Citi’s partnership with NYC Department of Small Business

Relationship spans Small Business Assistance Grant program and Neighborhood Achievement Awards

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With over 600 commercial corridors and 300 vibrant neighborhoods, New York City is a city of neighborhoods, each offering their own unique small town feel. You can go to Washington Heights in Manhattan to enjoy Dominican dining and culture; visit Calle de Colombia, more commonly known as 82nd Street in Jackson Heights, Queens; or soak in the rugged shoreline feeling of Van Brunt Street and Pier 41 in Red Hook, Brooklyn. With unique character, comes unique challenges, and the New York City Department of Small Business Services (SBS) is responsible for strengthening New York City's commercial corridors by supporting small businesses and entrepreneurs, as well as neighborhood leaders in all five boroughs. We do this primarily through our network of 67 Business Improvement Districts, and our NYC Business Solutions Centers. But we can't do it alone, and public/private partners like Citi are invaluable in helping us achieve our goals.

With contributions from Citi Community Development and other private funders, we recently announced a Small Business Assistance Grant program that offers up to $5,000 to small businesses impacted by Superstorm Sandy. These grants will give small businesses a badly needed lift -by replacing a fallen awning, repairing a freezer, or buying a new mixer-- to help them get back on their feet.

Our partnership with Citi goes well beyond disaster relief and response. Every year, with Citi's support, we hold the Neighborhood Achievement Awards, a celebration at Gracie Mansion to recognize the small businesses, entrepreneurs, and neighborhood leaders that serve as the City's economic engine. There are more than 200,000 small businesses in New York City that employ more than half of the City's private workforce, and once a year we shine a special spotlight on them.

Not all businesses are ready for the spotlight, and some need extra help. Our NYC Business Solutions Centers located in all five boroughs provide free services including business courses, financial assistance, recruitment services, pro-bono legal assistance, and more. Citi has been a committed supporter of these Centers.

This month through our NYC Business Solutions Centers and in partnership with Citi Community Development we are launching courses with the NYC Small Business Technology Coalition to help small businesses in low-to-moderate income (LMI) communities learn more about technology and how it can help their business compete and grow in today's increasingly digital age. Citi has helped strengthen the staff capacity at NYC Business Solutions Centers by providing funding for financial specialists that can better connect small businesses with financing opportunities. In fact, this partnership inspired the Bank Advisory Council, which since 2011 has brought ten banks into one room, collaborating to better help small businesses access financing and other support services. In total in 2012, NYC Business Solutions successfully connected more than 500 businesses to loans totaling more than $56 million. Citi has also been an active partner in our Corporate Alliance Program, helping connect minority and women-owned businesses (M/WBE) to Citi contracting opportunities, and Citi executives volunteered their time to provide 6-8 months of one-on-one coaching to a management consulting firm, an architecture & design firm and a limousine company. Citi employees have also served as guest lecturers for our Strategic Steps for Growth program, a nine-month management training program for minority and women business owners. To date, 41 graduates have collectively secured over $24 million in new government contracts, over $1.6 million in new financing, and created over 100 new jobs.

Citi's investment in New York City neighborhoods and small businesses has been a big boost, and I look forward to achieving even more together.