State Assemblyman Francisco Moya (D-Jackson Heights) and U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-Jackson Heights) told small business owners at a forum last Thursday that the state government has numerous programs for businesses, especially those that are women- and minority-owned, to get capital.
“We wanted to bring this information to you,” Moya said. “We want to make it as easy and as seamless as possible.”
At the invitation of the assemblyman, Empire State Development President Kenneth Adams spoke to a crowd of about 70 business owners at Mumbai Grill, at 37-33 74th St. in Jackson Heights, about three initiatives of Gov. Andrew Cuomo aimed at connecting businesses to capital.
These new programs are paid for through $50 million in federal funding and include Innovate New York, which connects venture capitalists to early stage startups for investment; Capital Access, which backstops loans from financial institutions to small businesses; and Empire’s minority- and women-owned business enterprise, which can connect small businesses with state agency contracts if they meet certain qualifications.
Moya said Queens had been hit hard in the economic downturn, and he wanted to bring the information about the programs straight to the business owners in his heavily diverse district. The assemblyman’s district includes parts of Jackson Heights, Corona and Elmhurst.
“A lot of them are first-generation Americans,” Moya said of the business owners. “A lot of them don’t know how to get certified.”
The officials took questions from business owners during the meeting, most of which centered around frustrations with both the confusing process of getting certified as well as getting financing from banks unwilling to lend.
Crowley characterized the problems of the banks being the victim of a “bipolar government.” He said while the federal government has been pumping dollars into the banks for loaning small businesses, bank examiners have been questioning any loans that could be risky, making the banks uneager to lend. He said the federal government has been trying to give space to the banks to provide financing.
“Without that we can’t expect you to be able to make payroll or expand your business,” he said.
State Assemblywoman Grace Meng (D-Flushing), who visited the roundtable, is a member of the governor’s team to ensure at least 20 percent of the state contracts will be given to women- and minority-owned businesses in the future. She said as the daughter of small business owners, she realizes how hard business owners work both at their jobs and at home.
“I can testify personally that the governor’s office is working super hard to make sure we hit that 20 percent mark,” Meng said.
Moya said he is planning to hold additional roundtables at other areas throughout his district.
For more information, visit esd.ny.gov.
Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at rhenely@cn
©2012 Community News Group
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