NYC Seeks to Further Boost Minority-Owned Businesses

Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives J. Phillip Thompson, in Flushing, Queens. (Photo by Javier Castaño via Queens Latino)

“Sometimes I think I should quit my job and open a small business in New York because there are so many opportunities it’s like being in a candy store,” said J. Phillip Thompson, the city’s deputy mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives. “Our function is to incentivize the growth of small businesses and help them survive, by using technology and being innovative.”

Thompson gave a speech at the Sheraton Hotel in Flushing, Queens, last Wednesday to advance Mayor Bill de Blasio’s initiative of creating and strengthening minority businesses. Sixty percent of businesses in New York are owned by minorities, and 20 percent by women. The other 20 percent takes most of the city’s contracts.

New York City reached a record 6,000 businesses owned by minority members and/or women (M/WBE), and is aiming to have 9,000 such businesses certified for the next year. The city seeks to award $20 billion in contracts to M/WBEs by 2025, which is 30 percent of the total value of city contracts.

How can a business get into this candy store? “First, you need to register as an M/WBE business. It needs to have been running for more than one year and at least 51 percent of the business must be minority-owned. Second, you receive and apply for city contracts. All of this process is for free,” said Deputy Mayor Thompson.

Gregg Bishop, commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services, said that one of his roles is to “facilitate this accreditation process for minority businesses in order to award them more money and help them have entrepreneurial success.”

“We work with immigrant communities such as here in Flushing and we have made enormous progress in our fight against income inequality,” added Jonnel Doris, senior advisor and director of the Mayor’s Office of Minority and Women Owned Businesses.

Meetings like the one in Flushing seek to promote the registration of more businesses and facilitate access to 20 city agencies, including the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, as well as the Parks, Construction, Businesses Services, Emergency Management, CUNY, Police, Fire Department, Housing, Health and Transportation agencies.

The city of New York has also provided 46 loans of up to $500,000 at a 3 percent interest rate, and this year started giving loans of as much as $1 million. (…)

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