The Small Business Services (SBS) organization offers a unique solution for entrepreneurs looking to start and grow their business. Interestingly enough, the New York SBS began under the Michael Bloomberg administration as the Republican mayor felt there was a place for government involvement for job creation and financial security.
The SBS functions under three pillars: 1) Investing in neighborhoods and commercial corridors 2) Helping businesses start, expand, and operate; and 3) Matching jobseekers with jobs.“
1) Investing in neighborhoods and commercial corridors
The SBS does a lot for neighborhood funding. Although not responsible for direct funding, the SBS facilitates funds towards private corporations and non-profit organizations that help spur economic growth and execute city services. The "SBS oversees 72 business improvement districts (BIDS)” in which “business owners voluntarily choose to tax themselves more to fund additional services. The city receives no part of the tax, instead sending it to an independent nonprofit that actually provides the services the business owners want.” The SBS also facilitates federal and local funding and “awards more than $1 million annually in federal Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) to organizations in low-to-moderate income areas to encourage economic development.”
2) Helping business start, expand, and operate
The SBS offers solutions to small businesses with 15 business centers across New York. About half are industrial and manufacturing focused, while others focus on all business industries. The SBS does not offer office space, but acts as a liaison, training, and development center for small businesses.
“Last year, we connected businesses to over $60 million in financing,” Gregg Bishop, Commissioner of SBS said, “and over half of that $60 million was through nonprofit lenders that can then provide assistance to the business owners.” These are loans, not VC funding, but the nonprofit lenders often provide additional financial expertise to small businesses to boost their chances of success.
3) Matching Jobseekers with Jobs
The SBS helps potential employees and corporations in a number of ways. First, the SBS can simply connect qualified applicants to employers. Next, if the SBS cannot find qualified applicants, they will develop training programs for potential employees. Corporations will then pay an addition fee to help cover training costs and hire the newly trained job seeker. Lastly, the SBS can connect with a businesses and manage the entire hiring process. "For example, for the opening of the Barclays Center in Atlantic Yards, SBS screened 30,000 resumes for the 1,500 available positions.”
The SBS’ focus on small business and jobseekers is the key to its success. In order to help the SBS grow, Bishop says the organization is now looking at how similar government run organizations in American cities are helping solve problems. The SBS will also offer an online portal which will help give it a digital base for potential clients.
For more information on the Small Business Services, check out the Forbes Article