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Mayor Adams Celebrates new All-Time High Total Jobs Record, Announces $85 Million Delivered to Small Businesses Through Groundbreaking Opportunity Fund

March 11, 2024

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City Now Has More Than 4.73 Million Jobs, Nearly 300,000 Jobs Created Since Beginning of Adams Administration

More than 1,000 Businesses Served in Historic Small Business Services Program, Nearly 80 Percent of Loans Awarded to Minority- or Women-Owned Businesses

New York - New York City Mayor Eric Adams and New York City Department of Small Business Services (SBS) Commissioner Kevin D. Kim today celebrated that New York City has set another all-time high for the total number of jobs ever in the city's history, with 4,730,066 total jobs, according to new data released by the New York State Department of Labor.

As part of his administration's celebration of the city's economic resurgence and efforts to build more equitable opportunities, Mayor Adams also announced progress on his historic "NYC Small Business Opportunity Fund." Through the fund, SBS and partners have supported 1,046 businesses with loans totaling more than $85 million in affordable low-interest capital. The fund is the city's largest-ever public-private partnership fund directed at small businesses.

"When we came into office, we had a clear mission: protect public safety, revitalize our economy as quickly as possible, and make our city more livable for everyday New Yorkers," said Mayor Adams. "Today, our streets are safer, our sidewalks are cleaner, and we have more jobs than any time in our city's history. This is what it looks like to stand with working New Yorkers, and to build a fairer economy. We will continue fight for a city where all New Yorkers share in our prosperity."

One in seven small businesses have started since the start of the Adams administration, along with nearly 300,000 jobs being created. SBS's Workforce1 Career Center system has also helped hire and place more than 44,000 New Yorkers in jobs during that same time period. According to the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), since the first few months of 2022, small businesses with fewer than 50 employees have accounted for 45 percent of New York City's overall employment growth and have contributed more than $3.2 billion in direct economic output to the city.

The Small Business Opportunity Fund launched in January 2023 with $75 million committed by the city and partners, including Goldman Sachs and Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, offering loans of up to $250,000 to eligible small businesses with a market-leading interest rate of four percent. The fund was designed to broaden access to capital for historically-underserved communities by removing barriers such as application fees and minimum credit scores. As a result, approximately 80 percent of the fund's loans were awarded to minority- or women-owned businesses, including 69 percent to businesses owned by Black, indigenous, and people of color-owned firms, more than double the national average for Fiscal Year 2023. Additionally, 59 percent of loans were disbursed in low- to-medium income communities. Loans awarded from the fund averaged $80,000 and are being used by small business owners to refinance existing high-interest debt, expand into new storefronts, hire more New Yorkers, and fund other improvements to their enterprises.

"In recovering the nearly one million jobs we lost during the pandemic – more than a year ahead of schedule – and now setting a new record for the most total jobs in our city's history, it's clear that New York City is back and better than ever. But our work is not finished until every New Yorker can take advantage of the opportunities our city has to offer," said Deputy Mayor for Housing, Economic Development, and Workforce Maria Torres-Springer. "In addition to investing in our young people, embarking on a historic community hiring effort, and helping New Yorkers keep money in their pockets through the Earned Income Tax Credit, we are also making big investments in our small businesses. Access to capital is one of the biggest hurdles preventing our local entrepreneurs and business owners from fully realizing their potential, and this is especially true for our minority- and women-owned business owners. I am grateful to Commissioner Kim and our partners at Goldman Sachs and the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth for their leadership in delivering record amounts of capital to more than a thousand businesses through the NYC Opportunity Fund."

"The $85 million Opportunity Fund made a real impact on our neighborhoods and commercial corridors at a time when they needed it most," said SBS Commissioner Kevin D. Kim. "These loans aren't just dollar signs, but investments in the people and communities that make New York City the place we all know and love. Each of the more than 1,000 businesses owners we awarded loans to has a story to tell, families they cherish, and neighborhoods that they support. I want to thank Goldman Sachs, the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, and all of our Community Development Financial Institutions' partners for making the largest public-private partnership in our city's history possible and for joining us in building the City of Yes for small businesses."

"Since the start of this administration, Mayor Adams has strategically and effectively accelerated our economic recovery — and with another all-time jobs record shattered, it's clear that New York City is not only back, but it's better than ever," said NYCEDC President and CEO Andrew Kimball. "Thanks to Mayor Adams' economic agenda, we continue to see the positive effects ripple across the city, and NYCEDC will continue to work across the public and private sectors to foster an inclusive economy and make New York City the best place in the world to live, work, and play."

"This fund is having a tangible impact on small businesses across all five boroughs, creating jobs, financing expansions, and investing in equipment, products and services," said Asahi Pompey, global head, corporate engagement, Goldman Sachs. "This progress would not be possible without the network of CDFIs who work daily to improve the accessibility of capital across New York."

