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City Hall in Your Borough: Mayor de Blasio Announces Small Businesses Seeing Fewer Fines, Opening Faster

May 23, 2017

BRONX, NY–Meeting business owners on The Bronx’s Arthur Avenue, Mayor de Blasio released a “Small Business Progress Report” outlining a 40% reduction in fines, a three-month reduction in the time it takes to open a restaurant, and a surge in certified Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (M/WBEs).

Read the report:

“We’ve slashed unnecessary fines and helped stores open their doors faster because small businesses are the cornerstone of our economy. When someone from the City walks through a business’s door these days, we’re there to educate and to help. We want to see businesses thrive and grow in every borough,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.

In the Bronx alone, the City has served over 3,800 businesses through its borough Business Solutions Center. In 2016, mobile business support program Chamber On-the-Go reached the storefronts of an additional 295 Bronx businesses. Since the start of the administration, the number of certified Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (M/WBEs) in the Bronx increased by 27% through supports from the City.  

“From boutiques to bodegas, small businesses are at the heart of the New York City economy,” said Gregg Bishop, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services. “By helping these businesses to start, operate and grow, we’re building a vibrant city where economic mobility includes all New Yorkers.”

Small businesses employ more than half of New York City’s private sector workforce, and the Mayor’s plan has achieved the following results:

Reduced Fines While Protecting Consumers

  • Slashed fines by 40%
  • Helped small business owners to avoid more than $6 million in potential fees

Cut Red Tape, Helped Businesses Open Faster

  • Helped restaurants to open 3 months faster through expanded City programs (3 months compared to 6 without City support)
  • Provided 12,000 services to small businesses at innovative multi-agency service center, opened last year
  • Under Mayor de Blasio, nearly 95% of restaurants earned an ‘A’ letter grade as sanitary violations plummeted by more than 40%

Ensuring Access for All Business Owners 

  • Nearly doubled the percentage of the value of City contracts awarded to M/WBEs between fiscal year 2015 and fiscal year 2016, from 8% to 14.3%
  • Served more than 12,000 foreign-born entrepreneurs
  • The WE NYC initiative has helped over 2,000 women start and grow their businesses

Provided Free Legal Services to Protect Small Businesses

  • 500 business owners have received free legal advice since 2015, helping them negotiate more favorable lease terms 

"Thriving communities like the vibrant Arthur Avenue in the Bronx depend on small businesses, which create jobs, serve their neighbors, and are essential to the city's economy," said DCA Commissioner Lorelei Salas. "Thanks to our mayor, we are supporting our city's businesses with the fine reduction reforms that we've implemented, as well more education and language access. This more equitable approach to enforcement has translated into millions going directly back into the pockets of small business owners allowing them to reinvest their hard-earned money.”

“Small businesses are the bedrock of New York’s economy and, when they succeed, it creates opportunity for all our City’s residents. We need to work at all levels of government to promote entrepreneurship and I applaud these commonsense steps,” said U.S. Representative Nydia M. Velázquez, Ranking Democrat, House Committee on Small Business.

"Small business corridors, such as Arthur Avenue, make up the backbone of our city's economy. For too long, small business owners and entrepreneurs have felt besieged by heavy fines and the red tape that comes with opening or expanding their business. Mayor de Blasio's commitment to a more streamlined process will help our small businesses expand and thrive, and I thank his administration and the Department of Small Business Services for developing more user-friendly policies to help our small business community," said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

"The encouraging results of this report are positive indicators of the efforts our City has undertaken to help small businesses, including M/BWEs, thrive by reducing needless fines and assisting them to open their doors faster,” said State Senator Gustavo Rivera. “As Mayor de Blasio visits business owners in historic Arthur Avenue in my district, I want to thank him for continuing to invest in our City's small businesses and recognizing them as one of our City's most important economic engines. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy.”
“From the Fordham Road corridor to Arthur Ave., small businesses and retail shops are the economic engine of the Central Bronx and Council District 15. Reducing red tape is important to maintain a healthy economy and get more businesses up and running, that is why the report’s findings and the Mayor’s initiatives are encouraging. These efforts will further encourage small business development, protect consumers and uplift neighborhoods throughout the District and the Bronx,” said Council Member Ritchie Torres.
"The businesses, landlords and residents of Belmont are delighted the Mayor has decided to visit our neighborhood. We hope he enjoys Little Italy and its rich culture and history, and of course it's culinary delights. We hope to make him a regular like so many in the metropolitan region who work and shop here and enjoy the ambience and quality," said Peter Madonia, Chairman, Belmont Business Improvement District (BID).

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