New York City Department of Small Business Services Prepares for End of Federal Funding
“Another factor was that even in the midst of a pandemic, SBS [the Department of Small Business Services] the staff went into overdrive. Everyone pivoted very quickly, almost overnight, to online services for the public,” Kim added.
The agency is ready to continue serving business owners in the city even as federal money runs its course, he said.
Mayor Eric Adams’ economic plan earlier this year announced plans to pool private funds to create a $75 million small business opportunity fund. The fund will lend capital to start-up and established businesses and will target minority and immigrant entrepreneurs who have not received federal support during the pandemic. The program is expected to launch before the end of the year, the SBS said.
Kim stressed that the administration is committed to improving support for business improvement districts, particularly in outlying neighborhoods and especially those that have been traditionally underfunded in previous years, such as Bridge Street. Development Corp. in Crown Heights and the Brooklyn Chinese American. Association at Bensonhurst. To that end, the current budget set aside $5.3 million in multi-year grants to fund BIDs across the city in the fiscal year that began in July.
“We’ve been able to help some of the smaller, underfunded BIDs so that the support services can be used and leveraged by small businesses to help them thrive,” Kim said.
The new SBS data is for fiscal year 2022, which started in July 2021 and ended in June this year. SBS served 26,688 unique customers or businesses, up more than 7,700 from the previous year. In fact, at no time in the previous four fiscal years has the agency served more than 21,000 businesses or unique clients in a single year.
The number of unique businesses that received financial support from the agency increased from 1,424 in fiscal year 2021 to 10,627 businesses in fiscal year 2022, according to the report. Between fiscal year 2018 and fiscal year 2021, SBS served less than 8,800 businesses combined.
An unprecedented amount of federal support has flowed to the state – and therefore to the SBS – during the pandemic. The agency allocated $261 million to grant programs funded by the federal government, states, cities and the private sector in fiscal year 2022 alone, up from the $83 million distributed the year former.
SBS has helped small businesses in New York connect to:
• $15 billion in national grants for operating closed sites, of which the state has allocated $1.98 billion through more than 2,500 individual grants by December 2021
• $623 million in various federal, state, local and private funding initiatives between March 2020 and December 2021
• $100 million Small Business Resilience Grant, providing individual grants of up to $10,000 for each business
• $2.1 million in federal community block grants and American Rescue Plan Act funds to fund the Avenue NYC program and 40 Open Streets plans
The Ministry of Small Business Services is counting on a reduction in the regulatory burden to make life easier for small businesses once federal funding runs out.
Led by an executive order from Adams in January, the SBS has already reformed 118 existing fines and penalties since the start of the year – 30 violations have been eliminated, 49 violations have had their fine amount reduced and 39 violations were changed to warnings or healing periods, Kim said.
The city’s small business owners are expected to save more than $8 million a year from the violations’ reforms, he said.
“It’s not just about giving money and providing access to capital,” Kim said, “The other aspect is . . . looking for ways to educate rather than punish.
This article has been updated to better reflect the national nature of the closed site operation grant.