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Bronx Chamber and the City Love Local

Bronx Chamber Board member Rob Walsh (left), and Chamber President Lisa Sorin talk with Mon Amour proprietor Jeffrey Garcia about his expansion plans (photo: Gary Axelbank)

By Gary Axelbank

January 23, 2019

Not happy that the previous round of twenty Love Your Local grants doled out by the City included only one Bronx business recipient, the Bronx Chamber of Commerce decided to take action. On Tuesday Bronx Chamber President Lisa Sorin and Board member Rob Walsh, a 1010 WINS host, former NYC Small Business Services Commissioner, and now Special Adviser to the Manhattan College President, gathered a group together on W. 238th Street to adress the borough’s business opprtunity shortfall.

“The fact that the city had only one business from the Bronx out of 20 was embarrassing and we could do more,” Walsh told thisistheBronX as the mid-morning event concluded at the popular Mon Amour cafe. “You often have small businesses who see a government program and they say ‘it’s going to be bureaucratic and I’m not going to get anything out of it’. We have to crack the code on that.”

Visit Love Your Local or call the Bronx Chamber of Commerce at (718) 828-3900.

The business reps who attended agreed that access to the grant’s $90,000 infuison could be a difference-maker in taking some of the struggle out of running a small business and turning it into a profitable success.

“Every business could use it,” said Keith McDermott a manager at nearby An Beal Bocht Cafe. “Hopefully it goes to businesses who could really put it to good use. We would use it for updating equipment both for drinks and for food and also for performance, music and theater.”

Leah Yudin, NYC Division of Business Services
(photo: Gary Axelbank)

According to the City’s Division of Business Services part of the issue in getting Bronx businesses through the process is the tabulation that scores a merchant’s eligility and suitablity to receive what is a highly-competitive grant.

“The main objective is to get as many interested businesses to apply as possible and businesses that are going to do as well as possible on the rubric,” said Leah G. Yudin, the Senior Program Manager of the Division of Business Services. “Until now the only input we’ve had is getting more people to apply. But it’s a very quantitative rubric that counts up the things that are part of the application and results in a score.”

Businesses score higher and have a better chance of being selected if they’ve been in operation for longer, have more employees, have faced an increase in rent, and deal with competition from large chain stores. Though businesses can be in any industry to qualify, they must be at least three years-old.

To get more information or apply visit Love Your Local or call the Bronx Chamber of Commerce at (718) 828-3900.

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