Facilitating the Work of Small Businesses

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Earlier this week, a new service to help SMEs was launched.  NYC Business Quick Start is a $11m concierge service designed to eliminate a lot of bureaucracy, thus facilitating business development for these small firms. 

Established in conjunction with Jonnel Dorris, the Commissioner at the NYC Department of Small Business Services, Mayor Bill de Blasio is also working with the Department of Buildings, Department of Environmental Protection, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the New York City Fire Department and the New York City Department of Small Business Services.

This really couldn’t have come at a better time.  As Mayor Bill de Blasio said:

There’s no time to wait for our small businesses to return to the neighborhoods they serve. This is the moment to bring New York City back, and that starts with making this city the easiest place in America to open a small business’ doors. This program will give business owners all the tools they need to run their businesses smoothly and build a recovery for all of us.”

It is hoped that this initiative will make New York City one of the nation’s easiest place to open (or reopen) an SME.

New York: Getting Back to Business

New York is getting back on track following the 18 months of coronavirus business restrictions. Here, we look at a few events that give us optimistic hope for the future of the advancement of local companies: the L.E.A.F. Festival of Flowers, Bizzabo, local business networking.

Taking its inspiration from the European flower shows, the L.E.A.F Festival of Flowers is an annual flower show in Manhattan, launched in 2019 through pop-ups and its hashtag #NYFlowerweek. It is back now this Saturday and Sunday.  Events include: Lewis Miller’s ‘Flower Flashes’ at the Rockefeller Centre, Crosby Cat and the Alamo, East Olivia’s ‘Flatiron Floral Immersion’ at Flatiron Plaza, Ester Partegàs Cape Lily at The Source.

Now that the entertainment industry can finally start working again, there is good news in that department too. The international frontrunner in event software Bizzabo just announced that it purchased an AI scheduling tool company – X.ai – which is able to automate the bureaucratic parts of meetings through the generation of compatible times to meet across time zones, sends out follow ups, reminders and deals with any cancellations/postponements etc.  this acquisition will facilitate the development of meaningful connections for Bizzabo’s clients in-person, virtual and hybrid.

Over in Rochester, AV Science owner Laurie Elkin has welcomed the recent partnership announcement between businesses, networking, funding and educational opportunities. On this partnership, Assemblywoman of 136th District, Sarah Clark said:

“We know even before COVID pandemic that small business always need the extra access to resource technical assistance financial investment and those types of things. I hope it will light the flame of entrepreneurship in a way that some fold didn’t even now they have I hope it grows business in our city.”

New York is Getting Tourists Back

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As the pandemic (hopefully) dies down, social distancing and stay-at-home orders wane, industries that were most badly hit are coming back.  One example of this is tourism with Madison County Tourism (New York’s official tourism promotion agent), taking the lead. 

A partnership for New York and tourism advocacy has been established in an effort to advertise to New Yorkers how they can “Roam the Empire” and benefit from the local attractions, while bolstering the local economy.  New York State Tourism Industry Association (NYSTIA) President Bob Provost pointed out:

“In any given year, New York State’s diverse destinations and attractions provide great reasons for our fellow New Yorkers to plan their getaways within our borders. But this year is different. This year, New Yorkers choosing to vacation in New York will make a huge impact. They will help reemploy over 300,000 of their fellow New Yorkers who lost tourism-related jobs during the pandemic in 2020. They will help revitalize local businesses and communities. And they will restore sorely needed state and local tax revenue to help fund our state’s economic recovery.”

Madison County Tourism President said Truman Hartshorn added:

“New York is such a beautiful state. With scenic byways, craft breweries and wineries, downtown shopping, farm-to-table restaurants and more, there is so much to explore. And we’re proud to encourage New Yorkers to ‘Roam the Empire’—including Madison County—just as soon as they are ready to travel.”

Given that tourism was probably the most impacted industry in New York during the pandemic, this is very good news.

Director Peter Farrelly’s Greatest Yet? The Greatest Beer Run Ever

It is just possible that ‘The Greatest Beer Run Ever: A Memoir of Friendship, Loyalty and War’ will be director Peter Farrelly’s next best act since ‘Green Book.’ Movie producers are: David Ellison, Dana Goldberg, and Don Granger (the Skydance team) and Andrew Muscato.

There were a few writers involved in creating the movie: screenwriter Brian Currie, screenwriter Pete Jones and Director Peter Farrelly. The film is based on the book of the same title written by Chick Donahue and J. T. Molloy and tells Donahue’s story of leaving New York to bring beer to his army pals fighting in the Vietnam War.  After his arrival in Qui Nho’n, Donahue encountered a slew of experiences – both funny and potentially dangerous – until he found his friends.  Definitely sounds like the making of another great movie for director Peter Farrelly!

Talks are now being held with Zac Effron (who starred in ‘The Greatest Showman’), Russell Crowe (known for his role in ‘Les Miserables’) and Bill Murray for acting roles and it seems like Apple Studios will finance the movie.

