Mayor Adams, SBS Commissioner Kim Announce Opening of Applications for Historic M “Opportunity Fu

Mayor Adams, SBS Commissioner Kim Announce Opening of Applications for Historic $75M “Opportunity Fu

January 23, 2023

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Largest-Ever Public-Private Fund for Small Businesses Throughout Five Boroughs Breaks Down Historic Barriers to Financing

Partnership with Goldman Sachs, Mastercard, Community Reinvestment Fund, CDFIs Delivers on Key Pillar of Mayor Adams’ “Blueprint for Economic Recovery”

NEW YORK – New York City Mayor Eric Adams and New York City Department of Small Business Services (SBS) Commissioner Kevin D. Kim today announced the groundbreaking creation of the $75 million NYC Small Business Opportunity Fund, the largest public-private loan fund directed at small businesses in the city’s history.

Approximately 1,500 local businesses will be served by the fund — with loans up to $250,000 at a market-leading rate of 4 percent — unleashing unprecedented resources at a critical time in the city’s economic recovery for small businesses too often underserved by financial relief programs. Flexible terms address historic barriers to ensure broad access to the fund by eliminating credit score minimums, not requiring application fees, serving start-up and growth-stage businesses, and leveraging the deep roots of local organizations to reach businesses in BIPOC and immigrant communities.

“Small businesses kept us going through the pandemic, and they are leading the way during our economic recovery. Now, we are giving back with the NYC Small Business Opportunity Fund,” said Mayor Adams. “Our efforts to cut red tape and jumpstart our recovery are already delivering results: We saw 13,600 new businesses open in the first half of 2022, including 1,800 new storefronts. This new loan fund will help us build on that progress and represents the next great step forward in our city’s partnership with our entrepreneurs and small business owners.”

The Opportunity Fund is made possible through a historic partnership between the City of New York and Goldman Sachs, Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, Community Reinvestment Fund (CRF), and local community development financial institutions (CDFIs), and fulfills a key commitment in Mayor Adams’ “Rebuild, Renew, Reinvent: A Blueprint for New York City’s Economic Recovery.”

Since day one of his administration, Mayor Adams has focused on helping small businesses thrive as they are crucial to New York City’s economic recovery.

The Opportunity Fund further builds on the Adams administration’s historic efforts to help small business, including Executive Order 2, also known as “Small Business Forward,” which identified over one hundred reforms to reduce fines, extend cure periods, and eliminate violations. In addition, in May, the mayor signed Executive Order 15, which ordered the creation of a Small Business Advisory Commission. These efforts are delivering tangible results. According to the latest research from the city’s Economic Development Corporation, 13,600 new businesses opened in the first half of 2022, including 1,800 new storefronts.

“Small businesses are the engines of our economy, and the NYC Small Business Opportunity Fund will give business owners across the five boroughs the fuel they need to thrive,” said Deputy Mayor for Economic and Workforce Development Maria Torres-Springer. “This innovative public-private partnership will not just help over 1,000 businesses but also have lasting ripple effects in the lives of workers and in the health of our neighborhoods where these businesses operate.”

“To reach a full and equitable recovery, New York City’s small businesses need a boost — and with the launch of the historic NYC Small Business Opportunity Fund, SBS is delivering,” said SBS Commissioner Kim. “This loan fund will unlock opportunities for businesses hit hardest by the pandemic by offering flexible and affordable financing to help businesses recover and grow. Our team and dedicated partners are committed to ensuring local small businesses, particularly those too often excluded from pandemic-era relief, use this fund to propel themselves forward.”

“We are determined to ensure that affordable capital reaches last-mile lenders who prioritize serving under-resourced small business owners,” Asahi Pompey, global head of corporate engagement, Goldman Sachs. “Through One Million Black Women, we are focused on advancing targeted capital solutions with proven impact, and we are honored to partner with Mayor Adams and Small Business Services in this effort.”

“We’re grateful to work with dedicated CDFI partners to help small business owners in New York City,” said Sherry Wang, co-head, Urban Investment Group, Goldman Sachs Asset Management. “We believe that the NYC Small Business Opportunity Fund will be critical to increasing access to capital for businesses disproportionately impacted by the pandemic and will contribute to an equitable recovery across our city.”

