On Monday, May 20, One Flushing released a report on the challenges and opportunities facing the Flushing economy. The report was based on findings from a door-to-door business survey conducted in the summer and fall of 2012. Over the course of five months, One Flushing visited over one thousand businesses and received 400 survey responses from business owners, managers, and workers. One Flushing was joined by representatives from Assemblywoman Nily Rozic’s office, the U.S. Small Business Administration, NYC Business Solutions, the Flushing Chinese Business Association, and the Queensboro Hill Neighborhood Association at the release of the report.
Some of the business challenges identified in the report include: parking and transit availability, intense street congestion, escalating rents, and increased fines from regulators. One Flushing has proposed specific recommendations as possible solutions to these problems. For example, the city should end the unfair regulatory policies that target small businesses, especially those in the outer boroughs and specifically in immigrant communities. Efforts should also be made to maintain a diverse Flushing economy in the future, especially as new development projects compete with existing small businesses. One way to reduce displacement of these small businesses is to adopt a tax system that lowers rates for businesses in proportion to the length of time they remain in a specific location.
Another major finding of the report was that most businesses in Flushing are unaware of the business assistance agencies which are supposed to help them. Less than 25% of businesses were aware of the NYC Department of Small Business Services, the city agency dedicated to small business assistance. One reason for this low level of awareness is the lack of a physical presence for many of these agencies in Flushing. In response to this finding, One Flushing is partnering with NYC Business Solutions and the U.S. Small Business Administration to host a business seminar on Wednesday, May 22, also announced at Monday’s news conference. This seminar will focus on how small businesses can access government grants to pay for employee training. The event is part of One Flushing’s larger efforts to increase business assistance resources for the Flushing community. Lloyd Cambridge, Director of NYC Business Solutions, said, “Flushing has gone through an economic revitalization over the last several years and we want to ensure that businesses know about the resources that are available through the City to support their growth and expansion.”
See NY1 coverage of our seminar: