Empowering People
& Revitalizing the Community

Profiles of Success

A picture is worth a thousand words. Read about our graduates and the business success they have found since their graduation from EDTP.

Jennifer Perno, Spring 2002
When people have aches and pains and need help getting back on their feet, chances are they will visit Jennifer Perno, co-owner of TheraSport Physical Therapy.  This 2002 graduate of LAEDA’s Entrepreneurial Development Training Program demonstrates the power of developing a plan and sticking with it.
   
After just one year of working for someone else, Ms. Perno enrolled in the Entrepreneurial Development Training Program (EDTP) in 2002.  “I learned so much in those 9 weeks, but the one thing that stuck with me was the importance of having a business plan,” said Perno.  “Even today, ten years since I started my business, I constantly go back to that original plan to check my progress and to keep me on track to reach my business goals.”
 
Graduating the program in 2002, Ms. Perno jumped right in and began implementing her plan.  Recognizing the need for time to both provide care to her patients and run a business, Ms. Perno decided to take on a partner to get the business started.  After initial market analysis showed Camden County as saturated with physical therapy offices, Ms. Perno and her partner opened their first location in Washington Township, NJ in 2003.  
 
In 2011, Ms. Perno turned her sights back towards Camden County and opened her second location in her hometown of Merchantville, NJ.  Financing the second location turned out to be more of a challenge than she expected. “In 2003 the process of applying for a business loan went so smooth.  Considering we were a 10 year old business and showing great growth, we thought the loan process would have been easier.  That was not the case,” she said.  After going through a more intense process, she was able to acquire the financing she needed to open her second location at 30 W. Maple Avenue in Merchantville.  
 
When asked to impart some advice to current and future graduates of EDTP, Ms. Perno singled out the role of passion in ones business.  “You have to have passion for what you are doing”, she said.  “If you go into a business just thinking about making money you will only get so far.  At the end of the day if you do not love what you do all the money in the world will not make you happy.”

Carlos Castro, Fall 2006

If there was one ingredient needed to be successful in business and life, some would argue that ingredient to be "Passion".Carlos Castro embodies the idea of being passionate about one's work and in one's life. As the Principal of Archi-Tecto Studios, LLC, Carlos' passion shines through in every project he does. 

In 2006, Carlos came to LAEDA looking to start a new phase in his life and enrolled in the Entrepreneurial Development Training Program. After graduating,    Carlos put his business plan to work and started, Archi-Tecto Studio, LLC, a professional architectural practice. Utilizing his wide professional experience,   Carlos' company specializes in the design of residential, commercial, educational, corporate, religious, and institutional building facilities. Just three years after graduating, Carlos has built his portfolio to a combined 3.8 million dollars of projects. One of his current projects, the Puerto Rican Unity for Progress new     headquarters, embodies his commitment to his clients - "Your Vision Through Our Eyes".

Eunice Jose, Spring 2005

Reverend Eunice Jose is the true definition of persistence. As the owner and operator of Loida Development Center, Ms. Jose achieved in her retirement what others have strived for all their lives, business ownership.

A graduate of the Entrepreneurial Development Training Program in 2001, Ms. Jose worked diligently on completing her business plan and opened for business in June of 2005. She named her business in honor of her daughter Loida who passed away. After several tough and lean years, she has built her business to a fully functional daycare center serving 22 children. In 2009. she expanded her business to a second location.

As a graduate of EDTP, Ms. Jose has returned to the program to offer encouragement to the next group of entrepreneurs coming up and to congratulate the latest graduates of the program.

Pattie White, Fall 2002

Pattie White grew up in Camden and remembers when Camden used to be the place to be. Born in 1961, Pattie grew up in Cramer Hill and went to Woodrow Wilson High School until 1978. Her passion for art was showcased in the halls of Woodrow Wilson through her mural work. She was rewarded with the "Up & Coming Women in Art" Award from Rutgers University.  

After working in graphic arts for many years, Pattie took the next step in her career and attended and graduated from The Art Institute of Philadelphia in 1991 with honors in visual communications. Her new found computer aided graphic skills led her to even more opportunities.
 
In March of 2003, Pattie decided to name her company South Jersey Printing "Impressions". After starting with one employee, Impressions has grown to six employees. Pattie has demonstrated her commitment to the people of Camden by hiring from inside the city and making sure that people who need a second chance are given one, and that if there is any creativity, it should be nurtured.
 
Impressions clientele includes Rutgers, Cooper Hospital, Camden Computer, The Walt Whitman Arts Center, Camden Yards Steel, Irrigation Systems, Del Monte, The Water Shoppe, Heads Up, To and Fro, Camden Electric, Harris Terminal Camden, just to name a few.

"We would work with whatever budget that the customer had, under any circumstances, and get them started, and nurture their marketing strategy, from the beginning. watching them grow, and do well that is our satisfaction."

Rosetta Brown, Fall 2006

In 1996, I applied to be a student in the LAEDA Entrepreneur Training Program, at which time I had the hopes of opening a group home for developmentally disabled persons.
After careful consideration, I was chosen to participate in the LAEDA program. I would never have guessed all the things I learned were not only instrumental in becoming a successful business owner, but also I acquired skills that I considered essential for life, especially since at the time I was a single parent.


Five years later, I found myself unemployed from a successful steamship company. Immediately my first thought was to pull out my EDTP training tapes. Yes, while in the EDTP course, I taped all of my instructors because I knew this information was invaluable. Little did I know that in 2001 1 would again try to be an entrepreneur — only this time it was in child daycare. To my surprise, this did not come easy. However, with every stumble and with every road block, I turned to LAEDA. My teachers remembered me and stepped right in to assist me.
Because of LAEDA, I have been able to open not only one (1) but three (3) child development centers from 2002 to 2008. The centers ranged from 4500 sq. ft to 11, 000 sq. ft. Today, the company is worth just under $1,000,000 and is about to sell at the top of a local brokers Top 10 list after being on the market for only seven (7) days. So far, we have had 15 inquiries and three (3) offers.

I was the 2005 Campbell Soup Entrepreneur of the Year and am on to my original passion — a business that involves developmentally disabled persons.

For inter-city individuals who are disadvantaged, in so much that they don’t carry a degree or any other formal training, LAEDA is a viable link in making impossible dreams an unbelievable reality. They are the reason for my success, and others like myself.

My first order of business after the sale of the Daycare is to contact LAEDA to assist me in the transition.