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Flatiron Hot! News | December 13, 2017

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Maria Torres-Springer Headlines Flatiron BID/Baruch College Business Forum

Baruch College's Vertical Campus New York City Small Business Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer at Flatiron small business forum
Eric Shapiro

On March 25th from 8:00 to 10:00 AM, over 100 New Yorkers, including many business owners, gathered at Baruch College’s William and Anita Newman Conference Center for a free business assistance forum sponsored by the Flatiron 23rd Street Partnership Business Improvement District (Flatiron BID) and Baruch College’s Division of Continuing and Professional Studies (CAPS). Following a networking session – complete with a hearty continental breakfast spread – and an introductory speech from Flatiron BID Executive Director Jennifer Brown, New York City Small Business Services Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer delivered a keynote address.

Small Business Commissioner Torres-Springer with Flatiron BID Executive Director Jennifer Brown

Small Business Commissioner Torres-Springer with Flatiron BID Executive Director Jennifer Brown

NYC Small Business Services Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer

Torres-Springer began by underscoring the de Blasio administration’s core commitment to “tackling inequality in all its forms,” asserting the need for not only business growth, but shared prosperity. The de Blasio administration has worked to achieve these goals with a three-pronged approach that includes “connecting New Yorkers to good jobs, creating stronger businesses and building a fair economy.” Torres-Springer consistently portrayed growth and expanded opportunity, two concepts often cast as opposites in today’s political discourse, as mutually reinforcing. “As we support business growth, we are also unlocking the potential of all New Yorkers, in particular those from vulnerable communities.”

Small businesses owners at Baruch College business assistance foru

Small business owners observe the proceedings

Torres-Springer praised New York City’s booming tech sector, much of it concentrated in the “Silicon Alley” of the Flatiron District, for its efforts to share the fruits of its success with all New Yorkers. She highlighted the Tech Talent Pipeline, a 3-year $10 million public-private partnership, and the New York City Web Development Fellowship as approaches that: “provide avenues for people who are unemployed or underemployed to [get] jobs with good wages and at the same time helping fill the talent gap that exists in the tech sector here in New York City.”

Torres-Springer had many kind words for an institution that no public official tires of praising: “Small businesses are the economic lifeblood not only of neighborhoods but the entire city… They are part of what makes our neighborhoods unique and vibrant… Economic self-determination is a path to the middle class.” She offered several ways to address the problems that New York City’s small businesses face, first and foremost “a maze of regulations… for businesses that have the least resources to deal with them.” Small Business First represents one such effort.

Torres-Springer’s speech reflected the de Blasio administration’s progressive ideology. She focused not only on businesses’ every day concerns, but also their responsibility to assist in advancing economic equality within the communities they inhabit. Torres-Springer’s approach is very much embodied in the Flatiron BID, which boasts a remarkable record of developing the neighborhood by means of public-private collaboration.

See a video clip of the event’s proceedings below:

Business Workshops

Following Commissioner Torres-Springers speech, attendees divided into four workshops provided by Flatiron District-based coding school General Assembly (a recently announced participant in the national “TechHire” tech training initiative) and NYC Business Solutions. The workshops offered were:

Business Growth Leadership – We Know What. Now, How?

With Larry Sharpe, the Managing Director of Neo-Sage Group, Inc., Instructor at Baruch’s College of Continuing and Professional Studies Department; and a guest instructor at Columbia’s Graduate School of Business and Yale University School of Management 

10 Internet User Statistics Every Small Business Should Know About

With Brooke Ballard, founder of B Squared Online Media LLC, marketing consultant, writer for the {grow} blog, co-host of Ready Set Podcast and part-time Lecturer at CUNY.

Alternate Funding Options – Crowdfunding and Peer-to-Peer Lending

With Ricardo Devallon, Senior Finance Account Manager of NYC Business Solutions, Lower Manhattan Center

Public Speaking and the 3 C’s: Confidence, Creativity & Comedy

With Allison Goldberg and Jen Jamula, co-creative directors of Lively Productions, co-creators and producers of

Thanks to the Flatiron BID, Baruch College, Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer and everyone else involved in the business assistance forum for an engaging and informative event.