Commissioner Gregg Bishop Talks BE NYC Advancing Black Entrepreneurship Small Business In NYC

morning everybody is DJ envy Angela ye Charlemagne the guy we are The Breakfast Club we got a special guest in the building Commissioner of department of small business Greg Bishop welcome back sir New York City from New York City for New York City thank you for having me again welcome back appreciate it so you can give people some money to start these small businesses right no that's that's not we can't do that so so last year we did about 74 million dollars so a increase of 25 million dollars from the previous year so we're giving money away but today it's all about black entrepreneurs yes there's a new initiative that just launched carby NYC and so let's talk about that because I was actually there when you guys launched it at the Apollo that's right and thanks for being there it's so important we focus a lot on helping small businesses but in particular in New York City black individuals make about 20% of the population but only only 2% of the businesses and then when we break that down nationwide we see some alarming trends in terms of black individuals compared to their white counterparts are 50 times more likely to want to start a business but only half of them actually start a business and then within five years half of those that start fail so in New York City we are very much focused on figuring out how to solve these issues so we launched our B NYC initiative so it says for black entrepreneurs New York City so what we're doing is we're going around the city and Apollo was the first start to talk to black individuals who even want to start a business or have started a business to find out what is it that you need because we want to make sure when we build program so this government that we build a program that actually makes sense and that actually addresses the problem that's the idea what what do what do what do we need to start a business like what's the first thing we should do beside we have the idea we have the concept what's next what do we so everyone knows Capital is going to be the answer right but it depends on what type of capital and I really could commend you guys for when you bring on candidates especially presidential candidates to talk about what they do for for specifically the black community because when you think about all the historic you know there's a book and we talk to the author was there Sean Rochester to call a black tax when you talk about all the the structural either racism or systemic issues that have prevented black individuals from getting capital from having capital to then start a business certainly that that plays a role in it and you know I'm not gonna say you know I call it modern-day reparations right we need to figure out a way to actually help black individuals get to that point where they do have the capital but they do have the access to networks that's another thing that we know that individual need and when I say access to networks access to someone who actually started a business we don't have like that uncle or that you know aunt or someone who has been in business for generations and generations and you can then learn from their mistakes so that way you have a leg up so we know we're probably gonna have to build some programs that addresses those particular issues you see that a lot right now too with a lot of the tech startups and people working on tech there's not a lot of black people and not a lot of women correct that work in tech so that that is one of the the challenge the the goals that we're going to hopefully solve in terms of looking at particular sectors right technology is one of them because when you look at and you know we've done outreach in different communities and when I say in different actually events like afropunk etc and you find a lot of black individuals or in what we call low barrier and it's not necessarily like a negative but they're in retail you know retail has changed right so the failure rate is very high in retail right they're in construction construction flows with the market so the failure rate is high but when you look at the high barrier where you need either education a more capital like tech or like an architect architectural firm or you know any of those areas you know we don't find like individuals who want to start businesses we certainly find like individuals who are skilled to actually be in those and being those that sector you know I was joking about Hampton and but you know our HBCUs we probably produce a lot of engineers correct but they are working they're not they don't a business right very difficult to get into but why is that capital usually and that is one of the things that we're gonna look to solve so it's its capital its access to network because you don't you don't know someone else who started that tech company that's another thing right you mean saying access to the network a lot of people can't get in they can't get their funds correct even if they do have capital it's like how do I get these big deals from these huge companies on the airport right from these huge companies building it's all about access is so helpful with that too right getting you access to that network but we need to do more and we need to be very very specific in terms of how we're gonna do that so one of the things that we did for our women entrepreneurs for example we spoke to about 1,500 women across New York City and one of the things that we came up with was a mentorship program but I'm not talking about like a one every you know two weeks you meet you meet with someone for just like a month I'm talking about like a year you have access to someone who has been successful in running a business and that you can go to and talk about how can I do this how can I do that that's very important and that's what that network is so important so we know there's gonna be other things you know I talked about capital but there might be a specific type of capital like the stress capital one of the programs that we created for women entrepreneurs was creating a loan fund with a zero percent interest rate for a woman entrepreneurs so we don't know what we're gonna find so we want people to go to our website slash b NYC that's b e NYC to actually help us not only take a survey to help us identify the stage of business you're at whether you're pre startup a startup or you're actually operating your business you're gonna have different issues and then also join our mailing list because we want to make sure we keep you updated in terms of what we're doing because it's easy for government to say we're going to do this but you need to hold us accountable to actually get it done you know one thing I think is important to learning how to do a business plan yes a lot of people want to get capital but don't even have a comprehensive business plan they can actually represent but a lot of people don't know right learning happens exactly exactly the really important thing because so many people have an idea right right it all starts with an idea but now once you have an idea have you done the research so how this can be profitable how this can be lucrative where you're being in five years ten years what your goals are how much do you even need because sometimes we don't even know how much capital we need to start a business and that and that goes with the access to actually mentors right so if you have a strong mentor in tech if you have a strong mentor mentor in healthcare you know we're looking at green energy jobs right but we're also looking at those companies right climate change has cheese will change