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Queens Chamber hosts Business Expo

More than 140 local businesses were represented at the Queens Chamber of Commerce annual Queens Business Expo last Wednesday at Citi Field. Some of the businesses in attendance included the New York Daily News, BQE Media, Maspeth Federal Savings Bank, Apple Bank, Queens Community House, W&M Fire Protection, Solace House, Skyline Cruises, Solucore Elevator Solutions, Flushing Bank, Aetna, She Media NY, World Journal, and many more.

The event began with a keynote address by First Deputy Mayor Lorraine Grillo, followed by a panel discussion on the tech industry in Queens featuring Small Business Services Commissioner Kevin Kim, Tech NYC Executive Director Jason Clark, President and CEO of the New York City Economic Development Committee Andrew Kimball, and PropTech Pioneer CSO Bill Staniford.

During the discussion, Queens Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas Grech asked “where do you see the development of the tech industry going over the next three to five years?”

Kimball said he has a “glass half full” view that the economy is roaring back after the COVID-19 pandemic. He added that he expects to see progress in some industries including PropTech, BioTech, and Green Tech/Clean Tech.

According to the NYCEDC President/CEO, the green tech industry could help provide over 13,000 new jobs over the next ten years thanks to efforts to get off fossil fuels and purchase agreements for offshore wind power supplies.

During the Expo, attendees were given the opportunity to meet St. John’s University alum and NY Mets star John Franco, who was on the show floor all afternoon, as well as attend educational seminars, take home raffle prizes, and even take a picture with Mr. Met.

There was also a section of the Expo specifically dedicated to the local food industry, where different business owners provided attendees with a taste of their unique cuisine.

See photos below:

Queens Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas Grech

Keynote speakers at the 2022 Expo included (L-R) NYC Small Business Services Commissioner Kevin Kim, Tech NYC Executive Director Jason Clark, President and CEO of the New York City Economic Development Committee Andrew Kimball, and PropTech Pioneer CSO Bill Staniford.

Hotlier and President of Century Development Group George Xu, center, with members of his family and staff.

Former NY Mets relief pitcher John Franco

Representatives with Apple Bank

Local chefs showcase their delicious cuisine.

W&M Fire Protection at the Expo

Maspeth Federal Savings at the Queens Business Expo 2022

Expanding economic opportunities in Queens

From forming newfound partnerships, investing in e-commerce and even finishing your college education, Queens business owners are adapting to new ways to seize economic opportunities.

Speaking to business owners at the Hyatt Regency JFK at Resorts World NYC, Council Speaker Adrienne Adams was the keynote speaker at the business resource event hosted by the Queens Chamber of Commerce.

Council Speaker Adrienne Adams speaks at the Hyatt Regency JFK at Resorts World NYC at a business resource event hosted by the Queens Chamber of Commerce.

In the city’s lone casino, it was fitting for Speaker Adams to call on former college students to essentially bet on themselves via the CUNY Reconnect Initiative, which aims to return nearly 700,000 students who have earned some college credits but no degree.

“I want you back,” Speaker Adams said. “My baby for now is CUNY Reconnect and I want you back.”

The New York City Council has called upon Mayor Eric Adams to invest $23 million to fund the initiative that was modeled after a statewide program in Tennessee that acts as a “last-dollar grant”, paying the remaining balance towards an associate or technical degree.

The Mayor’s Executive Plan did not include any funding for the initiative, but that could change before the end of the fiscal year later this month.

Nonetheless, Speaker Adams said the program would benefit thousands of minority women who had to leave school early, no matter what life circumstances got in the way of finishing their degree.

“We can help them increase their earning potential, boost their outcomes and strengthen our workforce,” Speaker Adams said. “This will also power our city’s economic recovery and help employers. We believe this initiative is a powerful solution for our city.”

She called for barriers to be broken, particularly for minority and women owned business entrepreneurs, including access to e-commerce and investments to online storefronts.

“These are all critical steps to support and expand economic opportunities across the city. And we will continue to advocate for these investments on a local level,” Speaker Adams said.

She also recognized Aleeia Abraham, founder of the BlaQue Resource Network (BRN), for her role in organizing a network of over 20,000 Black business owners, consumers and community members throughout the borough. Speaker Adams called the community-oriented collective an “essential part” of the community landscape in southeast Queens.

Abraham highlighted her network’s partnership with Queens Together, a network of borough restaurants and community groups, to tackle food insecurity and access during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We distributed anywhere from 1,000 to 1,500 boxes of fresh produce every single week in our community,” Abraham said. “Our group grew from about 3000 members to 10,000 members, all because of partnerships.”

Speaker Adams also called for expanding city and state programs that provide technical support for small businesses, particularly legacy and longtime businesses that are considered “community staples”, as well as immigrant-run small businesses.

The City Council is calling for $1.5 million to help businesses launch online storefronts to meet the growing demands for the future economy, Adams said.

“Far too many barriers block businesses and entrepreneurs, particularly in communities of color, from the opportunities needed to thrive,” she said. “But one concrete step the city can take to immediately help underserved businesses is to facilitate access to e-commerce and make them more competitive and resilient in this digital age.”

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