Immigrant business owners are getting local helping hands to help them thrive in their communities.
Five community-based partners were chosen on Oct. 20 to participate in the Department of Small Business Services’ (SBS) Immigrant Business Initiative, in partnership with Citi Community Development, which was initially announced in May and will provide free business services to immigrant business owners.
“Immigrant entrepreneurs are vital to the city’s identity and economy, opening businesses that create jobs and bring great diversity and energy to our most dynamic communities,” said SBS Commissioner Marie Torres-Springer.
The community partners will provide free business courses, one-on-one counseling and community-based outreach in five languages: Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Haitian-Creole and Russian. Each organization will partner with SBS and also help owners get in touch with existing services throughout the city.
“We have been able to have a great relationship with SBS and this will be able to take us to a new level and combine our roots and expertise in the neighborhood with so many other resources that SBS could offer,” said Nick Petrie, small business organizer at Make The Road NY.
Flora Vizuete, a Colombian immigrant living in Corona who is working on launching her business called Flower’s Cleaning Service, recently received help from SBS to register her company and set up a bank account.
Through getting direct help from the Business Outreach Center Network, Vizuete said she feels like everything is heading in the right direction for her business.
“It’s much easier [with their help], especially because to start you don’t know where to go. Sometimes you don’t know what to do because you are overwhelmed,” Vizuete said. “And when I went there they helped me out a lot. So far I’ve been having good luck because there are people there helping you and guiding you.”
Vizuete also added that she thinks the service will help others who are in the same situation.
“It’s going to be helpful for people because sometimes you don’t know where to find things, and so far for me it’s going [well],” Vizuete said. “And if anyone would ask me I would definitely recommend it to them.”
For more information on the services provided by the Immigrant Business Initiative, visit www.nyc.gov/immigrantbusinesses or call 311.