Small Business and Entrepreneurship
According to NYC.GOV “New York City is a city of small businesses. Of the approximately 220,000 businesses located in the City, 98 percent are small (fewer than 100 employees) and 89 percent are very small (fewer than 20 employees).” These businesses already employ nearly half of the City's workforce and they were growing before the pandemic.
We need to do more to support the businesses that carry New York City on their backs. This means better services to help grow their business, easier access to capital at lower rates, and quick access to emergency funds when natural disasters occur. We also need to encourage more start-ups by providing more services and access to financing because entrepreneurship is the backbone to our city. Some things I would like to see happen:
1. A program set up with the Department of Labor for gig workers to pay into to system and become eligible for unemployment benefits.
2. An emergency fund set up for gig workers to assist during natural disasters.
3. Quicker access to emergency funds when natural disasters occur (like COVID-19 and hurricane Sandy).
4. Emergency bailout fund for small businesses (not multi-million dollar companies that are small on paper only) important to the functioning of the city and keep it moving like retail shops, mom and pop corner stores, beauty salon owners, gyms, health industry, and small tech firms.
5. A Brooklyn owned accelerator/incubator; a program for seed round start-ups and another for established companies looking to scale up. The borough would receive 2-5% equity and it would be a way for Brooklyn to raise funds while investing in the residents and encouraging more companies to come to Brooklyn. There would be a mix of companies from IOT, fintech, health tech, as well as makers and the food industry.
6. Create a program where NYC residents can obtain vacant city-owned property to form new factory type businesses where the consortium will be both owner and employee, negating the need for an outside union because they all will be their own union and have decision-making authority and control how much their CEO makes. This way, we can go back to being a city that make things instead of relying heavily on international purchases for important items.
Instead of providing incentives to large companies to create jobs (which usually produce one or two jobs or the position is temporary to receive the incentive and then it disappears), we need to provide incentives to small businesses. They create most of the jobs in our community and they should receive the support to create more jobs.
To get the city moving forward we could do the following:
1. Sell city bonds that mature in 30-40 years.
2. Hire contractors to repair and upgrade NYCHA so all the buildings are climate change friendly by using clean energy to run the buildings.
3. Upgrade the sewer system and water mains so we don't have a lot of flooding in the streets and subways.
4. Repair and upgrade the infrastructure including replacing street signs that are faded to the point where you can barely read them in the daylight and some not at all at night. Potholes and sidewalks need work too, as people risk injury on some blocks. New street lights need to be added to dangerous sections throughout the borough.
5. Upgrade all of the old school buildings and make them climate change friendly with clean energy.
These are just some of the projects that can both lead to a better quality of life around the city and create much needed employment for its residents.