Photo courtesy of Sunnyside Shines

Sunnyside’s Business Improvement District, Sunnyside Shines, has launched a new Business Assistance MicroGrants program that will give $10,000 worth of small grants to the neighborhood’s small businesses.

The program is designed to help select small storefront businesses with grants of $1,250 each to cover the expenses that will help them remain competitive and relevant. Eligible expenses include storefront improvements, costs associated with scaling up, marketing tools or upgraded equipment.

Business can also apply for interest-free business loans of up to $10,000 through Sunnyside Shines’ partnership with Kiva crowdfunding platform.

Sunnyside Shines Executive Director Jaime-Faye Bean believes this program is the “very practical, straight-forward assistance many businesses can use right now.”

To apply to Business Assistance MicroGrants, businesses must visit www.sunnysideshines.org/news/microgrants. Applications in Spanish language will be published in the coming days.

Applications will be accepted until Jan. 15, 2020, with awardees announced by Feb. 29, 2020.

A review panel made up of members of the Sunnyside Shines Community Advisory Committee will make recommendations for the final awardees.

For the first round of the program, which is in its initial grant cycle, businesses throughout Sunnyside — not just those within Sunnyside’s BID corridor — are eligible to apply.

“Businesses throughout Sunnyside have been an integral part of our past marketing programming, including Taste of Sunnyside, Restaurant Week and more. And throughout this fall, businesses throughout the larger neighborhood have been instrumental in helping us complete a thorough Commercial District Needs Assessment study so that we can better serve Sunnyside in the future,” Bean said. “Opening this first round of awards to all neighborhood businesses is our way of showing appreciation for that partnership.”

Photo courtesy of Sunnyside Shines

An additional feature of the program is that one of their awards will be made to a neighborhood entrepreneur who doesn’t currently own a storefront but is “contributing significantly to the commercial life of the neighborhood.”

“The last two years we’ve started to partner extensively with neighborhood artisans and entrepreneurs, especially through our pop-up markets programming,” Bean added. “We recognize that they, too, have strategic needs and that this MicroGrant program can help them grow, thrive and contribute to a vibrant Sunnyside.”

The Business Assistance MicroGrants program is funded by a discretionary grant designated by Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer.

“I am proud to allocate $10,000 to support the Business Assistance MicroGrants program,” Van Bramer said. “Small businesses are woven into the fiber of our Queens community, and it is important we do our part to enhance opportunities for our residents. I am enthusiastic about seeing new entrepreneurs succeed through the efforts of Sunnyside Shines.”

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