“We are thrilled to be able to offer these free services for businesses in the city,” she said. “It allows us to help the 200,000 small businesses that are really the economic drivers of neighborhoods, but as we all know, small businesses are so much more—they are a great equalizer. They serve as a path to the middle class for so many New Yorkers.”
Services of the SBS include free client management, client reviews, appointments with inspectors, and coordinating inspections with city agencies.
So far, the SBS has focused its attention on helping prospective restaurant owners turn their ambitions into reality, with Emeline’s in Bed Stuy being the 2,000th restaurant to launch with the help of SBS services.
Torres-Springer confirmed at the Emeline’s opening that since Mayor Bill de Blasio took office, there has been a sanctioned push to expand small business support in the city.
“This expansion also allows us to fulfill what was a very clear mandate of the mayor’s since the beginning of the administration, which is to ensure that every job seeker, every business, every entrepreneur in the city, no matter what they look like, where they are from, what language they speak, has the resources that they need to succeed and thrive in this city,” she said.
Central to the process of expanding services is a push to grow the number of cross-agency collaborations that expand the scope and visibility of existing assistance programs and funds.
“We continue to grow our close partnership with the Department of Consumer Affairs,” Torres-Springer said. “Just this week we incorporated the DCA’s assistance into the suite of services that we offer businesses.”
DCA Commissioner Julie Menin was optimistic about her agency’s ability to service small businesses with the blessing of the new mayoral administration and integrated support from SBS.
“We are here at both the SBS and the DCA to help those who want to open a small business and to operate,” Menin said. “As a former small business owner in the food industry myself, I really understand first-hand how challenging it can be to open a business.”