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May 12, 2009

Velázquez Hosts Small Business Workshop

Event Helps NYC Entrepreneurs Tap Stimulus Programs

NEW YORK – Last night, Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY) held a workshop in downtown Brooklyn to help New York City small businesses gain information about assistance included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, as well as new federal contracting opportunities.  As Chairwoman of the House Small Business Committee, Velázquez worked to ensure the sweeping economic legislation signed into law in February included lending initiatives and tax benefits to help entrepreneurs keep their businesses up and running.

“The entrepreneurial spirit runs deep in New York City, from the artisans carrying on a centuries-old craft to the innovative manufacturers leading the new green economy,” Velázquez said.  “The Recovery Act will help ensure our City’s small businesses not only stay afloat, but begin to lead us out of this economic downturn.”

Officials from the Small Business Administration (SBA) and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) joined lenders and business development experts to educate local entrepreneurs about the resources available to help them expand their businesses.  The Recovery Act includes a number of provisions expected to generate $21 billion in new lending and investment for small firms.  For entrepreneurs in need of an immediate cash injection, a new, interest-free loan of $35,000 is available and fees have been eliminated on other SBA-backed loans.  In the months since the Recovery Act was enacted, the volume of new SBA-backed loans has risen more than 20 percent and $1.3 billion in loans have been approved.  This is a positive sign for businesses impacted by tightened lending practices.

“I’ve heard first hand from New York small business owners who are trying to secure loans they need to start-up or expand their operations.  The Recovery Act is helping to create new credit opportunities for entrepreneurs, and we have already begun to see a shift in the right direction,” said Rep. Velázquez. 

The Act provides $15 billion in tax relief to help put more money back in the pockets of entrepreneurs.  Due to the many infrastructure projects funded in the Recovery Act, government contracting will become more active than ever and create opportunities for small businesses. Participants at the forum gained information on how to tap into the $500 billion federal marketplace and benefit from other Recovery Act provisions.   In New York City, where small firms create 3 out of every 4 new jobs, entrepreneurial growth is needed to put the overall economy back on track.  

“This small business workshop brought together government officials and financial experts to show local entrepreneurs how they can take advantage of opportunities out there,” Velázquez said.  “I will continue working to help our City’s small business owners, the hard-working people that create jobs and drive innovation.”