New York City will change you know the United States you know the summit starting today and it's on climate change but Donna chose not going well that's a whole other but but there is a business potential with climate change unfortunately because when you think about it we're gonna have to retrofit all our buildings we're gonna have to retrofit our waterfront you know in Miami you have the tide effect where you know the arid neighborhoods are flooding so we're gonna have to right there that means you need businesses to actually do that type work right in tech you understand how automation is going to change our future we need our black community to be ready for that you know in in life sciences in healthcare there's so many different areas that are changing so that's what we want to make sure is that we don't get left in the technology revolution so and we're being very specific about saying black entrepreneurs now information on business plan like yep a lot of people even myself and I went to school for business and marketing but you kind of forget and that was a reason I had two businesses that fail right yep one was the carwash yep but for some reason that they get black people come out the hood they always think carwash is Nika stores are gonna do well yeah but it failed because I didn't have a business plan right I I just was a hurricane sandy had just hit a hurricane sandy hit those about and into I had a sneaker store and it was the same thing yep I didn't have a business plan so I banked it off of just me being me and being knowing celebrities or they want a celebrity part dwindled out celebrities want free stuff right right right I mean so nailed so how can people get information about creating a business plan especially for people who didn't you know go to college or might not have the money to get that degree how can they get that better and that is one of the things that really I think it's an obstacle for folks because you have to write right you have to think and you have to actually do reach and do the work but I guarantee you that once you do that you'll actually be better equipped to actually deal with different issues get ready to do your research and do your work and have something to present and know the numbers and know how you can have a better chance of succeeding correct and I'm not one to say that you have to have to have to have business plan right because somebody will say Bill Gates didn't have a business plan right Jeff Bezos didn't have a business plan but I will say that you have to know your research right actually so online you can actually go to our website slash SPS you can sign up actually for online courses we just launched that since the last time I was here we launched your online courses so you can actually it is everything is free and you could actually go through and these courses from universities where you're a professor actually built out the curriculum you're gonna get held accountable to actually complete in two modules etc or you could come in to one of our courses that we have here in New York City the last time I was here a lot of folks across this the the United States actually connected with me for resources in their local city and I would say that the small business development centers are a resource they're usually located on college campus there's probably one enhances campus as well I'm sure there's a School of Business you know whose curriculum came from Florida and in the university but but that there's a lot of free resources that you can get out there to actually help you have the building blocks it's actually starting a business plan because that is your road map right and one thing that you said to me that always stuck in my mind was we discussed a brick and mortar business right one of the most important things when opening a business is to do your research and how important location is correct right and there's there's a lot of free resources out there in terms of the demographics of a neighborhood because one of the things again the reason why we're looking at being very intentional about helping black entrepreneurs we do find black entrepreneurs saturated in certain particular sectors and that saturation leads to the - right so we're always in retail so you'll find a you know t-shirt company you know well you know this there's there's there's a lot of of saturation in particularly areas so we want to make sure that we help people understand like okay in this community at least in New York City you can go on our website slash SPS and click on our reports and you'll find area called commercial district needs assessment we have we've done these reports in East Harlem we've done it in Bushwick we've done it all across the in popular in in in neighborhoods that are changing to tell you what the neighborhood needs right so one one we did in East New York we found like the neighborhood needs like a sit-down restaurant there was like a lot of fast-food restaurants but there wasn't like I never go eat in East New York correct that's because I can't then you know I go all over Brooklyn right right exactly exactly and you see where the sit-down restaurants things are concentrated too because it makes it a really popular busy place but you're right it needs me all right they definitely could use that what about for a lot of my West Indian people a lot of people are not citizens yep but they still open businesses right you know um can it help them as well so that is and that's why entrepreneurship we know changes generations and the the reasons why we consider all types of business including vendors small businesses is because we know that if you are undocumented that's probably the first thing that you're going to do we do have resources that's available we don't ask for documentation and most of it is education and sometimes you know you need to understand how to operate within the city in terms of how to be compliant but we want to support all small businesses because you know it again we want to make sure that people are vending legally and not illegally but all our resources are available to individuals if we cannot help you then we'll connect you to another organization that can that can work with undocumented individuals now another thing I want you to explain to people because we talked about MWBE yep and you actually helped me guess certify minority women does this enterprise yes so explain to people what that is and why that's beneficial to you you are minority-owned women-owned business connected to our black entrepreneurship initiative because right we want to make sure that if you have a small business and you want to diversify your revenue stream notice I said diversify that means you're already making money and you want to actually increase your revenues you can look at government as an opportunity to do that and what that means is that the city of New York and other municipalities it's not just New York we spend in New York City we spend anywhere between fifteen and twenty billion dollars that's your tax dollars to run the city everything from paper to chairs the cars to whatever it is we have to buy that we don't produce anything so if you're a small business and you actually want to benefit from that spend you need to learn how to sell to government now one of the challenges that we have is a lot of people don't know how to start so we have courses on selling to government and then when they do start we need to make sure that we address the capital issue because one of the other things that we're trying to do is speed up the length of time it takes to pay a vendor so if you divided us eat right