Op-Ed: Supporting Small Businesses During the Holiday Season

BY STATE SEN. JOSEPH P. ADDABBO, JR.

With the holiday season upon us, for many of our small businesses and ‘mom and pop’ stores, it’s the time of year to hopefully look forward with anticipation and optimism about finishing the year on an economic high note. In other words, it’s a critical time for some of our local merchants and their employees, who are often local residents, to sink or swim. To help our small businesses, we should be aware that Saturday, Nov. 30, will be nationally known as Small Business Saturday, a day to support our local small businesses.

17 Addabbo Op-Ed headshotFirst observed on Nov. 27, 2010, Small Business Saturday was promoted by American Express as a way for individuals to patronize neighborhood retailers at the kick-off of the holiday shopping season. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, there are 23 million small businesses in the nation and these enterprises account for 54 percent of all U.S. sales. Amazingly, small businesses provide 55 percent of all jobs and 66 percent of all net new jobs since the 1970s. Furthermore, the small business sector is growing rapidly. While corporate America has been downsizing, the rate of small business start-ups has grown, while the rate for small business failures has declined. And the number of small businesses in the U.S. has increased 49 percent since 1982. Since 1990, as big businesses eliminated four million jobs, small businesses added eight million new jobs.

In Albany, many legislators, including myself, have introduced legislation and supported budget initiatives that included nearly $800 million in tax relief for New York businesses over three years and tax credits for the hiring of veterans and younger residents between the ages of 18-25.

In New York State, the Empire State Economic Development Corp. is the primary agency charged with helping small businesses. Among its many programs that help proprietors secure loans or other resources are:

The Entrepreneurial Assistance Program provides instruction, training, technical assistance and support services to entrepreneurs who have recently opened a business or are interested in starting one. New or aspiring start-ups by minorities, women and dislocated workers have obtained in-depth help in developing basic skills, refining business concepts, devising early marketing plans or preparing action plans, in addition to obtaining business financing. Queens business owners are served by the EAP office located at One Pike St., New York, NY 10002; 212-964-6022, ext. 138, or log on to http://www.renaissance-ny.org.

The Small Business Revolving Loan Fund is a $50 million fund designed to create economic activity by providing greater access to capital for main street shops. It is targeted to those small businesses that have had difficulty accessing regular credit markets. Two types of loans are available:  Micro-Loans with the principal amount less than, or equal to, $25,000 and Regular Loans with the principal amount greater than $25,000. Twenty community development financial institutions and other community-based lending organizations currently participate. Visit http://www.nyfirst.ny.gov for more details.

Additional websites for small business resources include:

New York State’s Small Business Resource Center, administered by the Empire State Economic Development Corporation, at http://www.nyfirst.ny.gov.

State University of New York Small Business Development Center at http://www.nyssbdc.org.

New York City Department of Small Business Services at http://www.nycsbs.gov.

New York City Public Library’s NYC Small Business Resource Center at http://www.nypl.org/smallbiz.

Start-Up New York at http://startup-ny.com.

U.S. Small Business Administration at http://www.sba.gov.

I wish all Queens residents a very happy holiday season and I hope you join me in supporting our local stores on November 30, Small Business Saturday, and each day of the year.