There are many free services available to NYC small businesses, as highlighted in a recent BBC editorial written by the Commissioner for the New York City Department of Small Business Services. In addition to NYC Business Solutions and NYC Business Express, New York City startup founders can also get free counselling and grant money through the Empire State Development Corp. which runs the Entrepreneurial Assistance Program. Here's an overview of the city and state assistance available for founders of New York startups.
NYC Business Express, a free service of the New York City Department of Small Business Services, is a website that is designed to simplify the process of creating a New York City business. The website is a one-stop resource that provides entrepreneurs with information about how to open and operate a business. Entrepreneurs can apply for permits and licenses online. They can also use the site to check on the status of their applications.
The EasyStart section of the NYC Business Express Website provides potential entrepreneurs with a list of typical startup scenarios. Entrepreneurs can use these scenarios to figure out what licenses they will need to operate their business in New York City. Once you select the type of business you plan on starting, the Requirements Wizard will show you the regulations for your business and how to comply with them. The regulations cover things like recycling, fire extinguishers, and making sure your office complies with the Smoke Free Air Act. The Wizard also tells you what city and federal taxes you need to file.
While NYC Business Express is a way to get an idea of the regulations your business needs to follow, it is not designed to be a substitute for legal advice. Additional information can be provided by calling 311 or through the services of New York Business Solutions (see information below).
NYC Business Solutions offers free services to small business owners through the New York City Department of Small Business Services. These services are designed to help NYC entrepreneurs create, run, and, grow their businesses in New York City. There are seven NYC Business Solutions centers throughout NYC's five boroughs. NYC Business Solutions' services to people founding new businesses include help getting loans, legal counsel for leases and contracts, and, counselling about how to troubleshoot potential challenges with licenses and permit applications.
Empire State Development Corp. is the primary economic development agency for the state of New York. They offer loans, grants, tax credits, and other forms of financial assistance to New York small businesses.
Co-headquartered in Albany, Buffalo, and New York City, Empire State Development Corp. has additional locations throughout New York state. Each location serves as a one-stop center where small business owners can have their business plans analyzed and get the resources they need in order to establish or expand their company.
Empire State Development Corp. runs the Entrepreneurial Assistance Program (EAP), which operates Entrepreneurial Assistance Centers in local communities throughout New York State. These centers services to new or potential small business owners including:
- Guidance on the feasibility of starting your business
- Help in refining a business concept and creating a business plan
- Education about established management principles and practices
- Help with exporting, contract procurement, and licensing
- Personal counselling to teach you how to identify and assess capital and credit
- Entry into business support networks
- Technical assistance for EAP graduates including access to other small business services
Small businesses can apply for grants through the NYS Consolidated Funding Application (CFA). The CFA streamlines the grant application process so that small business owners can use the same form to apply for multiple programs such as:
- Empire State Development Grant Funds ($174 million)
- Excelsior Jobs Tax Credits ($70 million)
- Regional Tourism Marketing Grant Initiative ($3 million)
- Industrial Development Bond Cap ($350 million)
- Environmental Investment Program ($1 million)
Want to learn more about the CFA program before you apply? CFA workshops are held throughout New York State in order to teach potential applicants about the CFA process.