if you've to provided us for example the Parks Department every year they have to manufacture uniforms for the lifeguards that that's a bid that goes out and if you're a clothing manufacturer you need to know about that you know how do you find how do you find that out and then when you actually produce a product you have to deliver the product the product has to be accepted and then and only then are you gonna get paid that could be anywhere between two or three months that's not fair that's not right so that is and that is one of the things that you have to change right so we're speeding up the process in terms of how long it takes a contractor registered we created a specific fund for companies that are contracting with New York City so you can borrow up to a million dollars at a three percent interest rate and you know you could do the math really quickly that's almost like free money but you have to have a contract see but that's the bad thing about it and that's why I always feel like they push out definitely the the minority businesses the small mom-and-pop businesses because now but let's say the lifeguard clothing yep you want it now right right so now I got to put my money up front to get this clothing done now that is correct then when I put in my invoice you're saying it takes 30 to 60 days 90 days of you a new vendor that's that's three four months to get my money now how the hell am I gonna stay alive I'm a small business but every used all my money to put these thousands of of lifeguard uniforms right and now I don't get my money for four months I'm gonna be closed about a business but that's why you have to be prepared to actually sell to government or even corporations it's not just government that has long extended payment periods I know a lot of you know freelancers who do work for agencies and you're waiting ninety sometimes 180 days yeah so you need to understand your cash flow right so if you are dependent on that particular contract in order to get paid I would tell you don't contract with government or don't contract with that corporation because they're not going to pay you that quickly hell no but if you have like additional cash flow coming in from one side right then you can wait until that revenue because you know that's guaranteed revenue so that's why I said diversify your revenue stream that's why it's important for you if you have a business plan then you know okay in year two is when I could step it to government contracting because I will have like a solid now I know everybody's gonna say well that's still unfair why why are you floating government and we are working on speeding up that process till then you know but we have to make sure that the product that you got the quality that you had promised so it's not what you said it was and now you got paid but what what's once I deliver and you'll see that the quality I should all it is I put the invoice in an attorney looks at the invoice they sent it to accountant because to check that does it take three months no no no but then the in this case the Union has to accept the uniform to make sure that it's cut properly we have to make sure you built it by spec you know there's a lot of that's why you know sometimes and that's why I tell folks if you're thinking about contracting with government you have to be ready as a business right right there's a lot of opportunities I've seen a lot of companies flourish and actually you know that revenue coming from business from the government side stabilizes the operations of the company to be able to shoot for those months that could be something that could be really lucrative right I did actually take some courses at the SBA I know even though I told like you didn't need to but I came back because I think it is important if you want to be an entrepreneur and that's a priority to you to know about all these things that assets that are available to you and educate yourself on it I don't want to send somebody to take these classes and they know what they're doing it I don't know what I'm doing and then if that person is not working with you anymore I'm lost no duck so it is important to know those things and it was helpful for me to learn how I can actually do these government bids and you know make my business flourish that's what I'm working on now and we're treading knowledge is power and that's one of the reasons why I appreciate this platform to specifically reach our community and make sure that you know not only do folks know that these resources available that there are no cost but that we are intentionally seeking out black individuals who are either thinking about starting a business running a business to actually help us design the next set of programs that we're going to launch next year well I'm completely in support you know that yes I appreciate it a lot of things that are very life-changing that the small business services can offer you and like you said it's not just in New York City that this exists but this Bureau is an author so we have similar New York City is a well resourced City so we're one of the few cities that we have a local agency that's specific specifically while specifically looking for specifically yeah that is like it's early you set Monday morning that's specifically looking at what we can do in our I know five boroughs but that does not mean that there isn't resources available in your community all you need to do is you know score is out there small business development centers are out there that's funded by your federal tax dollars and they're you're paying for it anyway right their job is to make it easier for you to actually run your business in your local community but in New York City our focus is really building and addressing that wealth gap here in New York City so if folks are interested in just general services they could go to slash SPS and you could find all the programs that we have available not just for entrepreneurs but for jobseekers as well but if you are thinking about starting a business and you're a black entrepreneur we want you to go to /b NYC and join our mailing list sign up and take the survey because your information is going to help design programs that we are going to launch in 2020 for black entrepreneurs to address all the issues that we know our black community faces I was blown away about how many people showed up to for the kickoff event yeah we had literally we had over 1,600 ours are three pieces for the Apollo eight which goes back to the national trends that we see that black individuals are 50 times more likely to want to start a business so entrepreneurship is not something that we are afraid of actually we want to be entrepreneurs but all the systemic barriers that I talked about prevents us and that that's what cuts down that number to then only 50 percent are those folks launching businesses and then you run into the capital issue you run into you know the legal issues or whatever it is you know your attorney then inside a paper or whatever it is so all these things we provide free resources to help you so we can actually help you succeed after five after five years well we appreciate you for joining us yes this is great valuable information for us to have so guys make sure you take advantage of this because again your tax data pay tax payer dollars are going toward this anyway now what's the website one more time so it's n YC gov slash @b e NYC b NYC NYC go slash b NYC and we appreciate you for joining us and thanks for having me appreciate right it's Greg Bishop Commission of New York City Department of small businesses is the Breakfast Club good morning [Music]