“Small businesses carried our communities through the pandemic, and we now have a chance to collectively and creatively help carry them through their continued recovery,” said Shamina Singh, founder and president, Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth. “Our engagement with small businesses through our Strive program has shown us that enabling access to affordable capital is essential for creating long-term resilience, particularly for underserved businesses. We’re honored and eager to bring our assets and insights to this joint initiative, which recognizes not only the economic promise of supporting small businesses, but also the difference-making power of innovative public-private partnership.”

“Small business owners continue to feel the impact of economic uncertainty,” said Keith Rachey, executive vice president and chief impact and strategy officer, CRF. “We are honored to work in partnership with the city, CDFIs, local business support organizations, and others to bring the Opportunity Fund to life and reach small businesses with a history of underrepresentation.”

Small businesses powered New York City through the pandemic, and they are leading the way during this recovery. The new Opportunity Fund will support a more inclusive and diverse economy by enabling business owners to:

  • Apply for loans ranging from $2,000 to $250,000;
  • Pay a below-market fixed interest rate of 4 percent, regardless of loan size;
  • Pay only interest for the first six months for start-up businesses, regardless of loan size;
  • Use the loan to refinance existing high-interest debt, expand their customer base, hire new employees, and more; and
  • Access free long-term business supports through SBS.

CDFI partners, including Accompany Capital, Ascendus, BOC Capital, Harlem Entrepreneurial Fund (HEF), NDC, Pursuit Community Finance, Renaissance Economic Development Corporation, and Trufund, will provide application assistance and no-cost financial advice, utilizing a novel model of local engagement to reach businesses in greatest need. Additional CDFIs can apply to partner on the fund. To further the fund’s reach in hard-hit communities, SBS will launch a major door-to-door outreach campaign throughout the five boroughs.

“CDFIs have been called ‘first responders’ to recovery efforts after financial crises,” said Yanki Tshering, executive director, Accompany Capital. “Accompany Capital is delighted to join our fellow CDFIs in ensuring that this very important Department of Small Business Services initiative will enable small businesses in underserved communities to get access to low-cost and flexible capital.”

“As with plants, we must nourish a local economy at its roots. Local, neighborhood-based BIPOC businesses are the roots of our city’s economy,” said Paul Quintero, CEO, Ascendus. “The capital we infuse through this program not only fertilizes today’s economic soil but also catalyzes tomorrow’s economic green shoots.”

“Throughout the pandemic, BOC Capital provided thousands of minority- and BIPOC-owned businesses with COVID-19 pandemic relief funds and PPP assistance. However, with the pandemic hitting low- and moderate-income neighborhoods the hardest, there is still a significant need for capital among local businesses who were deeply impacted by the pandemic,” said Nancy Carin, executive director, BOC Capital Corp. “With the support of the Opportunity Fund, BOC Capital looks forward to working closely with the City of New York to empower BIPOC small business owners by providing equitable resources, hands-on support, and financing.”

“HEF is delighted to participate in this public-private partnership providing capital and technical assistance to small businesses still recovering from the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said E. Hamil Douglas, president and CEO, Harlem Commonwealth Council, Inc. “Small businesses in Harlem, Upper Manhattan, and the Bronx suffered disproportionally from COVID-19, and this fresh injection of capital will help stabilize these businesses and, by extension, the communities they serve.”

“NDC is honored to be selected as an originating lender in Mayor Adams’ economic recovery blueprint initiative,” said Dan Marsh, president and CEO, NDC. “Over the past three years, NDC has provided loans to thousands of small BIPOC, immigrant, and low-income business owners in New York City and around the nation to ensure that they not only survived the challenges of the pandemic but also had the financial resources to recover, stabilize, and grow.  We will continue to work with our community partners throughout the city to connect with those businesses in all five boroughs and meet the mayor’s goals for economic strength and diversity.”

“Pursuit applauds the city’s commitment to support small businesses most impacted by the long-term effects of the pandemic,” said Steve Cohen, president, Pursuit Community Finance.  “Access to low-cost capital remains a barrier to recovery and growth, and this program will directly address that need.”

“The NYC Small Business Opportunity Fund will be a critical new resource to assist the immigrant small businesses we serve throughout New York City,” said Jessie Lee, managing director, Renaissance Economic Development Corporation. “Many of these businesses continue to suffer from the aftershocks of the pandemic and the impacts of inflation. Renaissance is proud to be part of this program, which will help save small businesses.”

