The rapidly changing landscape of Harlem hasÂ claimed several small businesses as victims of change. Lenox Lounge, Hue-Man Bookstore and Harlem Vintage are all examples of businesses that have closed recently, never to reopen.
To prevent more businesses from closing, the Harlem Business Alliance has announced that it will put a $700,000 three-year grant toward opening a Small Business Support Center, in hopes that it will assist business owners in the area.
Using a grant from the Community Economic Development Program from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the alliance will partner with IncubateNYC to expand their place on 275 Lenox Avenue. The group hopes to offer shared office space and other business incubation services.
The center will focus on assisting local shops with the skills and tools they need to stay afloat. Emphasis will especially be placed on teaching marketing, bid preparation, payroll and other crucial operations that many business owners have little to no experience in.
Regina Smith, the group’s executive director told DNAinfo: “Often times we hear about it at the last minute when we might have been able to cut through the bureaucracy and provide early assistance and support. It is distressing to us that we are losing so many black-owned businesses in the community. We need to be able to do more and that’s why we are pulling together this center.â€
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