Our Plan to Support Small Businesses

As your City Council Member, I will fight alongside the residents of District 11 to ensure that our small businesses are not left to fend for themselves:
  • Ensure that relief funds reach the small businesses that need it most.
  • Create a task force to address racial disparities, technology gaps, and issues of language access for small businesses.
  • Organize District 11’s local small business organizations into a streamlined network for aid, resources, and job opportunities.
  • Support the expansion of our Business Improvement Districts.

Read more below...

The Issues:

Living through COVID-19 in the Northwest Bronx, I see every day how the pandemic is devastating our small businesses: the backbone of our district’s heart and soul. Our small businesses foster our neighborhood character. They employ our residents, offer services to our community, and build and keep wealth in our district by creating employment and entrepreneurship opportunities. Yet decreased pedestrian traffic, mandated closures, reduced operating capacity, and inability to pay the bills and rent have wreaked havoc on our commercial districts.

 

Despite the enormous value our small businesses give us, I saw how little our city gave them when they needed us the most. The Bronx has been disproportionately hit by COVID-19, yet our businesses received less than 1% of New York City’s share of federal loans. The inequitable disbursement of such aid when our businesses are in dire need has further undermined our community. This pandemic is not only a health crisis, but an economic crisis for District 11, and the Bronx.

When federal loans and grants were awarded to small business owners, Bronx businesses were left forgotten. Roughly half of our business districts are vacant, closed by COVID, and still little to no support is being offered to our small businesses. The pandemic exposed pre-existing holes and disinvestment in The Bronx as access to technology, IT aid, language access, and a unified support network failed to help businesses face the challenges before them. 

We know that healthy commercial districts are directly linked to community health and lower rates of unemployment. We now have a critical moment to support our small business owners and help to rebuild our business districts carefully, with intention and equity. Small businesses are the lifeblood of our city, and I am dedicated to give them the foundation they need to exert their resilience through the current economic crisis and beyond.

 

Our Solutions:

Every business deserves the support needed to survive this crisis.

 

As your City Council Member, I will fight alongside the residents of District 11 to ensure that our small businesses are not left to fend for themselves.

 

I will give our commercial districts the tools they need to recover and rebuild throughout and after COVID-19. We will rebuild better, investing back into our local economy with the focus and care our small businesses have long deserved. We will reduce small business closures and rising vacancy rates in District 11 by addressing inequity in financial and technical support. Specifically, I will:

Ensure that relief funds reach the small businesses that need it most

I am encouraged that the FY22 New York State budget includes $1 billion in small business recovery funds. I will work with other city and state officials to ensure that small businesses in The Bronx get a fair and equitable share of funds.

 

Create a task force to address racial disparities, technology gaps, and issues of language access for small businesses.

I will have people on the ground to do business outreach and support, helping small business owners navigate resources available to them while offering technology support, business advice, and connecting those in need to translation services.

 

Organize District 11’s local small business organizations into a streamlined network. 

We will create a stronger coalition dedicated to highlighting pathways to entrepreneurship, aid and resources available to small businesses, and local job opportunities in small businesses for our residents.

Support the expansion of our Business Improvement Districts (BIDS).

Call for better physical infrastructure and funding for cleaning services for BIDs throughout the district.

Advocate for policies that make it easier for small businesses to survive and thrive.

This includes passing the Small Business Jobs Survival Act and the Commercial Vacancy Tax Bill, while expanding the cure period after inspection failures and the ability for small businesses to conduct their business outside throughout the pandemic and then re-assess once the pandemic is over.

Abigail Martin for City Council

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