Newcomers important to economic vitality, Menchaca says
By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Nearly half of the small businesses in New York City are owned by immigrants. And the de Blasio administration is stepping up its efforts to help them prosper.
The New York City Department of Small Business Services (SBS) has introduced a new guide that offers step-by-step advice for immigrant entrepreneurs who are planning, launching or growing a small business.
Called “Building Your Business in New York City: A Guide for Immigrant Entrepreneurs,” the guide was developed by SBS in partnership with Citi Community Development.
It will be available in six languages; Spanish, Chinese, Haitian Creole, Russian, Korean and Bengali.
The guide offers advice on topics such as signing a commercial lease, navigating government and understanding the rights of immigrant New Yorkers.
“As an immigrant whose grandmother supported the family through entrepreneurship, I know first-hand that owning a business has the power to change lives,” said SBS Commissioner Gregg Bishop. “By making information and resources available to immigrant New Yorkers in six languages, we’re helping all of our people, no matter their origin, pursue their dreams.”
Brooklyn lawmakers who work with immigrants and the small business community were quick to praise the SBS effort.
"Immigrant small business owners are at the heart of New York City’s economic vitality. Immigrant entrepreneurs create jobs, support families and serve our City’s diverse neighborhoods,” said Councilmember Carlos Menchaca (D-Sunset Park-Red Hook), chairman of the Committee on Immigration.
"Opening a small business is still a major route for many immigrants in search of the American dream,” said Councilmember Robert E. Cornegy Jr. (D-Bed-Stuy). “Of the 148,000 NYC small businesses, 48 percent of the owners are foreign-born. The Immigrant Business Initiative Guide shows that our government supports and continues to place a high value on our immigrant entrepreneurs."
Cornegy is the chairman of the Committee on Small Business.
“Immigrant New Yorkers are an integral part of our economy, particularly our business community from Fortune 500 leaders to small business owners and everything in between,” said Nisha Agarwal, commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. "This new Immigrant Business Initiative Guide, available in six of the city’s most common languages, will help educate immigrant entrepreneurs about their rights as New Yorkers, financial planning and the technical ins-and-outs of owning and operating a business in our great city.”
The guide offers advice on:
Rights as an immigrant New Yorker
Personal and business financial planning
Commercial space and lease considerations
Staying compliant with business regulations
Technology tools and strategies
Identifying market needs, including opportunities to sell to government
The new guide is part of the city’s Immigrant Business Initiative, an effort launched by Mayor Bill de Blasio in 2014. The program connects immigrant New Yorkers to business education services and offers one-on-one assistance.
As part of the Immigrant Business Initiative, SBS works with partners that include the Business Outreach Center Network, Brooklyn Public Library, Renaissance Economic Development Corporation, Shorefront YM-YWHA and Sapna NYC, to provide one-on-one counseling and community outreach.
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The new guide is available at www.nyc.gov/immigrantbusinesses