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Quinn speaks at small business fair in East Elmhurst

In an effort to re-energize the city’s small businesses, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan) visited the Bulova Corporate Center in East Elmhurst last week to introduce the first of several fairs to be held across the five boroughs to help small businesses obtain credit.

“We need to remember a lot of small businesses exist on credit,” Quinn said.

Despite the driving snow outside Jan. 26, people crammed into two rooms at the center, at 75-20 Astoria Blvd. in East Elmhurst, to speak to lenders and business organizations, such as the Queens Chamber of Commerce, the Queens Economic Development Center and New York City Business Solutions.

Quinn said the series of workshops — supported in partnership with business chambers and banks throughout the borough — was designed to revitalize and support small businesses, which have had trouble obtaining credit in these tough economic times.

“You’ve suffered even more greatly as a result of the recession and the financial crisis,” Quinn said.

She said these fairs were a part of the “Credit Ready NYC” initiative. The second part of the undertaking is “Credit for Success — Second Look,” a $2 million program in which small businesses that have been rejected for loans can get a second chance at obtaining credit, which Quinn announced last year. Begun by U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), the program already has been implemented in upstate New York.

Jack Friedman, executive vice president of the chamber, said the fair had been in the planning stages for a month after Quinn approached the group.

The event also received support from the borough’s elected officials. Borough President Helen Marshall and Councilmen Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights), Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside), Mark Weprin (D-Oakland Gardens) and Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans) all spoke about the key role small businesses play in the economic recovery and how important it is for those businesses to get credit so they can thrive.

“These are very difficult times, unfortunately, for small business owners,” Van Bramer said.

Marshall said small businesses provide 85 percent of jobs in the borough, but after the credit crunch few businesses had been able to get the credit they needed.

“The banking industry now is willing to work with us,” she said.

Weprin said, given the Internet, it is easier than ever for small businesses to start up, but credit can help them succeed.

“Sometimes that’s all you need — the catalyst to turn it into the next big business,” he said.

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at rhenely@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.

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