By Marisa Bramwell
So you want to launch a business in New York City, but don’t know where to get started and have limited funds. Whether you’re interested in tech, retail, services or something in-between, New York City is a fantastic place to launch your venture, thanks to a number of start-up and small business resources – many of them free or inexpensive. Here’s a list of some places to look:
NY Small Business Development Center (NY SBDC): The NY Small Business Development Center, sponsored by the Small Business Administration, provides small business owners and entrepreneurs with business consulting services. Clients meet individually with the SBDC business advisors or specialists who provide consultation on a range of issues from to developing a business plan, financing, legal and labor issues and marketing. Appointments are an hour long, and you can go as often as you want – and all services are free of charge (paid for by your tax dollars). There are three locations at major universities in Manhattan (Baruch, Pace and Columbia), plus others throughout the five boroughs and tri-state region. The SBDCs also offer free workshops every month on topics like Quickbooks, Marketing and Franchising.
NY Business Solutions: NY Business Solutions offers a set of free business workshops designed to help entrepreneurs launch, operate and expand their businesses. For those interested in offering their products and services to the city, NY Business Solutions offers certification courses business owners can go through in order to gain exclusive access to NYC’s Directory of Certified Businesses. There are seven NY Business Solutions Centers located throughout the five boroughs of New York City.
SCORE: SCORE is similar to the NY SBDC; they are also supported by the Small Business Administration and offer free services to small business owners an entrepreneurs. The small business counseling staff is made up of volunteer mentors from a variety of business sectors who offer business owners expert advice. SCORE also offers local and online business workshops.
New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC): Another New York City entity focused on helping business owners large and small, the NYCEDC has regional offices in each borough that work on economic development projects – from housing to arts, culture and shopping – that will improve that region. To accomplish this they have numerous programs, workshops, and other resources business owners in the private and public sector can utilize.
SIBL: The New York Public Library’s Science, Industry and Business Library offers extensive research databases, plus free workshops on various topics - such as market research and record keeping – that entrepreneurs and established business owners would find useful.
Online Permit Assistance and Licensing (OPAL): The New York State Online Permit Assistance and Licensing (OPAL)site helps business owners find the necessary permits, licenses and registration process for new and existing entities.Industrial and Technology Assistance Corporation (ITAC): The Industrial and Technology Assistance Corporation provides small and mid-sized businesses that produced technical or manufactured products in New York with assistance. ITAC has numerous workshops and events every month, and its advisors help clients achieve goals like reducing costs and growing their business. Want to go green? ITAC can help you with that too – they have a variety of resources to make your production more environmentally friendly, and can help your business get certified.
American Fact Finder: The American Fact Finder is a site with data aggregated by the US Census Bureau. This invaluable website compiles an incredible amount of data from around the U.S. and allows you to focus on a specific region to help business owners better understand their target markets.
Digital Dumbo: Digital Dumbo, based in the Dumbo section of Brooklyn, offers numerous events and workshops that provide entrepreneurs with opportunities to network and exchange ideas with each other. Events are primarily held at The Green Desk, a shared office space and incubator.
Gary’s Guide: Gary’s Guide is an aggregated list of all workshops, events, competitions and parties for people interested in entrepreneurship, social media, technology and startups in New York City. Free events are marked as such – paid events have ticket prices.
Sunshine Suites: Sunshine Suitesis a co-working shared office space and business incubator with three locations in NYC (Tribeca, Soho and
the Bronx. In addition to offering entrepreneurs affordable working space, they have regularly offer educational workshops open to the public that range in cost from $0 to $35.
General Assembly: Geared towards the tech start-up community, General Assembly describes itself as a “campus for technology, design, and entrepreneurship.” In addition to networking events and “hack-a-thons,” GA offers entrepreneurs a variety of workshops taught by established entrepreneurs from the tech community.
NY Tech Meetup: New York Tech Meetup is a great place for aspiring and current tech entrepreneurs to network and see what others are doing in their industry. During the monthly Meetup events 9 to 10 start-ups deliver their pitches to a crowd of 100 fellow entrepreneurs, investors, and others. Tickets are usually $10 and released in three batches starting 3 weeks before the event.
Field Fellow/Baruch SBDC