Community Partner Highlight: David Meade, Executive Director and Mary Kuhn, Business Development Manager at SBIDC
1. How long has Southwest Brooklyn Industrial Development Corporation been in the business of helping small businesses?
Southwest Brooklyn Industrial Development Corporation has been serving businesses in the neighborhoods of Sunset Park, Red Hook, and Gowanus for over 35 years. Our mission has always been to grow the local workforce and assist small businesses.
We have three primary areas that our organization is involved in. The first is Business Services. If a company is looking to expand, grow their workforce, relocate, or purchase machinery there are a series of financing products, incentives, and different energy related programs that the business may be eligible for. We will meet with them and walk them through the processes. These resources help the businesses save money and become more competitive.
In addition to that, SBIDC runs an in-house workforce program. As we work with businesses, we're usually the first to know if they're looking to hire and we run a matchmaking service program to help these businesses find employees. We do screenings twice a month with people that live in the community and work to set them up with these job opportunities.
We also have a revitalization and planning program which advocates for small businesses and makes sure they have a voice at the table. We aim to bring awareness to changes in legislation, zoning, and permitting issues and work on behalf of these businesses to meet their needs and assure that their issues are addressed.
2. What's been your organization's biggest hurdle in achieving its goals of aiding small businesses?
The regulatory process in NYC can be daunting for small business owners at times. Small business owners are navigating through many different tasks at once and can often get caught up in regulatory hurdles, permit issues and issues relating to infrastructure are often concerns for them.
We work in neighborhoods that are continuously changing and it is our role to make sure we are advocating for small businesses. Whether it's residential or commercial interests, renters, or owners, we are here to make sure all concerns of small business concerns are heard and addressed. We must continue to stress how important small businesses and the jobs they create are to the neighborhoods we work in.
3. Describe any major accomplishments for your organization over the last year.
Our recovery work surrounding Hurricane Sandy has been one of our biggest challenges and also one of our biggest accomplishments. We were able to immediately help after the storm by being part of a coalition that organized over 1,000 volunteers to help businesses and residents in Red Hook clean up. This quickly transitioned to our one-on-one work with small businesses on a series of disaster assistance and recovery programs.
4. What are the key strategic goals for your organization over the next year?
Our goal is to grow our capacity internally. We’re looking to grow our staff to support the functions of the Business Development team and grow some of our additional business service projects, such as procurement.
5. What should a small business entrepreneur know about your organization?
We are a non-profit organization that exists to help businesses. We truly are a neighborhood economic development organization, with offices located in industrial part of Sunset Park and on Van Brunt Street in Red Hook. We’re a professional and approachable group that has knowledge about a variety of programs to assist small businesses.
6. Where can they get more information about SBIDC?
Online at www.sbidc.org
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Follow us our Twitter @SWBrooklyn
Sign up for our bi-monthly newsletter via our website.
7. Describe your partnership with NYBDC and why it is instrumental to your organization achieving its mission.
NYBDC has always been an excellent resource and a great partner to our organization. They administer great small business programs and we have worked with them to help businesses access the 504 and 7(a) loan programs. Their new initiative, the NYC Food Manufacturers Growth Fund, is a loan fund that we’re really interested in as well.