Column | Public service is crucial for small business lending – here’s why

Daria Guzzo
Photo courtesy Daria Guzzo

Each summer, the Bronx Economic Development Corporation (BXEDC) provides the opportunity for undergraduate and graduate interns to learn how the organization promotes opportunities for small businesses in the Bronx.

In early June, I became one of  those interns when I started a summer position as a Small Business Lending Coordinator while I work toward my Master of Public Administration at NYU’s Wagner School of Public Service. In this role, I am supporting BXEDC’s lending arm – the Business Initiative  Corporation of New York (BICNY) – by identifying ways to expand our lending capabilities, evaluating loan applications and contributing to initiatives to increase capital access for small businesses.

Daria Guzzo, Marshall Strawbridge, Luis Garcia and other students from NYU Wagner at Bronx Kreate Hub, along with Professor of Urban Policy and Planning Mitchell Moss and BXEDC President Rob Walsh.Photo Erika Kapin

This opportunity builds on my studies at Wagner, including recent courses on Urban Economics, Public-Private Partnerships and Financial Management. This opportunity will enhance my economic development expertise and expose me to the rich legacy and experiences of small businesses in the Bronx, while I strive to support the local community  and our clients. For example, by participating in the initial stages of the loan application and approval process, I am learning about the specific capital challenges that Bronx  businesses face and the unique solutions we can provide. BICNY’s loan products offer more flexibility and accessibility than traditional lending options.

And I am not the only Wagner student working at BXEDC. This fall, Luis Garcia, Chief of  Staff, and Marshall Strawbridge, Director of Economic Outreach, will begin their graduate programs at NYU Wagner, which is ranked No. 9 for the Best Public Affairs Programs, according to the U.S. News & World Report. New York City represents an excellent laboratory to study public and nonprofit management, as well as urban planning. As all  three of us explore careers in public service, BXEDC offers a great opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills we acquire at Wagner to real-life initiatives, partnerships and programs that strive to support and advocate for the Bronx.

With the many professional opportunities in the city, I am grateful to have landed at BXEDC and I am honored to add capacity to an organization dedicated to serving the local needs and interests of the Bronx business community.

Daria Guzzo is BXEDC’s Small Business Lending Coordinator.