BY THOMAS GRECH
PRESIDENT & CEO, QUEENS CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
Small business is the lifeblood of New York City, and Queens in particular. It is important to note that, while we seek and depend on all businesses to support us via membership at the Queens Chamber, fully 60 percent of our membership are small businesses with 50 or fewer employees.
As such, the Queens Chamber recognizes the challenges facing our small business owners and is committed to aiding them in any way we can.
The Queens Chambers’ outreach to small businesses is a major tenet of our advocacy, and one of the ways we do this is through our “Chamber-on-the-Go” program. This NYC Small Business Service-managed, New York City Council discretionary -funded initiative is designed to deliver on-the-ground services targeting “mom-and-pop” small businesses in commercial sectors within the borough.
The Queens Chamber staff reaches out to these businesses to assess their needs, deliver services, and refer them for assistance. This is accomplished by conducting small business events, workshops and forums, as well as door-to-door canvasing of targeted commercial corridors to inform the owners of available business-related services. We also make sure businesses are aware of all services and incentives offered by Small Business Services (SBS).
During the 2017-2018 year thus far, we have reached and served 149 businesses. We were able to go to new areas for our outreach, and have served many at numerous events throughout the borough. In July, we translated the survey into Korean, and managed to serve and reach several Korean businesses in the area.
In August we reached new areas in Queens. During the month of October, almost half of all the outreach work took place in events held in different neighborhoods, including Corona, Elmhurst, Long Island City, Jamaica Estates, Jackson Heights and Whitestone. In November, we canvased new areas, such as Far Rockaway and Springfield Gardens. We completed a total of 48 surveys: six in Chinese and two in Spanish.
In addition to Chamber on the Go, our small business outreach includes working with Business Improvement Districts (BIDs), Merchant on the Go programs, and hosting networking events and academic programs.
The Queens Chamber of Commerce helps businesses improve their day-to-day efficiency and identify ways to strengthen their operations. We also act as the liaison between businesses and elected officials.