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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, February 21, 2013


DEPARTMENT OF SBS CONGRATULATES GRADUATES OF STRATEGIC STEPS FOR GROWTH, A PROGRAM TO HELP GROW MINORITY AND WOMEN-OWNED SMALL BUSINESSES

Nine-Month Premier Management Training Program Provides Skills, Training and Professional Networking Opportunities to NYC Entrepreneurs

The Department of SBS and the Berkley Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation at New York University (NYU) Leonard N. Stern School of Business graduated the third cohort of Strategic Steps for Growth during a graduation ceremony at the NYU Stern School of Business. Strategic Steps for Growth is a premiere management training program that provides minority and women business owners a clear path for accelerating growth of their business through entrepreneurial education, connections, and access to new markets. To date, the 55 Strategic Steps for Growth graduates have collectively secured over $64 million in new government contracts, nearly $2 million in new financing and created over 240 new jobs.

“Strategic Steps for Growth provides minority and women small business owners with the skills and networks they need to grow their business and succeed,” said Rob Walsh, Commissioner of the Department of Small Business Services. “But it doesn’t end there. I encourage all 55 graduates to stay in touch with each other and with the City, and continue to take advantage of all the services NYC Business Solutions has to offer.”

“Small business owners are the most important American economic engine and when we get them the training, skills and support they need, they can’t be stopped from growing, creating more jobs and increasing their revenue,” said Jean Horstman, CEO of Boston-based Interise, the non-profit which provides the curriculum for the initiative. “These graduates will continue to prove that the efforts here in New York and in other locations around the country are working. It is important to change the conversation, change the dynamic and change the national focus on job creation and build on success investing in the sweet spot of job creation, established small businesses.”

“Strategic Steps for Growth helped me become more aware of our weaknesses as a business and gave us the tools to fix them,” said Marcelo Aspesi, Millennium Maintenance and Electrical Contractors. “I now know where I need to focus my attention to move my business forward and succeed in today’s economy.”

“Strategic Steps for Growth helped me run my company with my brain rather than just my heart. It's all about the numbers!” said Sheila Brody, owner of The Green Spa and Wellness Center.

The program incorporates an award-winning curriculum developed by Interise, a Boston-based nonprofit, and is facilitated by Cynthia Franklin, Senior Associate Director and professor at the Berkley Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation. Program graduates worked with business experts and fellow entrepreneurs to clearly define a pathway for their company’s growth. They learned the strategic skills needed to run a growing business and using their own business as their case study, graduate the program with a custom three-year Strategic Growth Action PlanTM. The program also provides participants with a business network that offers support for every aspect of their business operation going forward.

To be eligible for the program, businesses must be certified with the City as a Minority- or Women-owned Business Enterprise (M/WBE). Last month, Mayor Bloomberg signed Local Law 1 into law which strengthens the City’s Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprise (M/WBE) program by building on the achievements of Local Law 129, passed in 2005. Local Law 129 helped increase the number of M/WBE firms certified to participate in the City’s program from 700 to more than 3,500, with certified firms winning more than $3 billion in City contracts. By removing the program’s $1 million cap on contracts, the new legislation increases the overall value of program-eligible contracts from $400 million to $2.2 billion, allowing M/WBEs to compete more effectively for higher-valued contracts.

This year’s 14 graduates collectively generate over $21 million in gross annual revenue and employ over 380 New Yorkers. Graduates include:

BP Architecture PC architectural firm specializing in commercial and residential new construction development, adaptive re-use, LEED certification and historic preservation.

Curtis + Ginsberg Architects LLP – award-winning design practice in commercial, urban, multi-family, educational and institutional developments.

High Achievers, Inc. – a leading provider of special education services to non-public schools throughout New York City.

House of Little People – family-owned early childhood learning facility founded in 1976 that provides continuity of developmental care from infancy to pre-school age.

Kings Security Services, Inc. – Bronx-based provider of experienced, armed security and fire guards.

Millennium Maintenance and Electrical Contractors – full service electrical contractor in NYC specializing in energy-efficient lighting and design.

North American DF, Inc. – print and promotional product solutions provider.

Seagull Construction Services.  – provides general construction, construction management,self-performing trade services and design build.

Sitters Studio – provides childcare services through their staff of artists at clients’ sites or at group daycare location.

Stealth Communications – provides high-speed Internet access, Ethernet transport (data transmission), and peering/interconnection services.

Sunshine Best Cleaning, Inc. –provides professional cleaning services to residential and commercial entities.

Thaumaturgix, Inc. – IT consultancy servicing projects through full life cycle.

The Green Spa & Wellness Center – Brooklyn-based green spa and wellness center that also offers green skincare products and was voted “2012 #1 Wellness Center in America” by Day Sspa Magazine.

The Leading Niche – a strategy,operations and IT consultancy that services corporate, non-profit and government clients.

For more information on Strategic Steps for Growth visit www.nyc.gov/strategicsteps or call 311.

About the Department of Small Business Services
The Department of Small Business Services (SBS) 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. For more information on all of SBS’ services go to www.nyc.gov/sbs.

About the Berkley Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation
The Berkley Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation was founded in 1984 at New York University's Leonard N. Stern School of Business to create new knowledge in the field of entrepreneurship and innovation, to prepare the next generation of entrepreneurial leaders in the business and social sectors, and to provide intellectual leadership for the business and academic communities. For more information about Berkley Center programs and activities, visit stern.nyu.edu/berkley.

About Interise
Interise stimulates economic revitalization in lower income communities by providing a diverse group of small business owners with entrepreneurial education, new networks, and access to markets. The Interise community creates jobs, grows businesses, and develops community leaders. Interise is based in Boston, Massachusetts. For more information about Interise, please visit http://www.interise.org/.



  Contacts:
Merideth Weber (SBS), mweber@sbs.nyc.gov, 212-513-6318
Carolyn Ritter (NYU Stern Berkley Center), critter@stern.nyu.edu, 212-998-0624
Stacy McNary (Interise), 617-350-6335

 

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