By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Two pieces of legislation that U.S. Rep. Nydia Velazquez said are designed to help entrepreneurs and women in business were recently approved by the House Committee on Small Business.
If they become law, the bills would help New York entrepreneurs grow their businesses and create good paying, local jobs, according to Velazquez, who is the sponsor of both bills.
“With more than 190,000 small enterprises, small businesses are the backbone of New York’s economy and our most prolific job creators,” said Velazquez (Brooklyn-Manhattan), who is the top Democrat on the committee. “The legislation I authored will generate new opportunity for our city’s entrepreneurs, empowering them to grow and add employees to their payrolls.”
One of the bills sponsored by Velazquez, the “Small Businesses Development Center Act,” takes steps to strengthen entrepreneurial development services that are offered by the Small Business Administration (SBA). The legislation would streamline the SBA’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) program and ensure that more resources are available for Americans looking to start a new business, the congresswoman said.
There are 18 regional and local SBDC offices serving New York City.
“The Small Business Administration’s network of Small Business Development Centers provides valuable guidance and technical assistance to entrepreneurs and those considering launching a new venture,” Velazquez said. “With many New Yorkers turning to entrepreneurship as a new source of income, we need these initiatives performing at the highest level possible.”
The second bill Velazquez sponsored, the “Women's Procurement Program Equalization Act,” would allow agencies to target certain federal contracts to women-owned firms. Velazquez is also the author of the Women's Procurement Program, a new initiative aimed at helping federal agencies boost women's participation the federal marketplace.
“Comprising 30 percent of all small businesses, women-owned enterprises are a growing force in the American economy,” Velázquez noted. “Unfortunately, too often they are locked out of the federal marketplace as the ‘old boys’ network’ games the procurement system to win lucrative federal contracts. By helping women compete in this area, we can bring greater equality to the system and generate new opportunities for female entrepreneurs.”
The two bills were adopted by the committee by “voice vote,” a move that suggests strong bipartisan support for the measures, according to Velazquez.