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PR- 408-08
October 14, 2008


Through Business Solution Centers, SBS Programs Provide Assistance with Financing, Legal Services, Hiring and Training Services, Access to Incentives and Navigation of Regulations

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Small Business Services (SBS) Commissioner Robert W. Walsh today joined representatives from the Chambers of Commerce of Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, Staten Island and the Bronx to announce partnerships to expand small business assistance programs administered through the NYC Business Solutions Centers. As small businesses encounter growing challenges resulting from the ongoing economic downturn, the Chambers of Commerce and SBS will work together to expand their efforts to identify and reach out to businesses that may benefit from existing assistance programs. In particular, SBS services that help position businesses to maximize their financing opportunities and connect them to the right lenders will be increasingly important as access to capital becomes more difficult for businesses of all kinds.

"The impact of the turmoil in the financial markets goes well beyond Wall Street - businesses of all sizes and virtually all industries are already feeling the brunt of this economic downturn, and the challenges are likely to get far greater before they recede," said Mayor Bloomberg. "Through our NYC Business Solutions Centers, we already provide New York City's small businesses - which employ half of our City's workforce - with a range of services that, now more than ever, can help them tackle challenges, become more competitive and grow. By partnering with the chambers of commerce in all five boroughs, we can reach more businesses to make sure that they know these programs exist and that we're here to help. We know accessing capital is going to be increasingly difficult for small businesses, but we want them to be in the best position possible to weather the storm."

Joining the Mayor at the announcement at the NYC Business Solution Center on Bond Street in Brooklyn were Brooklyn Chamber President Carl Hum, Queens Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice President Jack Friedman, Bronx Chamber of Commerce CEO Lenny Caro, Manhattan Chamber of Commerce President Nancy Ploeger, Staten Island Chamber of Commerce

Vice President of Government Affairs Patrick Hyland, ACCION New York CEO Gina Harman, Seedco Financial Services Senior Vice President Steven Cohen, and Allison Fisichelli, co-owner of Robicelli's Gourmet Market in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.

"Even during the best of times operating a business can be challenging," Commissioner Walsh. "Through NYC Business Solutions, we have account managers across our City who are experts in helping small businesses access capital, develop or refine business plans, and navigate City government.  I thank Mayor Bloomberg for his support and applaud the Chambers of Commerce for helping to make the connection to these resources."

SBS and the Chambers of Commerce in each borough will partner to identify and target businesses that can benefit from the suite of NYC Business Solutions services. SBS will provide the chambers with an overview of the services offered, as well as a set of specific questions to ask businesses in order to determine needs. SBS will also provide marketing materials and a simple referral form they can use to send their members, in particular for loan packaging assistance.

"The Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce is proud to administer the Business Solutions Center in Brooklyn in partnership with the Department of Small Business Services," said Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce President Carl Hum. "Our commitment is to provide sound, reliable advice to area businesses - particularly during these challenging economic times. The Chamber has been a cornerstone of the Borough's business community for 90 years. We have helped businesses through fiscal turmoil in the past and along with our partners are ready to help businesses face this current situation."

"Now more than ever, businesses need support and technical assistance to get them through trying times," said Bronx Chamber of Commerce CEO Lenny Caro. "Chambers of Commerce provide a forum for business owners to network, share resources and obtain the support they need.  We applaud Mayor Bloomberg, Commissioner Rob Walsh and the Department of Small Business Services on this endeavor and look forward to working with them to assist Bronx businesses."

"The Queens Chamber of Commerce has enjoyed a wonderful relationship with the Business Solution Center system and we have been in talks during these tough economic times to strengthen that relationship even further in hopes of assisting small businesses which are truly the lifeblood our borough," said Queens Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice President Jack Friedman.

"In this difficult economic environment, it is important that small business owners are aware of all potential assistance that is available to them," said Staten Island Chamber of Commerce President Linda Baran. "There are serious challenges ahead of us and that is why I am pleased to standing with Mayor Bloomberg, Commissioner Rob Walsh, and my Chamber colleagues discussing collaborative ways to assist the small business community of NYC."

"It is more important today than ever for small businesses to leverage all the support they have at their fingertips to help them run their businesses more effectively and to maximize their ability to reach new clients and retain their current customer base," said Manhattan Chamber of Commerce President Nancy Ploeger. "The Manhattan Chamber of Commerce offers support for our small business members, and, in partnership with the NYC Department of Small Business Services, we offer a full range of products and services to the community. We are proud to partner with SBS to further the economic growth of small businesses in our borough."

