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Neighbor to Neighbor: Community meeting gives useful biz tips

In the comparatively short time James Sanders Jr., City Council member for the 31st District, has been one of our elected officials, he has done what he promised — work with us. As soon as violence raised its ugly head in our community again, he arranged with the New York Police Department to have the mobile unit in our area. He has attended community meetings and has sponsored others for us to attend.

The May 21 meeting at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Rosedale covered a wide variety of subjects of interest to those who want to improve businesses and/or the business district in general. As chair of the Economic Development Committee, Sanders knew all the right people to contact and gave appropriate credit to his fine staff for the preparations it made. He also thanked his very distinguished speakers for spending their time and sharing their expertise with us. We, too, say “thank you.”

Sanders and all those very knowledgeable folks gave everyone more than one evening’s education. Unfortunately, space limitations will not permit my sharing all the notes I took, but I will try to give some sources of information that might be of interest. Sanders stressed that if you need his help, you should contact his staff, Pat White, Yvonne Williamson or Claudia Copeland, at 527-4356.

Thomas Alford, of the Queens Borough Library, explained and encouraged use of the library’s extensive programs with regard to computers. Besides training and use of computers, there are a vast array of sources available for business needs, including setting up programs, financing and broadening work horizons outside of the United States. International business lectures are available at the Flushing Library on the third floor.

Ann Kayman, senior vice president, NYC Economic Development Corp., provided an excellent book, “Your Resource for Growth in New York City Business Essentials,” with such clearly defined topics as financing, advice, tax benefits, staffing, energy, real estate, export/import and government contracts. They have loan and mini-loan programs. She said they are glorified traffic managers with sources for pro bono or free services on training and building skills. They can be reached at An additional function of the group is to be facilitator among the City Council, community board and state. To track people down that you can’t find with this method, call 212-312-3572.

Allya Flake represented the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation. She said they give revolving loans to all 114 zip codes at prime rates. If someone needs a $500 loan and a bank will only give $300, GJDC can give an additional $150.

Andrew Schwartz, deputy commissioner and general counsel, New York City Department of Business Services, said they have city contracting opportunities for $5 million or $6 million for things used by the city. They can source professionalized procurement, help with contacts in the mayor’s office and with city services, as well as provide help for minority businesses. Contact Email:

George Glatter, executive director, New York City Department of Building Services, Neighborhood Development Division, said his group helps with regard to a healthy commercial strip, such as the physical appearance, and is a source for matching grants for security, sanitation, etc. They also advise about tax credits.

Timothy Marshall, president and CEO of Jamaica Business Resource Center, 90-33 160 St., Jamaica, said his is a non-profit group of management consultants to small businesses. Their major areas include understanding business management and how to effectively start and grow a business, as well as licensing, taxes, permits, guaranteed loans, commercial/investment banks, credit impairment programs and access to markets.

Robert Altman, 212-732-0606, was corporate counsel for EDC. He said that before attempting to do any work with the city you must have in proper order corporate paperwork, proof of ownership, how the business was acquired and company dollars. James Heyliger, president of the Association of Minority Enterprises of New York, Inc. 291-1887, meets with contractors to assure work is given to minorities. A question-and-answer session followed.

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