Jamaica biz group gets $10K grant

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The Greater Jamaica Development Corp. received a financial boost last week to help small businesses in the area.

TD Bank gave the community development group $10,000 through its charity wing, TD Charitable Foundation. The money provided by the Canadian-based financial institution will be used for Greater Jamaica’s Capital Access Program, which gives small businesses loans to industries and companies that want to move to southeast Queens.

Carlisle Towery, president of Greater Jamaica, said that despite the economic downturn, downtown Jamaica is still an attractive place for businesses to set up their shop because of its various advantages.

“We value the TD Charitable Foundation’s active involvement in our local communities and its generous support of our work to create a thriving and regionally significant downtown,” he said in a statement.

The Capital Access Program has been helping small businesses for years with its loans. Qualified applicants can receive anywhere from $10,000 to $300,000 for different purposes, including real property purchase or improvement, gap financing, working capital and equipment, according to Greater Jamaica.

In order to receive the money, the company must pledge to conduct its business in southeast Queens and have a plan for strong future growth in the neighborhood.

Greater Jamaica has helped to bring a number of firms to the location, including the architecture firm Graf & Lewent, which moved from its original location in Elmhurst to 90-30 161st St. nearly six months ago.

New zoning aimed at encouraging construction of better commercial properties and the neighborhood’s location near major transit hubs, such as the Long Island Rail Road and AirTrain to John F. Kennedy International Airport, have given companies an incentive to move to downtown Jamaica, according to Towery.

“Greater Jamaica Development Corp. is in the community-building business with a longstanding commitment to planning, promoting and advancing responsible development, expanded opportunities and quality-of-life improvements for downtown Jamaica,” he said.

TD Charitable has worked to help nonprofits with various economic programs, including financial literacy classes and affordable housing initiatives.

“The critical financing provided through this program goes a long way toward bolstering economic development and business expansion in downtown Jamaica and southeast Queens,” Peter Meyer, market president at TD Bank, said in a statement.

Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4546.

Updated 11:30 am, October 12, 2011
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