Rules Governing Love Your Local Grant Program

Proposed Rules: Open to Comments

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Agency:
Comment By: 
Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Statement of Basis and Purpose

New York City is home to more than 200,000 small businesses that collectively employ more than half of the City’s private sector workforce and provide needed jobs, goods and services in neighborhoods across the five boroughs. The vitality, diversity and longevity of small, local businesses are critical to the City’s economy and provide important benefits to residents of the City’s neighborhoods. For example, in 2014, businesses in NYC’s lower income neighborhoods employed 113,420 workers below the age of 30, a 31% increase from 2002.

Over the last fifteen years, the New York City Department of Small Business Services (DSBS) has administered programs to educate and support tens of thousands of local businesses and entrepreneurs seeking to conduct business in New York City. Recently, DSBS has responded to a growing demand to assist commercial tenants in understanding the content of their current or proposed leases, negotiating with landlords and resisting harassment. In addition, DSBS and governmental partners including the Department of City Planning, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, the New York City Council, and the City’s Economic Development Corporation have worked to devise programs and policy interventions to support the survival of independent brick and mortar businesses and the vitality and safety of the commercial corridors in neighborhoods across the City. Interventions by these government partners have included restricting street frontage for banks and other less vulnerable business types through zoning amendments, passing legislation extending anti-harassment protections to commercial tenants, incentivizing affordable housing developers to include appropriate spaces for small business tenants on the ground floor of new developments and investing in improvements to commercial corridors.

DSBS proposes to establish the Love Your Local Small Business Grant Program to expand the City’s economic development toolkit. This three-year pilot program will allow the City to develop and test interventions designed to help local, small businesses remain viable and stable participants in the lives of the City’s diverse neighborhoods despite changes in local real estate conditions. Devising these solutions is important, as 2016 data published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that job creation attributable to new establishments has been on a decline since the late 1990s and that businesses established prior to 1993 employ nearly 40% of the private sector workforce. Therefore, supporting existing, neighborhood businesses in making changes to allow them to survive and grow is an efficient means of supporting neighborhood economic well-being.

The Love Your Local Small Business Grant Program will incentivize commercial tenant businesses to share detailed information on challenges related to the costs of their leases with DSBS. DSBS will support a carefully selected set of those businesses in addressing those challenges through expert advice and implementation funding. DSBS will collect performance data from the businesses following these interventions, thus increasing the City’s understanding of what strategies are effective in preventing neighborhood businesses from closing due to rising rents and other rising real estate costs. This understanding will increase DSBS’ ability to provide meaningful advice and assistance to other businesses committed to retaining local jobs, helping to ensure the continued availability of locally valued goods and services, and preserving retail diversity. The Love Your Local Small Business Grant Program builds on the work of Small Business First, a DSBS program which invests in initiatives to help existing businesses thrive by connecting them to resources that will save them time and money.

Public Hearing
Subject: 

Rules Governing Love Your Local Grant Program

Public Hearing Date: 
Tuesday, May 29, 2018 - 11:00am
Contact: 

No contact

Location: 
110 William Street 7th Floor
New York, NY