“The NYC Small Business Opportunity Fund will provide a boost that so many small business owners need as they continue to rise above the challenges of the last couple years and get back to business,” said James H. Bason, president and CEO, TruFund Financial Services, Inc. “We strongly believe that access to capital and business advisory services is critical to growing resilient small businesses and sustaining vibrant communities. Our participation in the NYC Small Business Opportunity Fund will further enhance our ability to have an impact on the small businesses we serve.”

To be eligible for a loan, businesses must have less than $5 million in annual revenue and be located within New York City. Applications to the Opportunity Fund open online today, and those interested can learn more about the Fund by calling SBS’s hotline at (888) SBS-4NYC. In addition, the city will offer webinars to help businesses learn about the application process and the steps involved. The webinars will be offered weekly beginning on Tuesday, January 24, 2023.

“Small businesses are the heart of our neighborhoods and the backbone of our economy, and they must continue to be at the forefront of our economic recovery,” said U.S. Representative Ritchie Torres. “I encourage all the small businesses across New York City — and particularly across my district in the Bronx — to take advantage of this unprecedented opportunity that will deliver much-needed resources and financial relief.”

“Many of New York’s small businesses will breathe a sigh of relief with this historic loan program,” said New York State Senator Roxanne J. Persaud. “Mayor Adams’ continued commitment to an equitable recovery will continue to make asset building stronger across our City and in Senate District 19.”

“The NYC Small Business Opportunity Fund is a game changer for small businesses in our city, providing unprecedented resources at a critical time in the city’s economic recovery,” said New York State Senator Luis Sepúlveda. “This $75 million public-private loan fund, the largest in the city’s history, will serve approximately 1,500 local businesses with loans up to $250,000 at a market-leading rate of 4 percent, breaking down barriers and ensuring broad access to financial relief for those who have been too often underserved.”

“I applaud the launch of the historic NYC Small Business Opportunity Fund by Mayor Eric Adams, NYC Department of Small Business Services, and industry partners. Small businesses will have an available resource and opportunity with this loan fund,” said New York State Senator Iwen Chu. “After devastating years of the pandemic, our business owners are still in urgent need of relief and assistance. I, alongside my colleagues in all levels of government are committed to finding more avenues of relief for small businesses and to ensure they reach hard-hit communities.”

“‘The city that never sleeps’ was extremely quiet during the pandemic and our small businesses were devastated to the point that two years later they are still struggling to recover,” said New York State Assemblymember Chantel Jackson. “Thank you to Mayor Adams for his commitment to helping our business revive, survive and thrive. I look forward to helping businesses in my district get access to these funds.”

“The small businesses in my district define the character of our blocks. They create jobs, add to our vibrancy, and cater to the diverse needs of the people of Queens. Mayor Adams’ NYC Small Business Opportunity Fund will provide the capital infusion they need to grow and thrive for decades to come,” said New York State Assemblymember Jenifer Rajkumar. “These low-interest loans come without the credit rating and application fee requirements that shut out many small businesses, including the immigrant-owned businesses in my district. Following the most challenging period in these businesses’ history, Mayor Adams will ensure that they succeed like never before.”

“Our small businesses are the backbones of our diverse communities here in Queens, but many of these beloved neighborhood anchors are still struggling to pay the bills following three years of COVID-caused uncertainty,” said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. “The NYC Small Business Opportunity Fund has the opportunity to be a game-changer for our local economies, and I look forward to working with the mayor’s office and the Department of Small Business Services to ensure that Queens businesses receive their fair share of this critical funding.”

“The Opportunity Fund can play a crucial role uplifting small businesses in need of flexible and affordable financing to further grow their business,” said New York City Councilmember Julie Menin, chair, Committee on Small Business. “So many small businesses were unable to access pandemic-era aid that could have prevented closures and empty storefronts across our city. I thank Mayor Eric Adams and Commissioner Kevin D. Kim for prioritizing the needs of small businesses and providing additional resources during this critical time of the city’s economic recovery.”

“As the chair of the Committee on Economic Development and a Bronxite, I am excited to see this historic investment of $75 million committed to helping our small businesses, pillars of our local economy,” said New York City Councilmember Amanda Farías, chair, Committee on Economic Development. “Black and Brown communities like mine have been disproportionately devastated by the pandemic. It is encouraging to see the intentional outreach that will be done to make sure those communities are included in the fund. Thank you, Mayor Adams and Commissioner Kim, for your leadership on economic recovery. I look forward to continuing to work together to ensure our city’s economy recovers with equity.”

