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Tuesday, October 4, 2011


International Downtown Association recognizes SBS for its 'Empowering Local Leaders to Transform New York City's Business District' programming

New York – The NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS) was awarded an International Downtown Association (IDA) 2011 Downtown Merit Award for its excellence in downtown leadership and management achieved through the initiatives described in the award submission, Empowering Local Leaders to Transform New York City’s Business Districts

The award winning programs included in the SBS submission encompass the agency’s four-pronged approach to increasing the capacity of local development organization partners: making investments to low- and moderate-income neighborhoods for commercial revitalization through the Avenue NYC program; offering free development and non-profit management training; providing technical assistance through the Neighborhood Retail Leasing program; and training local leaders in management and commercial revitalization skills through the Neighborhood Leadership program—an innovative partnership with the Coro New York Leadership Center that will be accepting applications in the end of October.

“New York City’s economy greatly depends on the commercial revitalization efforts of local partner organizations,” said SBS Commissioner Robert Walsh. “The presence of strong local leadership is critical to achieving results, which is why our focus is on providing local organizations with the financial, technical and human resources support they need to sustain vibrant commercial corridors.”

Avenue NYC is a competitive grant program that provides funding to local economic development corporations and Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) in project areas such as business attraction, neighborhood economic development planning, BID formation/expansion, façade improvement management, merchant organizing, placemaking, and website development. Since FY 2009, Avenue NYC has awarded $6.2 million to local economic development corporations and BIDs, allowing 69 local organizations to achieve tremendous impact in the commercial districts they serve.

The Non-Profit Management Training program offers workshops, roundtables and one-on-one technical assistance to support BID and Local Development Corporation (LDC) programs and operations. Workshop topics include: fundraising and fund development, non-profit financial management, board development, program evaluation, strategic planning, communications and marketing, and more. Over the past 2 years, SBS has provided over 2,100 hours of training to 130 staff and Board members of BIDs and LDCs.

The Neighborhood Retail Leasing program provides organization staff with technical training and assistance attracting new retail businesses to commercial districts. The program includes workshops and one-on-one technical assistance sessions that teach participants how retail businesses make site selection decisions and how to attract these retail businesses to their districts.

The Coro Neighborhood Leadership program is a five-month leadership training program that provides visionary commercial revitalization leaders the tools, experiences and networks they need to develop new ways to lead change in their organizations and communities, and strengthen New York City’s commercial corridors. Applications for the second class will be accepted in the fall. Eligible candidates must be dedicated management staff of non-profit organizations that serve commercial districts in New York City, such as a Business Improvement District (BID), local development corporation or other non-profit organization whose work focuses on commercial revitalization activities.

“The emerging leaders that completed the Neighborhood Leadership program are already applying what they learned to make real change in their communities,” said Scott Millstein, Executive Director of Coro New York Leadership Center. “The partnership has been a great success and we are so pleased that Commissioner Walsh and the dedicated SBS staff are being recognized for their commitment to New York City’s neighborhoods.”

“SBS has been consistently innovative in their development of new programs to effect positive change in the neighborhoods of New York City,” said Laurel Brown, Executive Director of the Jamaica Center Business Improvement District and Coro Neighborhood Leadership program participant. “ I’ve taken everything that I have learned in the Neighborhood Leadership program - from retail development strategies to the skills needed to be an effective change agent - and directly applied them to how I manage my district.”

“We awarded SBS the 2011 Downtown Merit Award for delivering excellence in downtown management,” said David Downey, IDA President and CEO. “Each year the IDA Awards Jury recognizes organizations that utilize best practices in our industry, and SBS is a shining example of downtown management that delivers real results.” 

About the Department of Small Business Services
The Department of Small Business Services (SBS) makes it easier for businesses in New York City to start, operate, and expand by providing direct assistance to business owners, fostering neighborhood development in commercial districts, and linking employers to a skilled and qualified workforce. For more information on all of SBS’ services go to

  Contact: Merideth Weber, SBS, 212-513-6318 /  

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