BY BENJAMIN FANG
The New York City Department of Small Business Services (SBS) had a very busy 2019. Throughout the year, SBS connected 977 businesses with more than $76 million in financing. It helped more than 21,000 customers connect with services, access capital and assist in other aspects that companies need to thrive.
“We focus on making sure we create opportunities for our small businesses,” SBS Commissioner Gregg Bishop told This Is Queensborough, “not only to start, but to grow.”
The agency launched eight new programs, including NYC Love Your Local, which helps longstanding businesses, WE Fund Credit, which offers lines of credit to women entrepreneurs, and BE NYC, an initiative to help black entrepreneurs.
SBS also continued its partnership with local chambers of commerce and business improvement districts (BIDs), which hosted more than 5,000 events and collected four million bags of trash last year. Overall, the department has hosted 24 resource fairs, bringing agency officials directly to local neighborhoods so business owners can get the help they need quickly and easily, Bishop said. Collectively, those fairs served more than 1,300 business owners who may not have had a chance to talk to city officials otherwise.
“We wanted to be more proactive and accessible as an agency,” Bishop said.
SBS will host resource fairs in every borough in 2020, starting with Staten Island in February and Brooklyn in March. The commissioner said small business owners who will attend can expect to see regulatory and enforcement agencies and their staff there. They will get to talk to someone, get contact information, and learn how to navigate government rules and regulations.
Entrepreneurs looking to start their own company can understand the resources and services that SBS provides, including courses on how to launch a business, how to create a public strategy and how to market the business.
“They can expect to be treated as customers,” he said. “We want to make sure the city values their contribution to our economy by making the agencies accessible.”