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During National Small Business Month, Hochul highlights commitment to supporting business community

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Mon, May 13th 2024 10:25 am

Gov. Kathy Hochul is celebrating National Small Business Month, which occurs in May, by highlighting New York state’s “unwavering support for its small business community.”

As part of the state’s celebration, Hochul launched new programs to expand support for New York’s small businesses, including a $6 million Innovation Matching Grants program to drive innovation at small businesses and a suite of programming to support nearly 100,000 businesses insured by the New York State Insurance Fund. In addition, the governor announced “a new milestone as processing times for New York’s minority- and women-owned business certification reached a historic new low.”

“Small businesses are part of the core of New York state’s communities,” Hochul said. “Through signature economic development programs, we are making sure small businesses in every corner of the state can compete, grow and thrive. We are building a modern 21st century economy and it could not be done without New York’s small business community, which is the backbone of our economy.”

Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight said, “We’re excited to celebrate National Small Business Month with programs and services that help drive growth and innovation for small businesses looking to thrive in New York. Under Gov. Hochul’s leadership we are continuing to make New York state the most small-business-friendly state in the nation.”

New York State Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon said, “Small businesses not only drive our local economies but they are the heartbeats of our communities, offering unique services and providing vital employment opportunities. At the DOL, we’re committed to supporting these essential pillars of economic strength. From offering customized solutions that meet diverse business needs to facilitating access to funding and technical assistance, we empower small businesses to thrive and expand their potential.”

NYSIF Executive Director and CEO Gaurav Vasisht said, “We are committed to providing tailored solutions for the distinct needs of all businesses across New York state. This package of programs is designed specifically to support small businesses and we are dedicated to helping them protect their employees.”

A press release stated, “There are nearly 695,000 small businesses in New York state, and approximately 98% of New York businesses have fewer than 100 employees. These businesses employ more than 4.5 million individuals in fields from retail and food service to financial services, to agriculture, innovation and construction.

“As part of the FY 2025 enacted budget, Gov. Hochul secured … expansions of New York’s signature Downtown Revitalization Initiative, NY Forward and FAST NY programs to strengthen local economies where small business can thrive. Under the governor’s leadership, New York state has provided more than $1 billion in support for small businesses, including business recovery funding and seed funding for early-stage businesses during the pandemic. And at the governor’s direction, Empire State Development has committed unprecedented support for New York’s small businesses, and more than 60% of all funding is awarded to small businesses.”

Innovation Grant matching program

Hochul launched ESD’s $6 million Innovation Matching Grants program, which was first proposed in her 2023 State of the State address. This program provides application support and technical assistance to New York companies applying for the federal Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer grant programs, which incentivize small businesses to engage in research and development with the potential for commercialization.

Under the program, ESD will match up to $100,000 for a successful concept development, or phase I award, and up to $200,000 for a prototype development, or phase II award. The division will also provide technical assistance resources for phase II and phase III awardees. Applications and guidelines can be found here.

New milestone for minority and women-owned business certifications

Hochul announced New York has not only exceeded its commitment to shortening response times for MWBE certification applications to 90 to 120 days, it has exceeded that commitment. Since Aug. 1, ESD has certified and recertified over 1,500 businesses, with the average application processing time now taking less than 90 days.

Additional support for NYSIF-insured businesses

Hochul unveiled new programs for NYSIF-insured businesses. NYSIF has created a small business support team to assist newly established businesses obtain workers’ compensation and to provide those policyholders with direct one-on-one support from NYSIF staff from initial underwriting through the renewal process. This includes preparing for audits, obtaining certificates of insurance, keeping accurate business records, managing claims and obtaining safety services.

The governor also announced a personal protective equipment proper fit premium credit for eligible NYSIF policyholders, establishing a one-time credit of up to 10% of the annual premium up to $1,000 for the purchase of related safety equipment and materials to protect New York workers. Eligible equipment includes masks, goggles, gloves, head covers and other safety-related items.

In addition, the governor announced a new equal monthly billing option for NYSIF policyholders, allowing eligible businesses to spread their payments over the course of 12 months and eliminating larger deposits. Her team said, “This change will ultimately help small businesses managing cashflow throughout the annual billing cycle.”

For more information on these and other programs, visit nysif.com.

Ongoing New York state support for small businesses

Hochul also reminded New Yorkers about existing small business support and services through New York state agencies. The Department of Labor’s business services representatives work with entrepreneurs “to create customized solutions to help meet their business goals.” DOL also offers free human resource service consultations, assists with workforce recruitment to help employers find skilled workers, and offers guidance on hiring incentives, tax credits and funding opportunities that can help employers curb costs.

The press release stated, “Hochul is also committed to supporting New York’s agricultural sector and has increased investments in agriculture by $114 million – or 60% – during her tenure. The FY 2025 budget builds on the governor’s progress by investing $55 million to maintain New York’s status as a leading producer of dairy as providing $50 million to help families access fresh food and support local small farmers. As part of the budget, Gov. Hochul has also secured an agreement to extend the sale of to-go alcoholic beverages for an additional five years.

“Empire State Development also provides an array of support to New York’s small businesses through its small business division. Capital access programs such as the New York Forward Loan Fund offers business-friendly loans of up to $150,000, and the linked deposit program helps existing businesses obtain reduced-rate financing of 2% to 3% to grow their footprint in New York. In addition, New York state’s venture fund invests in entrepreneurs, fund managers, and accelerators to fuel New York’s innovation ecosystem and is actively deploying over $300 million of capital for both direct and indirect investment.”

For a full array of programs to support the state’s small businesses, click here.

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