Assembly Passes Bills to Help NY Small Businesses, Encourage Entrepreneurs

Measures designed to aid minority- and women-owned businesses, small businesses seeking niche markets
March 27, 2008
The Assembly passed a package of bills designed to give small businesses the help they need to thrive in New York State. Assemblymember Alec Brook-Krasny (D-Coney Island, Dyker Heights) said this legislation gives small businesses – one of the key foundations of the state's economy – a helping hand.
"The success of small businesses is vital to the success of New York's communities," Brook-Krasny said. "According to U.S. Census data, small businesses are the source of up to 80 percent of all new jobs in our country. We need to do what we can to bolster and encourage small-business growth in our state — that's why the Assembly has taken great steps to ensure resources are available to assist new businesses and help existing companies grow."
Specifically, the legislation:
  • provides state assistance to aid in the expansion of small businesses throughout New York (A.9129);

  • establishes a competitive grant program for small businesses to seek new markets and niche products and work with small manufacturers to identify and develop these markets and products (A.2877);

  • provides zero- or low-interest loans for energy efficiency projects, further allowing small businesses to grow and create new jobs (A.5494);

  • creates the micro business outreach center and program to provide small businesses access to economic development funds and advice (A.2766);

  • provides start-up and expansion funding for not-for-profit sponsors of small-scale food-processing facilities to foster entrepreneurship, job development and community revitalization, while also improving local farm sustainability by providing an outlet for farmers to see their products (A.3680-A);

  • authorizes credit unions to participate in the Excelsior Linked Deposit Program to help businesses gain greater access to capital (A.3205); and

  • requires that a deferred installment payment plan be offered to small businesses for telephone service installation, initiation and nonrecurring maintenance charges (A.4678).

Many of the bills devoted to small-business legislation are designed to aid minority- and women-owned businesses, in particular. The legislation:
    establishes a procedure requiring certain state agencies and authorities to submit a goal plan and to establish compliance reporting of goals in order to improve the participation of minority- and women-owned businesses on state contracts (A.1311-A);
  • increases funding for the Minority and Women Business Enterprise program by requiring the state comptroller to establish a specific MWBE implementation fund (A.2204-A);

  • requires free, daily online publication of New York State Contract reports to expand the notification of business opportunities to MWBE members (A.2293-A);

  • improves outreach efforts of the Department of Economic Development's divisions for Small Business and Minority and Women's Business Development (A.2329-A);

  • provides dispensation for performance and payment bonds for certain contracts with small, minority- or women-owned businesses, and requires advertisement of dispensation (A.3329-A);

  • requires New York agencies to post contractor utilization plans on their Web sites to ensure MWBE members get the work promised them (A.3330);

  • establishes a mentor-protégé program for small, minority- and women-owned businesses (A.3392); and

  • improves the MWBE program by encouraging joint ventures, partnerships and mentor-protégé relationships between prime contractors and minority- and women-owned business enterprises (A.4498).

While large corporations have established inroads to gaining state or federal aid, Brook-Krasny said smaller companies are too often overlooked. He said these bills provide equal access to vital financial support.
"Small businesses and new entrepreneurs deserve the same opportunities to succeed that larger companies enjoy," Brook-Krasny said. "This kind of assistance – especially in the current economic climate – will help businesses get off the ground, and give entrepreneurs a chance to achieve the American dream.
"Whether it's aiding opportunities for start-up businesses or establishing incentives for self-supporting business people to seek out and develop niche markets, this legislation helps everyone in New York," Brook-Krasny said. "We should always encourage the drive and successes of New York's small businesses and entrepreneurs."
The Assembly also passed a resolution proclaiming March 27 as Small Business Day in New York State.