Community Partner Highlight: Kelvin Collins, Executive Director at NYC Business Solutions
1. How long has NYC Business Solutions been in the business of helping small businesses?
"NYC Business Solutions was launched in 2005 as part of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s commitment to serving small businesses. Our services are offered through the Department of Small Business Services, and our mission is to help businesses start, operate and expand across New York City. There are seven NYC Business Solutions Centers and eight Industrial Providers that deliver services, that include financing, business education, recruitment, training, legal assistance, incentives, navigation government and M/WBE certification. In total, there are fifteen physical access points where businesses can receive NYC Business Solutions assistance across New York City."
2. What’s been your organization’s biggest hurdle in achieving its goals of aiding small businesses?
"There are approximately 200,000 small businesses across New York City. Our commitment is to design a scalable solution that can be a resource to businesses at the right points in time. We are continuing to strengthen our offerings, but the challenge remains that many businesses are unaware of this high quality service that exist from city government. We need to get the word out to more businesses that can benefit from what we do."
3. Describe any major accomplishments for your organization over the last year.
"In terms of our market penetration, last year over 10,000 customers were served through the NYC Business Solutions with over 15,000 instances of service."
"One of our most demanded services is business education. We were able to equip over 4,400 business owners with skills and knowledge through our business education courses, which include QuickBooks, website fundamentals and mastering marketing."
"One of our most significant accomplishments last year was our ability to connect small businesses with capital. With partners like NYBDC and others, we were able to help over 600 customer’s access over 650 financing awards in the amount of over 63 million dollars in capital."
4. What are the key strategic goals for your organization over the next year?
"Of the many goals that we have set for the year, there are three that we’ve identified as key to our success."
"Firstly, we would like to provide greater access to services by leveraging online platforms. This would include the availability of online courses and the ability to interact with our customers in real time."
"Secondly, we would enhance our offering to two key customer segments – the immigrant small business owners and the Low-to-Moderate-Income businesses."
"Lastly, we will strive to ensure that more businesses gain access to capital to grow and ultimately create local jobs."
5. What should a small business entrepreneur know about your organization?
"We want businesses to know that if they’re looking for help, through NYC Business Solutions, we have a team of professional experts dedicated to each and every one of them from start-ups to well-seasoned businesses. Our message to small businesses is that we are here to help them succeed. Their business is our purpose."
"Prior to the launch of NYC Business Solutions, small businesses did not know where to turn for assistance. Today, we are redefining the role of NYC government in the entrepreneurship ecosystem."
6. Where can they get more information about NYC Business Solutions?
7. Describe your partnership with NYBDC and why it is instrumental to your organization achieving its mission.
"We hear it loud and clear from entrepreneurs that access to capital is critical to launching and scaling a small business. Our role at NYC Business Solutions is to create access to that capital for a small business. NYBDC has over the years, done an incredible job in achieving this and has been a strong partner to NYC Business Solutions. The organization has great leadership and an amazing team that understands the needs of small businesses from a capital perspective. Our missions aligned very well and so it was a natural fit for us to partner with an organization like NYBDC that is innovative, results driven, and is committed to the growth of New York City’s economy."