Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Contact: Nick Benson, SBS Press Secretary -, 212-618-6778


Guide is Part of City’s Immigrant Business Initiative, Which Provides Accessible, Tailored Services to Foreign-Born New Yorkers

New York – NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS) Commissioner Gregg Bishop today, during Immigrant Heritage Week, announced a new guide offering step-by-step advice for immigrant entrepreneurs planning, launching, or growing a small business. Building Your Business in New York City: A Guide for Immigrant Entrepreneurs, developed by SBS in partnership with Citi Community Development, will be accessible in six languages. The guide offers advice on topics such as: signing a commercial lease, navigating government, and understanding the rights of immigrant New Yorkers. The guide is part of the City’s Immigrant Business Initiative, launched by Mayor Bill de Blasio in 2014 to support immigrant entrepreneurs. Immigrant entrepreneurs own nearly half of all small businesses in New York City.

“As an immigrant whose grandmother supported the family through entrepreneurship, I know first-hand that owning a business has the power to change lives,” said Gregg Bishop, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services. “By making information and resources available to immigrant New Yorkers in six languages, we’re helping all of our people, no matter their origin, pursue their dreams.”

“Immigrant New Yorkers are an integral part of our economy, particularly our business community – from Fortune 500 leaders to small business owners, and everything in between,” said Nisha Agarwal, Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. "This new Immigrant Business Initiative Guide, available in six of the city’s most common languages, will help educate immigrant entrepreneurs about their rights as New Yorkers, financial planning and the technical ins-and-outs of owning and operating a business in our great city. Supporting the integral role that immigrant entrepreneurs play will help all of us build a more inclusive economy for all New Yorkers.”

This tailored, easy to use guide offers advice to tackle the common challenges faced by immigrant entrepreneurs and business. The guide will be available in Spanish, Chinese, Haitian Creole, Russian, Korean, and Bengali. It provides practical information and actionable advice for immigrant entrepreneurs on relevant topics such as:

  • Rights as an immigrant New Yorker;
  • Personal and business financial planning;
  • Commercial space and lease considerations;
  • Staying compliant with business regulations;
  • Technology tools and strategies; and
  • Identifying market needs, including opportunities to sell to government.

The new guide is available by visiting

"Opening a small business is still a major route for many immigrants in search of the American dream,” said Council Member Robert E. Cornegy, Jr., Chairman for the Committee on Small Business. “Of the 148,000 NYC small businesses, 48% of the owners are foreign-born. The Immigrant Business Initiative Guide shows that our government supports and continues to place a high value on our immigrant entrepreneurs. I look forward to the Guide assisting many more to grow and thrive."

“Without immigrant entrepreneurship, Jackson Heights and Elmhurst would not be the thriving neighborhood that it is today,” said Council Member Daniel Dromm. “I thank the Department of Small Business Services for producing this guide to encourage more immigrants to pursue their dreams of owning a business and contributing to the economy of New York City.”

"Immigrant small business owners are at the heart of New York City’s economic vitality," said Council Member Carlos Menchaca, Chairman for the Committee on Immigration. "Immigrant entrepreneurs create jobs, support families and serve our City’s diverse neighborhoods. The new guide for entrepreneurs from the City Department of Small Business Services is a great way to mark the start of Immigrant Heritage Week. I thank Commissioner Bishop for recognizing the value of immigrant entrepreneurs and for creating resources to meet their needs."

“Immigrants make up nearly half of New York City’s small business owners, and more than a quarter of all ‘Main Street’ business owners nationwide,” said Eileen Auld, NY/Tri-State Market Director of Citi Community Development. “By providing immigrant small business owners with translated versions of this comprehensive guide, the City of New York’s Immigrant Business Initiative is expanding access to a vital set of resources for immigrants to build and grow their enterprises.”

About the Immigrant Business Initiative

The City of New York helps immigrant New Yorkers build more stable, secure, and successful lives in our city. Through the Immigrant Business Initiative, SBS provides services and resources targeted to immigrant entrepreneurs. The initiative works with on-the-ground partners, including partners including Business Outreach Center Network, Brooklyn Public Library, Renaissance Economic Development Corporation, Shorefront YM-YWHA, and Sapna NYC, to provide one-on-one counseling and community outreach in six major languages. It connects immigrant New Yorkers to business education services and one-on-one assistance. Free courses on topics such as business operations, financial management, financing, marketing, selling to government, and legal assistance are now offered in Spanish, Chinese, Haitian Creole, Russian, Korean, and Bengali. The Immigrant Business Initiative is made possible by support from Citi Community Development.

About NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS)

SBS helps unlock economic potential and create economic security for all New Yorkers by connecting New Yorkers to good jobs, creating stronger businesses, and building vibrant neighborhoods across the five boroughs. For more information on all SBS services, go to, call 311, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

About CITI

Citi, the leading global bank, has approximately 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 160 countries and jurisdictions. Citi provides consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a broad range of financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, securities brokerage, transaction services, and wealth management.
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