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NYC Small Business Services
Press Release

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Thursday, June 21, 2012


BID Challenge and BID Express Encourages Innovation In the City’s 67 BIDs, and Helps Expand BID Program to Smaller Neighborhoods

New York – Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert K. Steel announced today two new initiatives of the New York City Department of Small Business Services (SBS) that will help strengthen New York City’s neighborhood business districts. The announcement was made during the Association for a Better New York breakfast. The 23 Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) formed during the Bloomberg Administration— 20 of which are located outside of Manhattan— is the highest number created under a single administration. New York City currently has 67 BIDs, the most in the nation. BIDs help make neighborhoods more inviting to businesses and residents and support economic activity and job creation, and currently invest more than $100 million every year in safety, sanitation and business attraction. BID Challenge and BID Express will help strengthen the City’s BID program by encouraging innovation and expanding opportunities for smaller neighborhoods.

"Strengthening New York City’s business environment also means strengthening New York City’s neighborhood business districts, and we have seen the transformative impact that BIDs can have,” Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert K. Steel said. “Under Mayor Bloomberg’s leadership the City has experienced a commercial renaissance in neighborhoods in all five boroughs, and BID Challenge and BID Express will further expand the Bloomberg Administration’s record of empowering BIDs."

"BIDs across the City are coming up with creative and innovative ways to improve their neighborhoods, like Myrtle Avenue’s ‘Rolling up the Gates’ initiative, or Union Square’s ‘Harvest in the Square.’ BID Challenge is designed to challenge more neighborhoods to do even better," said Rob Walsh, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services. "And we aren’t stopping there. BID Express will help expand the program so smaller corridors can benefit from services."

To encourage innovation amongst the BIDs and challenge neighborhoods in the five boroughs to do even better, $250,000 in seed funding will be available through BID Challenge to BIDs with the most innovative and creative plans for strengthening their neighborhoods and attracting more jobs and investment. Awards up to $75,000 will be made to pilot innovative ideas, with successful initiatives being rolled out across the City, as appropriate. BIDs with annual assessment budgets under $1 million are eligible to apply. Applications are available at The deadline to apply is Friday, August 31 at 5:00 pm. Winners will be announced after Labor Day.

BID Express is a new cost sharing model that will allow commercial corridors that are smaller than typical BID neighborhoods, as well as smaller existing BIDs, access central services within SBS, pool resources, and share overhead expenses so more resources can be invested in neighborhoods. Smaller BIDs spend as much as 45% of their budget on administrative costs, compared to just 15% for larger BIDs, which is a significant hurdle for smaller commercial corridors to overcome. BID Express will help bring expanded BID benefits to existing smaller BIDs, and to as many as 5 commercial corridors that currently do not have BIDs.

About the NYC Department of Small Business Services
The NYC 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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