“Many small businesses have not recovered from the pandemic. People order online, tourism is still not where it was in 2019, and commercial buildings have fewer occupants who are buying coffee and going out for lunch and after-work drinks,” said New York City Councilmember Gale Brewer. “I applaud the mayor and the SBS commissioner for initiating a loan fund for small businesses that is easy to access and is paid back with a below-market fixed interest rate. This community is the backbone of New York City and deserves support from government.”

“The NYC Small Business Opportunity Fund is a crucial step in the right direction for small businesses in the city,” said New York City Councilmember Kamillah Hanks. “As a councilmember, it is my duty to ensure that our small businesses have the resources they need to succeed. This fund will provide the necessary financial support and access to resources to help small businesses recover and grow. I am proud to support this initiative and look forward to seeing its positive impact on our local economy.”

“Small businesses are the lifeblood of our city, and any public-private partnership that works to support and sustain them is a positive step in the right direction,” said New York City Councilmember Robert Holden. “I applaud the mayor and SBS for creating this program to help keep our small businesses alive and thriving.”

“Loans like this are a step in the right direction, and I look forward to working with City Hall on providing more support for our struggling small business community going forward,” said New York City Councilmember Vickie Paladino.

“Small businesses employ nearly half of all New York City workers — they are the backbone of our city’s economy and social fabric,” said New York City Councilmember Pierina Sanchez. “Yet, with respect to government support for recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, Bronx small businesses and immigrant-owned businesses across the city have largely been left behind. Our small businesses continue to struggle, with vacant storefronts becoming a mainstay, even in relatively lower-cost areas, and access to capital remains a challenge. I applaud the mayor’s efforts to make low-interest loans available through this Opportunity Fund, opening access to a needed resource that can aid the resilience of our small businesses. I look forward to partnering to disseminate this critical information.”

“Many businesses continue to recover from the pandemic and the economic barriers that have since transpired. As a city, we must build equity among our local businesses, especially those who need it the most,” said New York City Councilmember Marjorie Velázquez. “In communities like mine, business owners are often at a loss for financial assistance due to socioeconomic barriers, putting employees at risk for unemployment. However, with programs like the Opportunity Fund, lives will change for business owners and employees alike. I hope to see our businesses benefit from SBS’ resources, building for a stronger future without bearing the burden of unattainable financial relief.”

“Revitalizing and supporting our small businesses has been a priority of mine since I began running for City Council,” said New York City Councilmember Inna Vernikov. “Now, as a councilmember, I have partnered with the mayor’s office and SBS to make many of these priorities a reality. This historic public-private Opportunity Fund will enhance these efforts, and I encourage all eligible business owners to apply.”

“Access to financing via low-interest loans and grant programs is crucial to the economic recovery and forward movement of our local economies,” said Lisa Sorin, president, Bronx Chamber of Commerce. “Today’s announcement by Mayor Adams provides an additional tool for small businesses, which increases access to affordable capital during a period of global inflation.”

“An unexpected surprise coming out of the pandemic was a significant increase in the number of new businesses,” said Rob Walsh, interim president, Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation. “With interest rates increasing coupled with uncertainties in the economy, we appreciate this mayoral initiative to get more resources in hands of small businesses.”

“Deh Abroad Village is proud to stand with Mayor Adams, who has clearly shown in one year his focus on helping and strengthening New York City small businesses,” said Dominic Christopher, co-founder, Deh Abroad Village. “Today’s announcement is another strong step by our mayor that New York City small businesses are a top priority to him.”

“As our business corridors — the economic beacons of our neighborhoods — continue to recover from the pandemic and other community challenges, this new Opportunity Fund is a welcome lifeline to support the many businesses that have been on Fordham Road for generations,” said Wilma Alonso, president and CEO, Fordham Road Business Improvement District. “We thank Mayor Adams for his support of our small business community, and we look forward to working with the city to help our businesses recover, grow, and succeed.”

“The Opportunity Fund will provide critical funding to small businesses across New York City, particularly those in Black, Brown, and immigrant communities,” said Shelley Worrell, founder, I AM Caribbeing. “I AM Caribbeing is honored to partner with Mayor Adams and Small Business Services in hard-to-reach communities such as Brooklyn’s Little Caribbean to accelerate access to funding, resources, and opportunities allowing businesses to start, scale, and advance entrepreneurship.”

