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April 14, 2009

Velázquez Discusses Efforts to Help NYC Small Businesses Lead in the Green Economy

NEW YORK – Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY) today sat down with local businesses and community leaders to discuss ways for New York City to lead the nation in developing sustainable manufacturing and green jobs.  She also toured a number of environmentally-friendly businesses in Brooklyn’s Navy Yard development.  The Congresswoman’s district, which includes the Navy Yard, contains some of the most significant clusters of green manufacturers in the United States. 

“The efforts being spearheaded in Brooklyn show small businesses across the country the benefits of developing and using new technologies,” Velázquez said.  “These entrepreneurs are opening new businesses to manufacture green products, and have drastically cut their overhead costs by increasing energy efficiency.  This is a business model for the nation to follow.”

At today’s Green Manufacturers Business Roundtable, co-hosted by the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation and the New York Industrial Retention Network (NYIRN), Velázquez highlighted the assistance available for entrepreneurs to continue leading in the development of green products and technologies.  New York City is home to as many as 25,000 green collar jobs, but that number is projected to skyrocket in coming years.  The Navy Yard, where 30 businesses currently employ 350 people, expects to triple its green manufacturing operations in the next three years.

“New York City’s economy will benefit from the green revolution.  As other sectors scale back, these industries continue to grow and bring good-paying jobs to our communities,” Velázquez said. 

As Chairwoman of the House Small Business Committee, Velázquez worked to ensure the Energy Independence and Security Act signed into law last year included initiatives that give entrepreneurs the tools to acquire efficient technologies and increase renewable production.  This year, the Committee plans to reauthorize the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, which helps small firms get the capital needed to develop new, cutting-edge products.  The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act also helped business development by renewing green energy tax credits and making it easier for small businesses owners to obtain loans.  With small firms making up 84 percent of New York’s manufacturers, these efforts will help as they shift focus to environmentally-friendly products and technologies.   

“Small business owners face unprecedented challenges in today’s environment, but their ingenuity and determination is untouched.  By supporting efforts to bring sustainable manufacturing and green jobs to our City, we can help small firms pull the nation out of this economic downturn,” Velázquez said.