National Small Business Week began this past Monday with a kickoff forum at the General Society Hall in Manhattan on Friday. The event united Jewish community leaders, city, and state officials to raise awareness of resources and services available to business owners throughout the state and allowed them to network as they continue to recover from the pandemic and seek new growth opportunities as they are at the core of the city’s path to rebuild and reinvent herself.

The program included the participation of New York City Department of Small Business Services (SBS) Commissioner Kevin D. Kim, who spoke of his department’s offerings for small businesses to restart and grow. Chris White, Deputy Commissioner for New York State’s Workforce Development, spoke of the Department of Labor’s new online job fair programs that have garnered over 90,000 participants. White also noted various methods for businesses to find and hire assistance.

New York City Council Member Julie Menin, Chair of the Committee on Small Business, addressed the gathering to discuss legislation efforts that are underway to aid and empower New York’s small business community.

“It was an honor for the Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce to be the group to host New York City’s small business kickoff event that brought together a diverse group of New York City’s leaders,” said Duvi Honig, Founder and CEO of the Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce. The historic toll that COVID-19 took on New York City businesses is difficult, but with empowerment small business leaders are given tools to shape an inclusive economic recovery with courage and resilience. The event highlighted a strategic vision brought by the SBS for our small businesses.

The event included the participation of NYPD Inspector Richie Taylor; Rabbi Mendy Miroznick, EVP, Rabbinical Alliance of America; and Joel Friedman and Naftuli Moshe Indig of the chasidic community. Joel Eisdorfer, a senior advisor to Mayor Eric Adams, was recognized with the Small Business Advocacy Award for his work on behalf of small business recovery efforts. Eisdorfer excused the mayor’s absence, as the funeral for New York City Firefighter Timothy Klein was underway and, on behalf of the mayor, led a moment of silence followed by pledging a strong commitment to restart our small businesses and help them flourish.

The event was also hosted by the Greater New York Chamber and its president Mark Jaffe, and recognized Voza Rivers, First Vice President of the Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce.

The event began with a networking, followed by a panel, award ceremony, and a question-and-answer segment that brought together voices like James Hendon, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Veterans’ Services; Neil Gilberg of the NYS Workers Compensation Board; Joseph Tazwell, Regional Director, Empire State Development; NYS Comptroller’s office, IRS tax specialists, and SBA regional representatives.

 By Shabsie Saphirstein