“On behalf of the Korean-American community in New York City, which includes thousands of Korean American-owned small businesses, we applaud Mayor Adams’ ongoing efforts and initiatives, which are designed to ameliorate the financial hardship faced by small businesses, which are essential to the wellbeing of New York City,” said Charles Yoon, president, Korean American Association of Greater New York.

“Small businesses — which have been a ladder to the middle class for millions of entrepreneurs and those they employ — are critical to closing the racial wealth gap,” said Valerie White, senior executive director, Local Initiatives Support Corporation New York. “We are encouraged that Mayor Adams and Commissioner Kim, through the Department of Small Business Services, have created this Opportunity Fund, which will dedicate sorely needed capital to help New Yorkers start, grow, and sustain their small businesses.”

“Investing in local entrepreneurship is a win-win for the city, as it maximizes innovation, job creation, and other benefits that reverberate throughout communities,” said Jessica Walker, president and CEO, Manhattan Chamber of Commerce. “I applaud the Adams administration for its foresight and commitment to support New Yorkers who are trying to build a business in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and strong in New York City, but access to working capital is often a barrier to small business success and growth,” said Andrew Rigie, executive director, New York City Hospitality Alliance. “That’s why we’re thrilled Mayor Adams and the Department of Small Business Services will now provide access to low-interest, flexible financing to sustain small businesses, support their growth, and help them succeed and thrive in the Big Apple.”

“We at the New York Hispanic Cosmetology and Beauty Chamber of Commerce encourage all small businesses to take advantage of this great opportunity that the city made available to help them thrive and grow,” said Rommy Pennella, vice president and co-founder, New York Hispanic Cosmetology and Beauty Chamber of Commerce.

“It’s a breath of fresh air what Mayor Adams is doing for small businesses, especially during these hard times that they are facing,” said Reverend Carmen Hernandez, chair, New York State Coalition Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

“The small businesses community is still struggling to recover, particularly restaurants in communities of color that I represent. We have not recovered the jobs nor the revenue we saw pre-pandemic,” said Jeffrey Garcia, president, New York State Latino Restaurant Bar and Lounge Association. “I want to thank Mayor Adams and Commissioner Kim for their steadfast commitment to helping small, minority, and women-owned businesses. This is yet another step to move capital into the hands of small businesses as a way of fostering growth in an industry that is vital to New York City’s economic vitality.”

“We need to make access to capital a reality for our small businesses, especially for those small businesses owned by people of color who have been left behind, if we want them to survive and recover from the pandemic,” said Quenia Abreu, president, New York Women’s Chamber of Commerce. “This is the reason why we at the New York Women’s Chamber are excited about Mayor Adams’ Opportunity Fund initiative and applaud his efforts to provide much-needed capital to our small businesses. We are ready to work with Mayor Adams and Commissioner Kim to make sure that those small businesses that need it the most can access the funding they need to recover.”

“Small businesses are the lifeblood of local economies in every neighborhood throughout the five boroughs,” said Tom Grech, president and CEO, Queens Chamber of Commerce. “Sadly, the past few years have been extremely difficult, and we’ve seen too many beloved neighborhood institutions close their doors to customers for good. Mayor Adams understands that there is no economic recovery for New York City without a strong small business community. We thank the mayor and SBS Commissioner Kevin Kim for their commitment and continued investment in small businesses, so that they can continue to create jobs and opportunities for New Yorkers throughout the city.”

“At a time when our communities, and particularly our small businesses, continue to struggle to recover from the dual economic and public health challenges we have all faced over the past few years, it is critical to ensure that we get serious about helping our small businesses secure much-needed financial assistance to keep them afloat,” said Lourdes Zapata, president and CEO, SoBro. “The mayor’s initiative will ensure that disenfranchised businesses, and discouraged borrowers, have opportunities to secure support they need and deserve. SoBro looks forward to supporting the mayor and Commissioner Kim in the execution of the mayor’s vision and, more importantly, ensuring that our small businesses are provided the opportunity to thrive.”

“The Yemeni American Merchants Association believes that providing adequate resources for small business owners is essential in creating a more equitable economic landscape,” said Joel Feliciano, chief operating officer, Yemeni American Merchants Association. “We expect that this new program will make it easier for entrepreneurs of all backgrounds to tap into important sources of capital, which will allow them to focus on cultivating sustainable businesses. We applaud this administration’s commitment to ensuring our small business owners have access to these much-needed services that will help strengthen local economies across the city. We look forward to continuing our work with SBS as they roll out more details over the coming weeks.”