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Small Business Agency Strengthening Brooklyn Communities

BAY RIDGE — A federally funded small-business advocacy agency has opened in Bay Ridge. Operating in the Sovereign Bank building at 9512 Third Ave., the Bay Ridge Small Business Development Center (SBDC), a satellite of the SBDC at the College of Staten Island (CSI), will focus on job counseling, training and entrepreneurship.

“In the relatively short amount of time since the Bay Ridge SBDC office opened, we’ve become a hub where aspiring entrepreneurs and established business owners can get the help they need — free of charge — to successfully start or grow their enterprise,” said Dean Balsamini, director of the SBDC at CSI.

The Staten Island SBDC expanded into Brooklyn in May last year, with funding from the federal Small Business Jobs Act of 2010.

The Small Business Jobs Act provides up to $50 million in grants to SBDCs across the country to expand services.

As a result, the SBDC at CSI received a two-year grant of approximately $200,000, with an option for a third year, from the U.S. Small Business Administration, according to Balsamini.

“Congressman Michael Grimm of Staten Island and Brooklyn and state Sen. Martin Golden were instrumental in helping the Staten Island SBDC bring this expansion to fruition,” Balsamini said.

The 10-month-old office serves the borough’s portion of the 13th Congressional District, an area of 600,000 residents which, in addition to Bay Ridge, includes the neighborhoods of Bensonhurst and Dyker Heights.

Since its launch, it has advised individual clients on scores of business projects; fostered relationships with surrounding merchant organizations and commercial banks; and partnered with the state Department of Labor, Sovereign Bank, the Brooklyn Economic Development Corp., ODA Community Development and the St. Anselm Workforce Ministry for seminar presentations.

“We also are working with veterans in the area through relationships with Fort Hamilton and veterans agencies associated with the Small Business Administration,” said George Telmany, senior business adviser at the new SBDC.

“Our office has a referral system for beginning entrepreneurs who need to borrow amounts under $25,000,”  said Telmany.

Telmany estimates his office guided clients to more than $2.2 million in investment funds in 2011, helping to create 44 new jobs and save 47 others.

Prior to opening the new satellite location, the entire borough had been serviced primarily by the New York City College of Technology (City Tech) SBDC office at 25 Chapel St. in Downtown Brooklyn.

For additional information about SBDC services, please call (718) 619-5603.

February 17, 2012 - 1:08pm


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