Above: Jacqueline Donado with the Chamber On-The-Go team in Far Rockaway.
BY JACQUELINE DONADO
The Queens Chamber of Commerce participates in Chamber On-the-Go, a program run by the Department of Small Business Services (SBS). For those unfamiliar, Chamber On-the-Go is a mobile business support program that helps New York City small business owners access free services without leaving the storefront. The goal is to reach business owners in many underserved communities.
During an on-site visit, our trained staff do the following:
• Conduct a snapshot assessment of your business strengths and needs.
• Connect you with free resources from SBS, Chambers of Commerce, and local organizations to help your business thrive.
• Provide immediate business support and make appointments for future services.
• Answer questions and collect feedback on the challenges and opportunities facing your specific business community.
During 2017 and 2018, the Chamber of Commerce reached 2384 and served 312 businesses. We were able to target new areas for our outreach efforts and collect surveys at numerous events throughout the borough. During the second quarter, most of the outreach took place in Astoria, Corona, Elmhurst, Far Rockaway, Flushing, Forest Hills, Hollis, Jamaica, Jamaica Estates, Jackson Heights, Long Island City, Rego Park, and Whitestone.
In December, we served Far Rockaway with the help of a new unit provided by SBS. The outreach team focused on local businesses from Beach 18th Street to Beach Channel Drrive and along Mott Avenue in areas represented by Councilman Donovan Richards, who provided most of the funding for the initiative. Business surveys are now translated into Chinese, Korean and Spanish, with the help of Chamber of Commerce interns. We are also implementing the Commercial Lease and Legal Assistance Program after recognizing a need in the business community.
We are very proud of this program, which is accessing the most underserved communities in Queens. Working so intimately in these diverse communities, you really get to see the needs and concerns of the business owners and residents.
Jacqueline Donado is Strategic Program Coordinator for the Chamber of Commerce.