Reopening of New York

The reopening of New York – something so many wanted for so long – has been met with an interesting response. People are shocked, surprised and a bit daunted by what is happening as so many people had gotten used to their “new normal.” Plus, the fact that restaurants, bars and offices are opening at 100% capacity have led to questions from many people wondering what crowds will feel like again after so much time being told to social distance.

It is not the entire New York that is reopening. Most theaters will be closed until at least September 2021. Office workers still tend to be working from home with a low number going back (approximately 16 percent, up from last summer’s 10 percent but still on the small side). One New Yorker, Michael Cortez (who like others believe the speed is “reckless”) said: “I think this is just a knee-jerk reaction to what’s going on in all the politics with Cuomo and everybody else. It’s crazy. And then we all ended up paying for it down the road. What’s the end game?”

He could be right.  But Cuomo pointed to the “statewide rolling positivity rate…of 1.79 percent, the lowest since November 5 and a 50 percent drop over the last month,” which would make sense for a re-opening.

De Blasio said that by July 1st, New York City will “fully reopen,” having vaccinated “a large percentage of its 8 million residents.”

Is Remote Working the Future for New York City?

Many places of work are pushing for employees to continue to do their assignments from home, even post-pandemic.  The lower costs, the benefit to the environment and the less time spent commuting rendering more quality hours with the family are just some of the many benefits that people and companies are seeing.

Taking a look at New York we see this new way of working has become very popular.  Take Spotify for example which used to fill 16 floors at Lower Manhattan’s 4 World Trade Center.  This is no longer the case; in fact, it’s practically empty since the company’s executive management have told its workers they can work anywhere they want; they do not even have to be in New York!  MediaMath has taken the same route. This NYC-headquartered advertising tech firm has also moved out, having seen how productive remote working has been. 

Salesforce – that once had its workers in a 630-foot building – is taking a similar (but not identical) approach.  Rather than go the whole hog, this Midtown Manhattan headquartered firm is telling its staff to come in one-tree days a week and work the rest at home. 

What this will mean for New York – and its central island Manhattan which has been primarily sustained by 1.6 million daily commuters – remains to be seen but Mayor de Blasio is already working on encouraging New Yorkers to return.  He is doing this by having his own municipality workers (that totals approximately 80,000 individuals) come back early next month referring to his decision as “…an important step for the city, and  another important step on the way to the full recovery of New York City.”

Commuting in and out of New York has (understandably) decreased substantially.  Those using the Metro North Railway (serving Hudson Valley, Connecticut and Grand Central Station) have decreased by at least 78 percent from last year. Right now, it is estimated

Members polled by the Partnership for New York City reported that so far 10 percent of workers have returned to the office and it is anticipated that by September this figure will have increased to 45 percent.  At the same time, more than half of those who used to go into the office will now permanently work remotely.

Getting Jobs: Industries to Watch

According to two faculty members at Stony Brook University – Danielle McHeffey and Michael Nugent – students looking to start their careers could do worse than join the risk management and insurance fields. They believe that these areas of employment offer “unlimited promise and wide appeal.”

As well as being a great place to start, the industry has openings in top executive positions too.  And for those who attend Stony Brook, McHeffey and Nugent are looking to expand course options in this discipline at the educational institute’s College of Business.

The other good news for New Yorkers looking for jobs – or those who want to make New York their homes or return from out of town – is that rental prices in the state have dropped significantly since the coronavirus outbreak.  According to a recent Bloomberg piece, those just entering the career ladder have a great opportunity now as the latest figures for New York rentals had dropped by 22 percent per anum for a one bedroom.  

Another career path New Yorkers (and those throughout the nation) could take is cybersecurity with a recent report from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics suggesting that:

“The number of information security analyst positions is anticipated to grow 31% between 2019 and 2029, while the median annual salary for security analysts soared to $99,730 in 2019.”

And another good reason to live and work in New York comes with Gov. Cuomo’s recent announcement of $9.5 million to be given to 75 businesses, community-organizations and schools as part of New York state’s  historic Workforce Development Initiative. This will be put toward job training and employment opportunities for close to 5,000 New Yorkers.

The Re-opening of Local Businesses

Finally New York state is re-opening. Just one day after America exceeded 500,000 lives lost to COVID-19, efforts are being made to get back to some sense of ‘normal.’  Many vaccine doses have been received and used and now New York is awaiting the ones that were delayed due to the weather.

Bill de Blasio commented:

“Finally, the supply we expected last week is arriving today. That means we basically lost a full week in our vaccination efforts. But it will not stop us from reaching our goal of five million New Yorkers vaccinated by June because we still have the ability and the capacity to do it.”

One of the first things to re-open will be movie theaters which are scheduled to open at 25 percent capacity on March 5th in New York City. On this matter Cuomo said:

“Thanks to the hard work and commitment of all New Yorkers, our infection rate is now the lowest we’ve seen in three months, and accordingly we will now be reopening various recreational activities across the state including billiard halls, weddings and movie theaters in New York City. As our infection rate continues to fall, and the vaccination rate continues to climb, we will keep reopening different sectors of our state’s economy and focus our efforts on building our state back better than it was before.”