NYCEDC grant program helped keep hundreds of Queens businesses afloat during pandemic

NYCEDC President and CEO Rachel Loeb took over in March and continued to support Queens small businesses and street vendors during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo credit Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic the NYC Economic Development Corporation disbursed more than $13 million to 746 small businesses and street vendors. The Queens Small Business Grant program was instrumental in keeping many afloat during the economic downturn with 90 percent of the grants going to minority and women-owned businesses.

“With more than 1,000 applications submitted and almost $14 million distributed across nearly 750 entities in need of critical funding during this turbulent time, we couldn’t be prouder of what the Queens Small Business Grant program has achieved this year,” Queens Borough President Donovan Richards said. “We’re talking about keeping hundreds of Queens residents employed and ensuring their families can still put food on the table. We’re talking about protecting our small businesses, of which 90 percent of those approved are minority and/or women-owned, in their times of greatest need.”

Richards thanked the NYCEDC and their partners for making the program possible.

Rachel Loeb was appointed president and CEO of the NYCEDC in May after serving as interim leader when James Patchett stepped down for a move to the public sector in March. The Queens Small Business Grant program remained strong throughout the transition.

“Small businesses are the heart and soul of our communities, and their resurgence is key to the city’s long-term success,” Loeb said. “We’re thrilled the fund is providing a critical lifeline for over 740 small businesses, especially in neighborhoods hardest hit by COVID-19.”

Loeb and the NYCEDC will play a key role in the city’s economic recovery after Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a plan to double the city’s $500 million investment in life sciences to $1 billion to create jobs and establish New York City as a global leader in life sciences.

“Building a healthier city means ensuring the life science sector is equipped with the greatest potential for cutting-edge technologies and treatments for all New Yorkers,” Loeb said. “With a diverse talent pool, a network of premier academic and medical institutions, New York City is positioned to grow as a global leader in life sciences research and innovation.”

The tech ecosystem of western Queens will have a key role in the city’s network of life science innovation as the economy reopens.

“COVID-19 has had devastating consequences for Queens and the entire city, but we can prevent future health emergencies from having a similar impact by investing now in potentially life-saving research and development,” Richards said. “We are proud that Long Island City is leading in life sciences innovation, and the investments announced today will help us go even further in the areas of pandemic prevention and preparedness. This funding shows our city is committed to the growing life sciences sector and will not let the lessons of COVID-19 go unheeded.”

The city’s network of life sciences companies, institutions and industry partners helped throughout the pandemic with broad response for testing, treatment and vaccination programs. This included working closely with the NYCEDC on the development of local supplies for PPE and test kits, the launch of the Pandemic Response Lab, and the ongoing development of the Pandemic Response Institute.

“New York City has long been a national leader in life science innovation,” Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney said. “This new investment will cement our city as a leader in life science innovation, critical to our preparedness for future pandemics, everyday illnesses and other maladies affecting human health.”

More from Around New York