BY BENJAMIN FANG
Business and health care intersected at the Queens Chamber of Commerce’s Health and Business Summit at the Medical Society of Queens in Forest Hills on November 16.
The event featured a panel of experts who discussed programs and resources available at the federal and state level for business owners.
Susan Browning, executive director of Long Island Jewish (LIJ) Forest Hills, also co-chairs the chamber’s Health and Wellness Committee, which first met on July 13.
“It was at that meeting that the vision for this morning was born,” she said. “We’ve been working on this for quite a few months.”
Jennifer Jackson, an economic development specialist with the Small Business Administration (SBA), talked about the services to help companies start, grow and expand. One of their functions is to provide access to capital and loans.
Last year alone, SBA guaranteed $30 billion in loans. In New York City alone, the agency guaranteed $1 billion. Jackson said SBA leads the nation in small loans under $50,000.
“Sometimes those are the loans that are hardest to get,” she said. “That’s the difference between someone being able to open the doors to their deli or not.”
SBA also offers loans to homeowners and renters and disaster relief loans, such as in the aftermath of the hurricanes in Puerto Rico, Texas or Florida. The maximum interest rate for disaster loans is 4 percent.
The federal agency also provides grants for research and development projects to help small businesses develop new technologies. Starting with $150,000 to examine feasibility for an idea all the way to up $1 million in federal funding, SBA does everything from micro-loans to investment capital.
Jackson said it’s important to know what resources are available to small businesses so they can take advantage of them.
“You won’t know unless you ask or reach out,” she said.