Program Launched To Help Small Businesses

By Tracey Porpora Staten Island Advance, N.Y.

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) The NYC Small Business Resource Network Network will spread 22 dedicated small business specialists across the 5 boroughs to work directly with local entrepreneurs in the hardest-hit communities, helping them gain access to a range of programs and services.

Staten Island

Thousands of New York City's small businesses are struggling due to being shuttered during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

For this reason, the city Small Business Resource Network was established a one-stop-shop for helping businesses get back on their feet.

The public-private partnership -- funded by a $2.8 million grant from the New York City-based Peterson Foundation -- was established to help the city's 236,000 small businesses obtain additional government resources as they try to stay afloat amid the pandemic.

"The recovery of our local small businesses is a vital piece of New York City's economic and societal recovery. This NYC Small Business Resource Network is the type of collaboration this city needs to allow our small business in each borough to survive," said Borough President James Oddo.

The Peter G. Peterson Foundation, the Partnership for New York City and the Partnership Fund, New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), in collaboration with the city Department of Small Business Services, Chambers of Commerce of the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island, joined forces to launch the initiative.

"Our chamber has been working hard to help all businesses, even the very smallest, during these trying times," said Linda Baran, president and CEO of the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce. "We will have two people on the ground and we will have a lot of extra help for businesses."

The Resource Network will utilize a team of 22 dedicated small business specialists who will be embedded at the five chambers of commerce. These professionals will work directly with local entrepreneurs in the hardest-hit communities, helping them gain access to a range of programs and services.

In addition, these professionals will focus on minority-, women- and immigrant-owned businesses that have limited access to the help they need to survive the pandemic.

Through the Network, Staten Island small businesses will also have access to a restaurant specialist and two technology specialists who will work to support the chambers of commerce in all five boroughs, said Baran.

"Chamber members know to come to us to het help, but there are a lot of business owners who don't know where to go. Having the ability to have two more people on the ground to do outreach and literally walk from store to store is going to go a long way," she said.

ADVISORY SERVICES TO BE RAMPED UP The new initiative will allow small business owners to take advantage of an array of advisory services that will be ramped up over the next few weeks. Advisors will help small businesses navigate a range of challenges, including technology, real estate, legal and accounting services, procurement opportunities, marketing, and sources of loans and grants. There will also be assistance for navigating the complex new regulatory environment established to contain the pandemic.

"The small business community has been shaken by the COVID-19 pandemic and this is our latest commitment to ensure that small businesses get the resources they need by connecting them to services to help them to reopen and recover," said Jonnel Doris, commissioner of the city Department of Small Business Services. "We are working together with the chambers of commerce in all five boroughs to identify the most pressing needs of our small business owners and help them come back."

Said Sarah Jessica Parker, founder and owner, SJP Collection: "As a small business owner and a committed New Yorker, I believe our city's future depends on how we mobilize to support the entrepreneurs who bring unique products and services to our neighborhood shopping districts. They make New York City infinitely exciting and special. We cannot let them down."

Business owners can access resources by contacting a recovery specialist in their borough at www.nycsmallbusinessresourcenetwork.org. Assistance will be available in multiple languages. ___ Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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