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Scaling Up Small Businesses

Scaling Up Small Businesses in New York City

by Cheryl Lopez, Project Coordinator February 6, 2018

Small businesses have the potential to bolster New York City’s economy by creating jobs and providing entrepreneurs with the opportunity to reach economic stability while at the same time making their dreams a reality. According to Small Business First’s report, of the approximately 220,000 businesses located in NYC, 98% are small (fewer than 100 employees) and 89% are very small (fewer than 20 employees). These small businesses employ nearly half of NYC’s workforce and because they are a fundamental part of our economy, access to free and affordable resources is critical to building an environment where entrepreneurs can start-up, operate, and expand their small businesses with the greatest chances of long-term success.

According to the Center for an Urban Future, despite the significant numbers of small businesses that operate in NYC, very few of them manage to grow and achieve sustained growth. From developing a detailed business plan, seeking funding for business start-up costs, to obtaining licenses or permits and commercial space, the challenges of entrepreneurship are many. As the Project Coordinator of CBJC’s Neighborhood Entrepreneur Law Project, I hear the ins-and-outs of these challenges every day as I work with micro-entrepreneurs to help them navigate the complex legal aspects of business ownership. Fortunately, NYC is home to a wide array of organizations dedicated to helping small businesses.

The Center for an Urban Future is offering a series of panel discussions, “Scaling Up Small Businesses,” throughout New York City’s five boroughs. I had the pleasure of attending the first of these five events in January. The event featured a panel of Brooklyn-based entrepreneurs and small business professionals who examined the potential for small business growth. The entrepreneurs spoke about their experiences starting their own businesses and some of the obstacles they came across as they expanded. Attendees talked about their difficulties in trying to grow their businesses and provided suggestions on what small business development organizations can do to support struggling entrepreneurs.

The panel discussions focused on understanding the needs of small business owners so that those who provide services to them can devise ways to better address their issues related to growth. It’s challenging to identify specific solutions to the obstacles that keep small businesses from growing but programs such as “Scaling Up Small Businesses” are engaging in a necessary conversation.

For more information about the next panel session, please click the following link.

If you are an entrepreneur in NYC in need of free legal services, visit NELP online to learn more about our work.

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