At NYC Business Solution Centers, businesses in all five boroughs can get assistance starting, operating and expanding in New York City. Regardless of the size or stage of the business, SBS helps businesses meet their needs by providing a wide array of services:

  • Financing: SBS helps businesses identify financing options and assess the right lender for their specific business needs, whether that is commercial banks or, where appropriate, credit unions, such as SEEDCO or ACCION New York. In addition to helping clients improve their credit scores, refine their business plans and develop their initial financial projections and cash-flow statements, SBS will then help businesses package their applications and leverage existing relationships with lenders to increase the businesses' chances of successfully receiving a loan.

  • Legal Assistance: SBS connects businesses to a network of pro-bono lawyers that can help with the legal process to establish a business, develop sound contracts and leases and protect their ideas.

  • Business Courses & Business Planning: SBS helps businesses develop strategies and teaches them the skills that will help them reach their goals.

  • Navigating Government: SBS works to demystify what can seem complicated government procedures to help clients smoothly meet regulations and requirements through NYC Business Express and resolve government-related issues.

  • Hiring: SBS can help save businesses money and time by providing access to a ready pool of pre-screened job candidates customized to their requirements.

  • Training: We help clients access matching funds for training to improve entry-level employee skills and increase the quality of business operations.

  • M/WBE Certification: SBS helps businesses complete the process to become Minority / Woman-owned Business Enterprise certified, which will help them gain more exposure and access to government contracts.

  • Incentives: SBS helps businesses identify and take advantage of government incentives that will save them money as they relocate, expand or make capital improvements.

"When my husband and I first tried to open our market, we could not get a loan from a bank - we were considered too risky," said Allison Fisichelli, co-owner of Robicelli's Gourmet Market in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. "An NYC Business Solutions Account Manager helped us refine our business plan and prepare all the financial documents that lenders require, and referred us to lenders who would finance our business.  We were able to receive three loans from Credit Unions. I encourage other entrepreneurs to take advantage of NYC Business Solutions services."

In the last year, SBS has helped 170 businesses secure more than $11.8 million in financing, provided 2,200 clients with free business education courses, saved clients an average of $2,000 on legal fees to structure their business and review contracts, helped more than 400 businesses hire 5,000 employees and worked with more than 5,000 entrepreneurs to develop long-range business plans. Since 2005, New York City has awarded more than $5.6 million to 51 companies to train nearly 3,700 workers, matched by more than $7.3 million in employer contributions. For more information about NYC Business Solution Centers or the assistance they provide, visit or call 311.

NYC Business Solution Centers:

9 Bond Street, 5th Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201; Phone: 718.875.3400
Hours:  Monday - Friday, 9:00AM - 5:00PM

358 East 149th Street, Bronx, NY 10455; Phone: 718.960.7988
Hours: Monday - Friday, 9:00AM - 5:00PM
Evening Classes or Events Hours: Wednesday, 9:00AM - 8:00PM

168-25 91st Avenue, 2nd floor, Jamaica, NY 11432; Phone: 718.577.2150
Hours:  Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, 8:30AM - 5:00PM
Evening Classes or Events Hours:  Monday and Wednesday, 5:00PM - 8:00PM

Staten Island
SIEDC (temporary location*)
900 South Avenue, Suite 402, Staten Island, NY 10314; Phone: 718.477.1400
Hours: Monday-Friday, 9:00AM-5:00PM
*Permanent location scheduled to open in February 2009 at 60 Bay Street, Staten Island, NY 10301

Manhattan (Lower)
79 John Street, New York, NY 10038; Phone: 212.618.8914
Hours: Monday - Friday, 9:00AM - 5:00PM

Manhattan (Midtown)
188 Madison Avenue, Room 052, New York, NY 10016; Phone: 212.592.7036
Hours: Tuesday - Friday, 11AM - 6PM; Monday 2PM - 6PM; Saturday 11AM - 2PM

Manhattan (Upper)
215 West 125th Street , 6th Floor, New York, NY 10027; Phone: 917.493.7243
Hours: Monday-Friday, 9:00AM-5:00PM
Evening Classes or Events Hours: Tuesdays & Thursdays, 4:00PM - 6:00PM or 6:00PM - 8:00PM


Stu Loeser/Andrew Brent   (212) 788-2958

Larry Scott Blackmon   (Small Business Services)
(212) 513-6318

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