Economic forum helps business owners with info, opportunities

Sharon Sweeting Lindsey came to Senator Malcolm Smith’s town-hall meeting on economic development hoping to get a foot in the door.
In the end she ended up being “adopted.”
Sweeting Lindsey came to the microphone to find out how her food distribution business could get involved with some of the state contracts. She complained that as a woman and minority she was shut out of the process.
“I will put my credentials up against anybody’s,” Sweeting Lindsey said. “But I can’t get my foot in the door.”
She spoke to members of the Empire State Development Corporation at the town-hall meeting at York College.
The goal of the confab was to allow local business owners to learn of the opportunities available to help improve their companies.
At the end of Sweeting Lindsey’s question, Smith asked those from the corporation if they would “adopt” her and come back in a few months to tell the community if they were able to get her foot in the door to state contracts.
Everyone on the panel with Smith agreed to use Sweeting Lindsey as a model for the rest of the community. As such, they will keep the others updated on her progress.
Sweeting Lindsey said she was very happy the group decided to adopt her and help her out.
She added she is hopeful she can now at least get a sub-contract and show that she can handle a larger food distribution operation for the state.
“We will give our best effort (to help Sweeting Lindsey),” Smith said. “That just wasn’t lip service.”
Smith said he wasn’t sure if they would be able to get Sweeting Lindsey a contract because they need to figure out what is available, but he said they would give their best effort to help her out.
Sweeting Lindsey’s complaint about access to the government was the main concern raised by many at the gathering.
Smith said he was glad to hear from the dozens in attendance.
“We are telling the people the government is open for business,” Smith said. “The government is here for the people that live here.”
Smith said he plans on holding more town forums like this one in the future. He said upcoming meetings will have representatives from the Department of Housing and Services for the Elderly.

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