Biz counseling service in BankNote Building

Photo by Patrick Rocchio

Bronx entrepreneurs looking for help will now be able to get some free assistance and access to low-interest loans.

The Business Outreach Center Network held a grand opening and ribbon cutting at the Sunshine Business Incubator in Hunts Point’s BankNote Building on Friday, Nov. 22.

The celebration inaugurated the network’s first full-time presence in the borough.

As a Community Development Financial Institution, BOC Bronx will provide one-on-one business counseling, business workshops, and micro loans. It will be partnering with Start Small Think Big, another non-profit that will provide complementary services.

BOC Bronx, part of the BOC Network, will look to work with business both based in the incubator and outside.

BOC assists “micro-entrepreneurs”: businesses oftentimes founded by a single person, or that sometimes are founded with another family member as a partner or are home-based businesses.

Some common examples are daycare centers, small contractors and construction businesses, green taxis, and grocery stores and restaurants, said Nancy Carin, BOC executive director.

“We have had programs and projects in the Bronx, but we have not had a presence here, so we are very happy to be…much more of a resource to the community,” said Carin.

BOC meets with micro entrepreneurs to help create and sustain important community businesses.

“Initially, we sit with the client to have a meeting to establish where they are as a business owner and the background and experience they bring to their business,” she said. “Then we really try to support them in the areas where they need to build strength or capacity and attract dollars.”

Attending festive opening on Nov. 22 were Assemblyman Marcos Crespo; Patricia Swann, representing BOC Bronx funding source New York Community Trust Bank; Brian Blake, vice-president of ribbon cutting event sponsor Spring Bank; Tom Messina representing Congressman Joseph Crowley; Cheryl Simmons-Oliver, senior policy advisor for economic development and employment for Congressman Jose Serrano; and Patricia Charlemagne, director of programs and operations of Start Small Think Big.

Swann, who works with New York Community Trust’s charitable foundation, said he was pleased to support the BOC expansion into the Bronx because it directly related to job creation in a time when everything “is about jobs.”

“The fact that it is in the Bronx is very appropriate because I am told that of the five boroughs, the Bronx has the fastest growing rate of small business start-up of all of the boroughs,” said Swann.

Smart Small Think Big will provide complementary financial and legal counseling.

Our services compliment each other nicely,” said Carin. “It creates a more holistic opportunity for the businesses.”

Patrick Rocchio can be reach via e-mail at procchio@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3393

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