Community Partner Highlight: Miquela Craytor, Vice President and Director of NYC Industrial and Income Mobility Initiatives
1. How long has NYCEDC been in the business of helping small businesses?
"NYCEDC was founded in 1966 under the name "The New York City Public Development Corporation" and has since evolved into NYCEDC. NYCEDC is a non profit corporation that promotes growth across New York City's five boroughs. We have been serving on behalf of whoever is in the Mayoral position, as his or her economic arm and acting on their behalf. As part of the industrial sector, our main purpose initially and still a strong purpose of our activity today, is to administer and manage a number of city owned properties, many of whom are being filled with industrial tech companies that are making, distributing or transporting goods out of their facility. We own a number of properties across the five boroughs. We also manage a number of ports and waterfront properties and also serve a strong function in selling and leasing property on behalf of the City."
2. What has been your organization biggest hurdle in achieving its goal of aiding small businesses?
"One of the challenges we face is that we are large. We have many different components and divisions. Depending on who a person or a business reaches out to, they may not be aware of other portions of our work and part of that is just the nature of having such a large entity - we are basically a little over 400 people- so when you have a business of that kind it can mean that you can easily get lost. Essentially, the one thing that we do really well is that when businesses do reach out to a person within our organization who's trying to provide help, while they may have not reached out to the right person initially, there is interest to ensure that the business is served with the right answer or the right resource. There is a culture here that is very interested in making sure people get answers."
3. Describe any major accomplishments for your organization over the last year.
"For the Industrial sector that I am part of, one of our major accomplishments has been the start of the NYC Food Manufacturers Growth Fund, which launched in January 2013. This is one of our 22 industrial initiatives that we have made a commitment to accomplish. The NYC Food Manufacturers Growth Fund, in partnership with NYBDC and Goldman Sachs, is a $10 million fund that is geared toward food manufacturers. To be able to get that up and running is a big milestone."
"Earlier this year, we completed our first round of our Industrial Initiative Growth program and that program started out as part of one of our industrial growth initiatives. This particular program was really about how to help existing industrial firms grow. We had an 8 session series where eleven companies got the support and technical assistance needed to help think through the challenges that are inhibiting their business grow and how to overcome them. All eleven companies were successful in putting together growth plans and we were able to award the top 3 plans with $50,000 each to help implement this growth. I'm so proud of the business owners from the 11 teams that wrote those plans and now have a plan of action going forward."
4. What are the key strategic goals for your organization over the next year?
"Our key strategic goals stem from the work we've begun in 2011, which is when we created our latest series of initiatives to help the industrial community. We've outlined 3 key issue areas: real estate challenges for industrial firms, financial resources being challenged in the sense that companies aren't finding them and the ability to navigate government. We have begun to implement all 22 of our strategies to start to address those key issue areas."
"The next piece is building off of that foundation to tackle the next round of goals we're aiming to accomplish. The first strategic focus for the Industrial department is to find better methods to help businesses grow and find the right level of industrial property. One of the biggest challenges we hear companies face is not being able to find the right type of industrial property. One of our goals is to determine the best policy or program to solve the mismatch between what's available on the real estate market versus what businesses need."
"The second piece is really focused on financing. Many companies want to grow and they need the resources to do so. Essentially, they need a plan to help get those resources. We are looking to provide additional training programs where we can help companies put together plans of action for growth and provide clarity on what the resources they need to accomplish that growth. We are aiming to expand the growth we have already achieved to wider audiences across the City."
5. What should a small business entrepreneur know about your organization?
"They should know that we are here to serve them and help their businesses grow. We will try to find the right person with the answer and we want to give them all the correct information in order to be equipped with the ability to make the right decision for their business."
6. Where can they Get more information about NYCEDC?
7. Describe your partnership with NYBDC and why it is instrumental to your organization achieving its mission?
"Our relationship with NYBDC goes far beyond the work that I've been a part of. They've been instrumental in helping us launch the NYC Food Manufacturers Growth Fund. The relationship that was established when both organizations were helping to prepare the fund really led us to know NYBDC on a deeper level, so that we were comfortable working with them when Superstorm Sandy hit. NYBDC really rose to the job in terms of being a willing partner on the emergency loan program."
"Prior to that, NYBDC has always been a part of our network of groups to send businesses to when they're seeking financing, but over the last several years we have had the opportunity to work even more directly with them through the Sandy Emergency Loan Fund, NYC Food Manufacturers Growth Fund and the Capital Access program. They've been a great partner and ally to help all businesses in New York City."