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Local groups merge to boost businesses

Bronx entrepreneurs have a new resource to help them boost business while creating job.

The launching of a partnership between Mott Haven-based Start Small Think Big and the Hunts Point-based Business Outreach Center was celebrated at a Nov. 22 ribbon-cutting ceremony at the BankNote building where the new business will operate.

“Of the five boroughs, The Bronx has the fastest growing rate of start-up small businesses, especially among the immigrant communities. It is a very dynamic borough,” said Nancy Carin, executive director of the Business Outreach Center. The center developed as a project of the Hunts Point Economic Development Corporation.

Prior to the new arrangement, potential clients had limited access to Start Small Think Big’s legal services. But now the organization will work as a business incubator for the borough’s entrepreneurs.

The new service will include financial coaching, free legal services, referrals, workshops and loans. The Outreach Center’s Women’s Business Center has helped over 100 companies form and grow.

In its role as business incubator, the new organization will help new enterprises to get started.

Carin said she hopes the network will attract other organizations, including banks, to support the new alliance. The merger between her group and Start Small Think Big “creates more opportunities for the businesses in the Bronx.”

One local business owner says the support and advice of Start Small Think Big has helped her enterprise to flourish.

Geneva Wilson, the founder of Ms. Geneva 50/50 and Isis Community Circle, both of which help create menus of nutritious food for Bronx schools and hospitals, says she learned about starting and operating a small business through the group’s workshops. Learning fundamental skills such as bookkeeping has helped her prosper in a niche business that serves residents.

“You don’t need to be rich and have many employees to know what to being a business owner entails,” said Wilson, adding that the training she has received “has helped me impact my community.”

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