 
 
To learn more about opportunities for business growth throughout New Jersey, visit the state’s business portal at www.NewJerseyBusiness.gov or call the Business Action Center at (866) 534-7789.
 

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Tim Lizura, EDA President and Chief Operating Officer, Belinda Moore, CEO, Bestwork Industries, and Steve McLaughlin, Vice President, Finance and Operations, Bestwork Industries.

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