"The ability for small businesses to flourish depends on an ecosystem that supports innovation and resiliency," said Shamina Singh, founder and president, Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth. "Through this public-private collaboration, we've been able to support small businesses with their unique needs, while providing the means for them to scale their businesses. We are proud to support the Opportunity Fund and look forward to seeing New York City small businesses grow and thrive."

"This historic investment in small businesses is demonstrative of the impact local businesses have on our communities," said New York City Councilmember Susan Zhuang. "Whether it be a favorite restaurant or bookstore, initiatives like these protect our beloved local landmarks and provide opportunities for more entrepreneurs to start their own businesses in our great city. I look forward to seeing the impact this funding will have and for initiatives like this in the future."

Opportunity Fund recipients represent businesses from all five boroughs, and reflect a diverse pool of business owners across the city, including:

  • Jonathan Melo at Valley of Beracah Imprint in the Bronx, who used his loan of $26,110 from Ascendus to fulfill his dream of building a successful business and passing it on to his children. Melo's loan helped him increase capacity at his embroidering and apparel shop so he could meet demand in his community. Fourteen percent of loans were awarded to Bronx businesses, representing 147 Bronx businesses served with a total of $10 million in Opportunity Fund capital.
  • Chef Jae Lee at Nowon in Brooklyn, who used his loan of $250,000 from Renaissance EDC to expand to a market in Bushwick. The Opportunity Fund provided Lee with critical capital that was otherwise inaccessible from traditional lenders and enabled him to employ dozens of New Yorkers across two boroughs. A total of 260 Brooklyn businesses received $22.8 million in Opportunity Fund capital.
  • Sarina Prabasi and Elias Gurmu at Buunni Coffee in Manhattan, who used their loan of $100,000 from Accompany Capital to open their own coffee roastery for their own business, as well as make it available for other coffee shops in the surrounding area. The couple emigrated from Ethiopia and are proud to be able to share their home country's coffee culture with an even wider audience. More than 300 businesses in Manhattan received a total of $27 million in Opportunity Fund capital.
  • Shahadev Khadka at Green Tara Market in Queens, who used his loan of $100,000 from Accompany Capital to expand the inventory at his supermarket. An immigrant from Nepal, Khadka successfully managed several stores before deciding to take the leap and open his first storefront in New York City. More than 300 businesses in Queens received a total of $23 million in Opportunity Fund capital.
  • Chi Gibson at Chi Aesthetics on Staten Island, who used her loan of $100,000 from Pursuit to increase staffing and improve day-to-day operations at her health spa. A West African immigrant, Dr. Gibson faced difficulties finding capital from traditional lenders until she found the Opportunity Fund. A total of 33 Staten Island businesses received $2.6 million in Opportunity Fund capital.

Eight community development financial institutions – Accompany Capital, Ascendus, BOC Capital Corp., Harlem Entrepreneurial Fund (HEF), Grow America, Pursuit, Renaissance Small Business Services, and Trufund – administered loans in partnership with SBS. With the Opportunity Fund now closed, small businesses can continue to receive free one-on-one financing support from SBS to connect with affordable resources, including through the NYC Funds Finder, an online marketplace bringing together small businesses and local Community Development Financial Institutions on one platform.

"The Opportunity Fund has helped me buy t-shirts, hoodies, and promotional items to start contracts for agencies such as the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene," said Jonathan Melo, owner, Valley of Beracah Imprint in the Bronx. "Now, I am able to expand my business to bid on higher contracts due to the working capital I received from the Opportunity Fund."

"I really wanted to open a restaurant that honored both cultures — my Korean culture and my New York upbringing," said Jae Lee, owner and chef, Nowon in Brooklyn. "The Opportunity Fund helped me expand into a new market and gave me the capital to hire the right management team and staffing. With the success of my first and second restaurant, I think there is more of an opportunity for us to represent Asian-American flavors across New York City."

"The Opportunity Fund loan helped my business, which I used for inventory plus equipment," said Shahadev Khadka, owner, Green Tara Market in Queens. "That helped me a lot to get through the pandemic. I had a very difficult time, and when I got the Opportunity Fund loan, that helped me a lot."

"We started Buunni Coffee in 2012 in Washington Heights, and, since then, we've grown to four cafes," said Elias Gurmu and Sarina Prasabi, owners, Buunni Coffee in Manhattan. "One of our business plans when we started was to open our own roasting facility. The Opportunity Fund really helped us to have the confidence to go ahead and secure the space. Because of the flexible terms and the low interest, it's an affordable program and the perfect opportunity for us, giving us that little extra boost for going for the roastery."

"Since I was 21 years old, I knew this is what I wanted to do," said Dr. Chi Gibson, owner, Chi Aesthetics on Staten Island. "The day I received the e-mail that I was approved, I was screaming like I was crazy because I was at my end. I wasn't sure what was going to happen to my business. I got that loan, and it was the happiest day of our lives, and I said, 'Yes, we're going to be okay.'"

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