Seeking to increase economic opportunity in southeast Queens, Councilwoman Adrienne Adams recently hosted a forum for small businesses and minority and women-owned business enterprises (M/WBEs) at Resorts World Casino New York City in Jamaica.

The event focused on networking, resources and culminated with a thought provoking panel discussion.

 

“Small businesses and M/WBEs are the backbone of our community and our thriving economy so it is important to understand the challenges these business owners face and help provide the resources that allow them to thrive,” Adams said. “I thank our dynamic panelists for their insight and all the business owners who attended to lend their voice to this important discussion.”

In September of 2016, Mayor Bill de Blasio created the Mayor’s Office of M/WBEs to address the disparity in city contracts awarded to ethnic and gender groups and their overall representation in City contracting. The Office is responsible for oversight, policy and accountability of the City’s M/WBE Program.

“The City of New York is committed to diversity and opening the doors of opportunity for groups typically marginalized and overlooked by society,” NYC Department of Small Business Services Commissioner Gregg Bishop said. “I will continue to work with city leaders across the five boroughs to show my support for M/WBE businesses and bring awareness to the issues they face.”

Since 1977, the Queens Economic Development Corporation has worked with scores of neighborhoods to revitalize their commercial districts by creating business organizations and establishing business improvement districts. Entrepreneurs are assisted in the preparation of business plans through individual counseling, classes and workshops.

“Small businesses play a significant role in the health and vibrancy of local communities,” QEDC Deputy Director Ricardi Calixte said. “They serve as a job generator, provide crucial goods and services, and enhance the quality of life for area residents. Queens Economic Development Corporation commends Council Member Adrienne Adams for her commitment to bringing resources to strengthen the capacity of local small businesses to succeed.”

Queens Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas J. Grech was also among the panelists at the forum.

“The Queens Chamber is honored to participate in this event,” Grech said. “We have worked tirelessly promoting M/WBE firms and organizations to get ready for all the business opportunities here in Queens and New York City. As the oldest and largest business association, with nearly 1,150 members representing over 100,000 Queens-based employees, we pride ourselves on our own diversity amongst our Board, Staff and Membership.”

Dr. Simone Lord, the president of the Southeast Queens Chamber of Commerce, rounded out the panel.

“Partnerships and collaborations like this among small businesses and non-profits will provide more economic growth, exposures and impact for the entire community,” she said.