Governor Kathy Hochul today along with Empire State Development, Department of Labor, Taxation and Finance, and Agriculture and Markets encouraged all New Yorkers to shop safely while supporting their local small businesses on Small Business Saturday, tomorrow, November 27, 2021. New York’s small businesses generate millions of jobs throughout the state and by choosing to shop locally this Saturday, and every day, New Yorkers are investing in their neighborhoods, strengthening their communities, and keeping tax dollars within New York State.
“I helped my mom start a flower shop and know just how much hard work it takes to get a small business off the ground. As small businesses recover from the economic toll of the pandemic, many are counting on sales generated during the holiday season to make their profits and stay afloat,” Governor Hochul said. “So let’s all lend a hand by shopping locally at small businesses in our communities on Small Business Saturday and throughout the holiday season.”
Empire State Development Acting Commissioner and President & CEO-designate Hope Knight said, “Every time you head to your neighborhood coffee shop or restaurant or visit that corner store and pick up something that catches your eye, you are supporting a local small business. Small businesses are the fabric of our communities and when they thrive, we all thrive. ESD has continued to offer support to our small and micro businesses during the pandemic through many programs, but we cannot do it alone—the support of everyday customers is integral, and we encourage New Yorkers to shop your local small businesses this Saturday, and every day.”
State Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon said, “Small businesses are the heartbeat of New York’s economy. By supporting them this Small Business Saturday, we are supporting jobs, strengthening communities, and maintaining economic vitality across New York State, which is critical now more than ever as we continue to navigate our way through the COVID-19 pandemic. I encourage New Yorkers to join me in showing love to our local small businesses year-round.”
Department of Taxation and Finance Acting Commissioner Amanda Hiller said, “Small businesses were hit especially hard at the onset of the pandemic. To help them recover and thrive, we encourage all New Yorkers to shop small, not only this weekend but throughout the year. We also urge small businesses to explore the tax credits and incentives New York offers to businesses in local communities across the state.”
State Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “We are proud to support our agricultural industry through our various marketing, promotion, and grant programs. New York has an incredible farming and small food business community that work hard to bring food to the tables of New Yorkers year-round, and to craft unique and special items that make perfect holiday gifts. I encourage everyone to support their local farmer and food and beverage producer and shop local this year.”
The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets supports New York’s over 33,000 farms, 700 farmers markets and farm stands and thousands of small agribusinesses across the State through its various programs. In addition to administering the Nourish New York and Restaurant Resiliency Program, the NYS Grown & Certified program markets local growers and producers participating in safe food handling and environmental sustainability programs, helping them better compete in the marketplace. The Taste NY program showcases New York food and beverage businesses at large public events, and at Taste NY stores, the State’s Welcome Centers, displays and concessions at more than 70 locations across New York. This year, Taste NY stores and markets will feature New York State grown Christmas trees and offer handmade gift baskets for the holiday season, helping to promote and boost business for New York’s farmers and producers. Shoppers can also buy a variety of Taste NY gift baskets online at www.ShopTasteNY.com. Find more information here and here. In addition, the Department’s Divisions assist small agri-businesses and farmers by providing a variety of support services that enhance their business, increasing productivity, profitability and competitiveness.
New York State’s Support for Small Business During the COVID-19 Pandemic
While New York State can provide assistance through an array of programs and initiatives designed to support small business growth and help entrepreneurs maximize their opportunities for success, we have created several programs to help small businesses navigate through the COVID-19 crisis, including:
- The New York State COVID-19 Pandemic Small Business Recovery Grant Program– The New York State COVID-19 Pandemic Small Business Recovery Grant Program was created to provide flexible grant assistance to currently viable small businesses, micro-businesses and for-profit independent arts and cultural organizations in the State of New York who have experienced economic hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The Restaurant Resiliency Program – Building on the successful Nourish New York initiative, the Restaurant Resiliency Program sets aside $25 million to provide grants to restaurants that offer meals and other food-related items to New Yorkers within distressed or underrepresented communities. The list of Restaurant Resiliency Program Awards is available below. The Restaurant Resiliency Program will partner with New York’s network of food banks and emergency food providers to purchase prepared meals from New York restaurants and deliver them to families in need.
