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May 21, 2009

U.S. House Votes to Strengthen New York City Small Businesses

Velázquez Hails Passage of Legislation During National Small Business Week

Washington, D.C. –Representative Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY), Chair of the Committee on Small Business, yesterday applauded the passage of the Job Creation Through Entrepreneurship Act of 2009 (H.R. 2352). The comprehensive legislation, approved during National Small Business Week, signals the first overhaul of the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) entrepreneurial development programs in a decade. It will give New York City’s 200,000 small business owners the resources needed to grow and, in turn, strengthen the local economy.

“In New York City, small firms create 3 out of every 4 new jobs. With the City’s unemployment rate on the rise, supporting small business is essential to strengthening our neighborhoods and putting New Yorkers back to work,” Velázquez said.

Across New York City’s five boroughs, there are seven Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) and five Women’s Business Centers (WBCs) that will receive increased resources to provide technical assistance and counseling services to local entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurial development programs have a history of helping small ventures prosper and last year alone helped create 73,000 jobs throughout the country. Working to further boost innovation and expansion, H.R. 2352 builds upon these resources by establishing the first nationwide network of Veteran’s Business Centers and targeting assistance to women business owners, including more than 505,000 in New York State.

“We often hear about the important role entrepreneurs play in neighborhood across the state. With the passage of H.R. 2352 we honor that role by ensuring New York’s small firms have the support and tools needed to succeed.” Velázquez said.

One of the most significant challenges facing small firms today is access to capital. A new program created under this legislation provides the counseling needed to secure affordable financing, including the $21 billion in new lending opportunities under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Directly addressing the current economic crisis this bill will also help out of work individuals start businesses, establish 24 hour hotlines for struggling entrepreneurs and expand access to assistance through a new online distance learning initiative.

“Right now it’s more important than ever to help our City’s entrepreneurs reach their full potential. Small firms didn’t create this economic downturn but with the tools needed, they can create the recovery. H.R. 2352 enables small business to lead the way towards getting our economy back on track.” Velazquez said.

The Job Creation Through Entrepreneurship Act of 2009 passed the House of Representatives with strong bipartisan support by a vote of 406 to 15. The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration.