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NYC Small Business Services
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Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Community Leaders Working to Strengthen New York City’s Commercial Corridors Encouraged to Apply Before December 9 Deadline

 New York - The Department of Small Business Services (SBS), along with the Coro New York Leadership Center, today announced the second year of the Neighborhood Leadership Program, a five-month part-time leadership training program that provides individuals working to strengthen New York City’s commercial corridors with the tools, experiences and networks they need to develop new ways to lead change in their organizations and communities.

“Empowering leaders from the ground up is crucial to supporting New York City’s neighborhoods,” Commissioner Walsh said. “Neighborhood Leadership provides a unique opportunity for local leaders to craft a vision for their commercial district and learn strategies and create a network for making real progress toward that vision.”

“Business Improvement Districts and local development corporations are a critical resource for the retail corridors of so many New York neighborhoods, but the leaders of these organizations face complex challenges in their efforts to support small business development,” said Scott Millstein, Executive Director of Coro New York Leadership Center. “This is why we are so pleased to work with Commissioner Walsh and the Department of Small Business Services to develop Neighborhood Leadership. We look forward to a recruiting a new class committed to making their neighborhoods a better place for all who live and work there.”

In 2011, twenty individuals representing communities in all five boroughs partook in the program, covering topics on leadership development as well as commercial revitalization strategies. During seven day-long training modules and a two day retreat, participants worked with experts in the field as well as fellow participants to develop their personal leadership skills and hone their commercial revitalization expertise. The program incorporates the leadership development curriculum created by Coro, New York City’s premier leadership training program.

Following the program, past participants reported directly using their new skills to improve their neighborhoods and organizations. One participant received a promotion to continue helping to unearth the potential of struggling South Bronx commercial districts, and another participant doubled the size of her staff and pioneered various programs for her district, including a new marketing campaign, a new visual merchandising program which helps merchants improve the design of their storefronts and merchandise inside the stores, and a marquee cultural tourism event aimed at promoting the fashion retailers and downtown Jamaica as an urban fashion center.

“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.”

Based on its initial success, SBS and Coro, with support from the Association for a Better New York (ABNY), TD Bank, and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, are launching the second year of the Neighborhood Leadership Program. Twenty participants will be selected for the next class, which begins in January. To be eligible for the program, leaders must be dedicated management staff of nonprofit organizations that serve commercial districts in New York City, such as Business Improvement Districts (BID), local development corporations or other non-profit organizations whose work focuses on commercial revitalization activities.

For more information and to apply, visit or Applications must be received by Friday, December 9, 2011.

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

About the Coro New York Leadership Center
Coro is New York City’s premier leadership training program and a community of 2,000 alumni across business, government, schools and non-profits that is shaping the city’s future. For nearly 30 years, Coro has used the city as its classroom teaching students and executives, activists and entrepreneurs how New York works so that they can make it better. For more information about Coro, please visit

  Contact: Merideth Weber (Small Business Services) (212) 513-6318  

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