- The $25 million Meet in New York Grant Program– The goal of the $25 million Meet in New York Grant Program is to help support the return of conferences, meetings and trade shows that generate significant tourism economic activity through overnight stays, dining and other tourism activities. More information on qualifying businesses and events can be found here.
The Pandemic Small Business Recovery Grant Program has been extremely successful thus far, with over $363 million awarded to support over 21,000 small and micro-businesses across New York State. More than 20,600 awardees were businesses with ten or fewer employees, 83% of grantees were minority and women-owned business enterprises, and the average grant funded has been nearly $17,000.
To further New York State’s commitment to small businesses, Governor Hochulannounced plans to introduce legislation in January 2022 at the start of New York State’s legislative session to create a $200 million program designed to support businesses started just prior to or during the pandemic. This forward-looking initiative would utilize existing funding in the state’s $800 million COVID-19 Pandemic Small Business Recovery Grant Program to support younger businesses that were otherwise ineligible for relief through existing state and federal programs to ensure greater inclusivity among small and micro-businesses.
Empire State Development’s Division of Small Business & Technology Development supports the development and expansion of businesses with under 100 employees by directing an array of programs and initiatives, such as access to capital, entrepreneur development, and commercialization and technology assistance to support small business growth and help entrepreneurs maximize opportunities for success.
The New York Forward Loan Fund, an early lifeline to small businesses during the pandemic, is one of the most collaborative and large-scale programs to provide access to small businesses. It provides flexible and affordable credit to the smallest businesses through a network of New York State based CDFI lenders and partners – and the results to date are exciting and encouraging. This model is now being replicated across the country as a way to provide a holistic resource to the community finance industry to meet the enormous demand in the market. The New York Forward Loan Fund funded $86.6 million in loans to more than 1,500 businesses state-wide, nearly two-thirds to minority and women-owned businesses, through one of the toughest periods in New York’s history.
The New York State Department of Labor offers a multitude of no-cost services for businesses of all sizes, including more than 220,000 job postings on the NYSDOL website, access to tens of thousands of qualified candidates in our talent pool, career fairs and customized recruitments, and Human Resources consultation services. More than 24,000 businesses each year work with the Department of Labor to list their jobs, find the right candidates, access hiring and training incentives, obtain business tax credits and incentives, get help with one-on-one labor law and safety and health compliance services, and find layoff aversion resources. For more information, visit: https://www.labor.ny.gov/business.
New York State offers dozens of tax credits and incentives to help small business owners and entrepreneurs make a beneficial impact in their local communities. Small businesses can access a variety of resources and programs anytime at the Tax Department’s dedicated Business incentives webpage. This is a one-stop shop for details about tax credits and incentives for a variety of enterprises in various industries—from farming and agriculture to research and development to manufacturing.
Businesses may also qualify for job credits and incentives for hiring and training local workers, or for tax credits and exemptions intended to encourage property improvements. The Tax Department’s website, www.tax.ny.gov, offers businesses and their representatives a convenient way to meet their tax obligations. The Online Services for businesses webpage provides efficient ways to make payments, view filing information, or otherwise interact with the Tax Department.
How to Support Small Businesses During COVID-19
- Purchase gift cards – Most small businesses, from your favorite restaurant, bar or coffee shop, your neighborhood specialty retailer, or your local hair salon, offer gift cards or gift certificates. By purchasing gift cards, it will inject needed investment into these businesses well past the holiday season.
- Order take-out or delivery from your local bar or restaurant – Don’t forget to tip well. Restaurant workers have been among the hardest hit by the pandemic. Many restaurants are offering curbside delivery.
- Shop online – If your favorite local business has a web presence, shop online to avoid crowds. Many businesses will ship or offer curbside delivery.
- Give positive reviews – If you have found a great product, meal, or service or even a great promotion or sale, let your friends and family know. Don’t forget to leave a great review on your social media feed. The best advertising is word-of-mouth.
- If you have to make a return, take a store credit over a refund – If you can. This keeps the money within the small business and every little bit helps.