New York, July 9, 2009 - Small Business Services (SBS) Commissioner Robert W. Walsh and The Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA) Commissioner Guillermo Linares today announced that more than 100 business owners met with lenders during their agencies’ first bilingual NYC Business Solutions Financing Fair held at the Malcolm X & Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial, Educational and Cultural Center in Washington Heights. Helping small business grow is an integral part of the Mayor's Five Borough Economic Opportunity Plan to create jobs for New Yorkers today, implement a vision for long-term economic growth, and build affordable, attractive neighborhoods.
“Mayor Bloomberg recognizes that during these tough times we need to ensure that all of New York City’s small business owners have access to services,” said Commissioner Walsh. “The financing fair is one of the many City initiatives supporting businesses during this economic climate and giving them the opportunity for growth.”
The NYC Business Solutions Financing Fair, which was held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. today, is part of a five-initiative plan to support Hispanic Business during this economic downturn. There are more than 130,000 Latino-owned businesses in New York City, with receipts of $8.7 billion a year, and annual payrolls of $250 million. The remaining initiatives include a new NYC Business Solutions satellite office in Washington Heights, greater access to pro bono legal assistance through the NYC Business Solutions Centers, the development of a seminar to train Hispanic business associations on services available to businesses, and the launch of an online directory on the National Hispanic Business Information Clearinghouse website.
“Credit, the lifeblood of any enterprise, is often harder won by immigrant-owned small businesses than others,” said Commissioner Linares. “However, these businesses taken collectively form the backbone of the City’s economy. I applaud the Mayor’s urgency in supporting these ventures, and we are grateful to have such excellent leadership in Commissioner Walsh and the Department of Small Business Services in delivering these initiatives.”
The NYC Business Solutions Financing Fair was designed to match entrepreneurs and small business owners with traditional and alternative lenders. More than 100 businesses and entrepreneurs, including restaurants, beauty salons, among others, had the opportunity to pitch their financing needs. English and Spanish speaking account managers represented each lender. The lenders attending the financing fair included Accion USA, Banco Popular, Capital One, Citibank, Grameen America, Harlem Entrepreneurial Fund, Neighborhood Trust Federal Credit Union, New York City Financial Network Action Consortium (NYCfNAC), Project Enterprise, Seedco Financial, Sovereign Bank, UMEZ, WHIDC, Chase, Wachovia/ Wells Fargo, Legal Aid Society as well as the Office of Financial Empowerment.
The City has been working with a coalition of Hispanic businesses, community-based organizations, and others to develop initiatives that strengthen the capacity of Hispanic businesses and provide greater access to the City's financing and business assistance services.
- NYC Business Solutions Center Satellite Office in Washington Heights – In September 2009, the Department of Small Business Services will open an NYC Business Solutions satellite office in Washington Heights. The satellite office will be housed in the office of a local business services organization and will complement the services of the NYC Business Solutions, Upper Manhattan Center located at 215 West 125th Street. The satellite office will be staffed with bilingual (Spanish and English) account managers to ensure that entrepreneurs and business owners can access NYC Business Solutions services in the Spanish language. Since 2004, the Department of Small Business Services has established six NYC Business Solutions Centers throughout the City to provide entrepreneurs and small business owners help with starting, operating and expanding their businesses in New York City.
- Greater Access to Pro-Bono Legal Assistance – The Department of Small Business Services has partnered with the Legal Aid Society to support the launch of expanded Spanish language legal workshops at NYC Business Solution Centers. In August, the partnership will launch a Spanish language workshop series designed to educate businesses on the most common issues and challenges associated with commercial leases and contracts. Currently, the Department of Small Business Services helps small businesses connect to pro bono legal services for assistance with contract review, business formation and intellectual property advice.
- Assistance and Education from City Agencies – Within the next two months the Department of Small Business Services and the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs will host a half-day seminar for Hispanic business associations. Through a series of presentations and workshops, business associations will be given comprehensive training on the range of services offered to businesses by the City. Representatives from the Department of Small Business Services will cover the full suite of NYC Business Solutions services including navigating government, minority and women-owned business enterprise certification, training employees, help accessing incentives as well as legal, financing and hiring assistance. The program will also include a session on credit repair services presented by representatives from the Department of Consumer Affairs' Office of Financial Empowerment.
- Bilingual Online Directory with National Hispanic Business Information Clearinghouse – The National Hispanic Business Information Clearinghouse (NHBIC) has launched the NHBIC web portal ( www.hispanicbic.org) for small businesses in New York in partnership with the Department of Small Business Services and the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs. The Western Union sponsored NHBIC web portal is a free online resource that provides critical local business assistance information to entrepreneurs and business owners in Spanish and English. NHBIC helps immigrant entrepreneurs and business owners successfully integrate and build regional economies.
About the Five Borough Economic Opportunity Plan
The Five Borough Economic Opportunity Plan is a comprehensive strategy to bring New York City through the current economic downturn as fast as possible. It focuses on three major areas: creating jobs for New Yorkers today, implementing a long-term vision for growing the city's economy, and building affordable, attractive neighborhoods in every borough. Taken together, the initiatives that the City has launched to achieve these goals will generate thousands of jobs and put New York City on a path to economic recovery and growth. For more information go to www.nyc.gov.
About the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs
The Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs promotes the well-being of immigrant communities by recommending policies and programs that facilitate successful integration of immigrant New Yorkers into the civic, economic, and cultural life of the City. For more information go to www.nyc.gov/immigrant.
About the Department of Small Business Services
The Department of Small Business Services makes it easier for businesses in New York City to form, do business, and grow by providing direct assistance to business owners, fostering neighborhood development in commercial districts, and linking employers to a skilled and qualified workforce. NYC Workforce1 Career Centers offer services to meet the needs of all jobseekers, including one-on-one job and career counseling, technical and educational services, workshops, and referrals to training providers. For more information on all of SBS’ services go to www.nyc.gov/sbs.