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HPNG Entrepreneurs premier event recap by blogger Carlos Macias + download presentation from NYC Small Buss. Svcs.
HPNG Entrepreneurs Premier Networking Event Recap
April 19, 2011 – New York, NY
By Carlos Macias
“Congratulations on a successful kick-off to the HPNG Entrepreneurs series. It was great to meet you and other Latino/a professionals and entrepreneurs at the event.” - Antonio Gutierrez, Esq., Plata Forbes Ferrer & Gutierrez LLC
“Congrats on a wonderful launch to HPNG Entrepreneurs! It was truly a great networking event.” - Dariely Rodriguez, Associate, FARRELL FRITZ, P.C.
“On behalf of my partner and myself, thank you for your invitation to last night's networking event and congratulations for a very successful and worthwhile event.” - Fred Sandoval, CPA, Sandoval & Dabidat, CPAs P.C.
Doing business in a metropolis like New York City could be a daunting experience. Preconceptions dictate that you must be a magnate, with the right connections to navigate the red tape in city government and that you are on your own. There’s nothing more important for entrepreneurs that find the right business atmosphere to help you flourish.
To dispel urban myths and give us an insider’s view of many of the new services the city provides, HPNG Entrepreneurs invited the Commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS) Robert W. Walsh to its debut event on April 19th at Elmo @ The Lounge in New York.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg hired Mr. Walsh in 2002 thanks to his successful job on revitalizing Business Improvement Districts (BIDS) in NYC like Union Square, Bryant Park and the city of Charlotte in North Carolina. At that point in time, the business environment in NYC was disheartening thanks to the 9/11 terrorists attacks. Also, there was no such thing as a business services unit in NYC.
“At that point, it basically looked like we gave up as a city. To illustrate my point, I remember that when I worked in Union Square in the 1990s we found a park gate that it was closed. It said: ‘Park Closed’ and somebody added ‘City Quits.’ That’s how bad it was,” Mr. Walsh said. So he decided not give up.
The city started the SBS unit from scratch and identified three major necessities that needed immediate attention: Facilitate access to capital, untangle the excessive red tape in NYC government and bridge the gap between skilled workers and businesses.
It is no secret that in today’s economy, it is harder than ever for small business owners find the capital to open shop or make improvements. Using the seven SBS centers located in the five boroughs, the city has moved aggressively to sharpen new business plans and help existing entrepreneurs be more attractive to banks and financial services. “We are now a conduit to make connections,” adds Mr. Walsh while explaining that both traditional banks and nonprofit organizations have “cooperative relationships” to help business owners to find the right financial product for their projects. “In 2010 we made 600 connections and our goal is to make 900 successful connections this year,” Mr. Walsh said.
But even with the capital available, getting all the permits required to open a business in NYC could be like getting lost in a maze. To help you open shop, SBS created a website called NYC Business Express. It is a virtual tool that can let you plot different scenarios for your business and it tells you which permits do you need and where to get them. Mr. Walsh recognized that there are many duplicate and over-laying steps remaining in the process of open a new business but remains confident that they will disappear over time.
Now that you have the money and the permits, your business needs skilled employees. Historically, NYC government was not the place to turn to when looking for workers or job for that matter. The NYC Department of Unemployment used to place around 500 jobs per year. In a bold move, Mr. Bloomberg decided to close that agency and merge its services with SBS at a time when city residents needed a hand to find local jobs. The results tell you the rest of the story: In 2010, SBS placed 31,000 jobs with local businesses, which are mostly located along commercial corridors in the five boroughs.
The secret of Mr. Walsh’s success rely on his effectiveness on invigorating 62 BIDs across NYC, which is the largest network of its kind in the nation. These BIDs expend more than $90 million every year to maintain, develop and promote commercial corridors. Mr. Walsh also highlighted the amazing job that Zahra Amanpour, NYC Director of SBS Centers and Business Education, has done to build relationships and connect all stakeholders in the city. Ms. Amanpour was also present at the event and took a minute to describe the services that SBS centers offer: Business education, legal assistance, financial advice, tax incentives, recruitment, training, how to sell to government agencies and certifications for women/minority-owned business among others.
Final questions from the audience to Mr. Walsh spanned from his view on Walmart versus small business, job incentives in the Bronx and a few Yankees/Mets jokes. The exclusive interview ended with an excellent networking session with more than 60 attendees.
HPNG Entrepreneur events are produced and executed with you in mind, whether you’re an entrepreneur, consultant or a business owner. We bring you high-quality networking events that provide engaging opportunities for you to learn how to grow your businesses and showcase your products or services to a like-minded audience
The event was sponsored by State Farm and partnered with Bizilla.com. Media partners include ETPNetwork.com, NocheLatina.com, MiguelRosario.com, LaCosmopolatina.com, LatinTrends.com, CafeMagazine.com, NSHMBA.org/newyork.
Join us for the next HPNG Entrepreneurs Networking Event on May 19, 2011 in New York. For more info visit http://www.hpng.net/ent/events.php
Download the PowerPoint Presentation handed out at the event: http://tinyurl.com/HPNGEnt-AprPresentation