The city announced a new initiative that will let New Yorkers put their favorite local businesses on the map—and will make the owners eligible for a portion of $1.8 million in city grants.
New Yorkers will be able to share their favorite independent, non-franchise shops, restaurants and services online, at the city’s “Love Your Local” website, which will get the added to the “NYC Love Your Local” interactive map. Those businesses can subsequently apply for part of $1.8 million in grant funding and expert advice to help them become more competitive.
“New York City thrives on the energy, culture and diversity of small businesses,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said. “The NYC Love Your Local program gives New Yorkers a chance to support their favorite businesses by bringing the local establishments they love into the limelight and giving them the chance to cultivate business through a nomination to win a $1.8 million grant.”
Small businesses will be eligible to apply for awards of up to $90,000 to make improvements, with preference for well-established businesses. These improvements could include making menu changes or enhancing a shop’s layout, or cater to their unique needs.
The shops will also receive free consultation from industry experts. Businesses can submit applications through April, and the city will announce winners in the fall.
“Independent, small businesses are the backbone of our neighborhoods, and the NYC Love Your Local initiative recognizes and supports their vital role in the fabric of New York City,” Department of Small Business Services Commissioner Gregg Bishop said. “New York City is full of unique neighborhoods that are given character by local merchants and entrepreneurs. New Yorkers should share their favorite neighborhood business and be sure to show their love.”
SBS s kicking off a $400,000 advertising campaign to publicize the NYC Love Your Local campaign and to push New Yorkers to shop locally. The ads will run in subway cars, LinkNYC terminals, the Staten Island Ferry, on radio stations and in other print and digital forms throughout the five boroughs.
At the end of January, SBS started the application process for the second round of its Neighborhood 360° Fellows program that connects neighborhood development professionals with community-based organizations to help finish commercial revitalization projects across the five boroughs.