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New York County Politics featured Pace University’s Small Business Center director Andrew Flamm in "Rivera Discusses Small Business in the Era of COVID-19"

09/18/2020

New York County Politics featured Pace University’s Small Business Center director Andrew Flamm in "Rivera Discusses Small Business in the Era of COVID-19"

At 7:30 p.m. last night, Rivera hosted a discussion on Facebook about small business survival during the COVID-19 era. The discussion featured two special guests: Meghan Joye, a bar owner on the Lower East Side, and Andrew Flamm, director of Pace University’s Small Business Center.

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During the latter half of the discussion, Andrew Flamm took the floor, explaining what he’s been doing to reach out to individual businesses. In his position, Flamm focuses on capacity building with small business owners, while connecting them to financial resources.

“Our focus is on one-on-one assistance,” said Flamm. “We have professional business advisors; their day job is working with entrepreneurs, many of which are hopefully watching this call today. We conduct our sessions either online, through video chats, by phone, by email… whatever’s most comfortable for you. Our hope is that before too long we’ll be back doing in-person sessions at our lower Manhattan location. But for the time being, it’s all been remote.”

Flamm noted that, while times have been difficult for New York’s business owners, the City is lucky to have an abundance of resources. Specifically, he pointed to the City’s numerous Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), which provide financial assistance to tenants in low-income neighborhoods. Since the pandemic began, Flamm has reported continued success in connecting his clients to those very institutions.

“[CDFIs] offer very favorable loan programs, if your business is in a position to take on debt,” said Flamm. “A lot of places in the country just don’t have those. A couple that come to mind are the Renaissance Economic Development Corporation in Chinatown, the Lower East Side Federal Credit Union. There are others in the City, as well, that are doing really good work.”

Remarkably, he said, there are even options for those who want to start a business in the midst of the COVID-19 era. Although the environment has become more challenging for small business owners, it’s far from inhospitable.

“It’s mostly a matter of what you have available to invest, and whether you have investors who believe in the model,” said Flamm. “Crowdfunding can be a way to tap into your community. But before all that, I would ask whether you have a solid business model and know how you’re going to generate revenue. If there’s a market out there for you, test it.”

Read the New York County Politics article.