What is the City's role in helping to support and sustain residents' favorite local businesses to not only survive challenging economic conditions, but thrive? The NYC Love Your Local pilot program was established to explore this topic and to help the City understand what strategies are effective as it works to prevent neighborhood businesses from closing due to rising rents and other pressures. This understanding would then arm the City with tools to provide meaningful advice and assistance to business owners who are committed to retaining local jobs and continuing to provide locally valued goods and services.
New York City Department of Small Business Services (SBS)
2018 - 2019
Initial Needs Assessments
Comprehensive Business Evaluations
Small Business Technical Assistance
In February 2017, the New York City Department of Small Business Services (SBS) launched the first phase of NYC Love Your Local, a $400,000 marketing campaign to celebrate the city’s independent, small businesses and encourage New Yorkers to shop locally. Ads aimed to encourage New Yorkers to shop at independent neighborhood businesses and asked them to share their favorite small business on an interactive, online map so that these businesses could be discovered by other friends and neighbors. Once shared, businesses were prompted to apply for grants during the second phase of the initiative. New Yorkers were also encouraged to share why they love their favorite local business on social media by using the hashtag #LoveYourLocalNYC.
Urbane was selected as a small business consultant for the second phase of this initiative, a $1.8 million application-based grant-funding and expert advice program for up to 50 selected businesses to address neighborhood changes including rising real estate costs. Longstanding, non-franchise small businesses from across the five boroughs applied to receive an Initial Business Needs Assessment which evaluated their finances and operations utilizing a standardized rubric. Urbane evaluated multiple businesses in Brooklyn and The Bronx on factors including availability of financial records, inventory controls, sales tracking, payroll records, product and labor cost, net profit margin and willingness to make suggested changes. The various businesses assessed included Ghanaian and Haitian restaurants, an Italian wine store, a Senegalese Halal grocery and butcher shop, auto repair shops, a Pilates studio, an orthodontist, a community theater, a security firm, and the largest micro-brewery in the Bronx.
Based on submitted scores and feedback from Urbane and other consultant evaluators, SBS selected 20 awardees to receive a further 20 hours of in-depth consulting and up to $90,000 of funding for a range of projects including improving operations, recruiting and training employees, updating technology, enhancing the business location and enhancing financial management. Urbane provided technical assistance to three Bronx and Brooklyn businesses selected as finalists from Round 1 of the program, and for Round 2, advised three Brooklyn-based grantees in refining their proposed projects and strategic improvements to strengthen their businesses.