Norwescap center is one of many USDA-funded projects

SUSSEX. In the past five years, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has invested more than $50 million in about 230 projects in Sussex County.

Sussex /
| 10 Apr 2024 | 06:02

The $77,797 Rural Business Development Grant to help establish the Norwescap Center for Entrepreneurship is just one of the ways the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) helps Sussex County.

Jane Asselta, state director for New Jersey Rural Development with the USDA, said the department invested $107 million in New Jersey in the past fiscal year. “That is your taxpayer dollars coming back from Washington to be invested here in New Jersey, and our investments are geared to rural areas.”

In the past five years, the USDA has invested more than $50 million in about 230 projects in Sussex County, she said.

The department provides funds to build community facilities, such as a town hall, fire station and senior center, in small rural communities, she said. “We want to increase the likelihood that that community continues to grow and thrive.”

In addition, the USDA assists nonprofit organizations; helps purchase and build multifamily housing and provides rental assistance to tenants; and gives money for water and sewer infrastructure projects.

”We helped 150 families here in Sussex County be able to afford home ownership or repair their home so that they could age and stay in their home,” Asselta said.

USDA business programs include a 50 percent grant to help a business increase its energy efficiency, which reduces its overall costs, she said.

Norwescap and the USDA share the goal of changing people’s lives. “It’s never a risk for us to put taxpayer dollars behind helping you meet your mission.”

Plans for center

Dianna Morrison, director of Pathways 2 Prosperity at Norwescap, showed plans for the new Center for Entrepreneurship, which will be in the basement of Norwescap’s building at 37 Main St., Sussex.

It will include a conference room and a work area with computers, high-speed Wi-Fi, a printer, an interactive white board and large-screen televisions on the wall.

”The Center for Entrepreneurship is open to any small business who has a mindset to grow,” Morrison said.

“We’re going to have the education, the tools, the mentoring” and access to capital to build a successful small business, she added.

The center’s inaugural program, a series of professional development workshops for entrepreneurs, will begin Thursday, April 18. The launch was delayed from April 4.

The Business Development Academy will run for eight weeks, with sessions from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Thursdays. It will be led by expert trainers from UCEDC, a nonprofit Economic Development Corp.

Valued at $1,000, the program is offered free to qualified applicants.

Applications for the program are being accepted online at

For information, contact Sean Hyland, Norwescap’s community development project manager, at (908) 454-7000 ext. 1902 or