Guest Op-Ed: Recapping a great year

It’s hard to believe it has been a year since I became president and CEO of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce. As they say, “Time flies when you’re having fun.”

I have definitely had fun. In 12 months, the Brooklyn Chamber has grown in a manner even I did not think possible. We doubled our membership (from 700 to 1,400 with Ben Bay Realty being our 1,400th member) and we have been involved with many new programs and initiatives with our partners on the city and state levels.

Although it is great to look back, we also need to look forward.

During my year at the Brooklyn Chamber, I have met many great small business owners and entrepreneurs – all creative and hard-working – who embody the very thing that makes this borough great.

Whether in the form of a new product or service, people of all races, colors and creeds who call Brooklyn home have started businesses that have helped employ others and contribute to New York City’s overall economy.

These entrepreneurs work in an array of sectors – from food to design to tech – and the Brooklyn Chamber’s mission is to highlight these fields and the people who work in them.

At our annual meeting and trade show on October 23 at Gargiulo’s in Coney Island, we will present the first-ever “Made in Brooklyn” awards. We will honor people who make products in the borough in the field of food and beverage, design, and technology.

Nearly a year after Hurricane Sandy, the “Made in Brooklyn” awards will allow us to highlight and celebrate the best of what Brooklyn has to offer. Of course, we have highlighted these sectors before in the form of BKLYN Designs, Brooklyn Eats and Building Brooklyn Awards, but these awards will allow us – with the help of an expert panel of jurors – determine the ones which stand out the most.

Brooklyn has become New York City’s center for creativity. We want to honor those who make products here and at the same time create jobs. In addition, we will give out a fourth award for a maker in one of the three aforementioned categories that is a MWBE-owned business.

In the meantime, September was great. We had our first member orientation after taking the summer off and we are happy to say that we are closing in on our goal of reaching 1,500 members by the end of the year.

Furthermore, we continued our “Chamber Visits …” networking events with a trip to Bay Ridge in July and one to Brooklyn Heights in September. Thank you to Citibank, a major member of the Brooklyn Chamber, for hosting us at your Montague Street branch. In addition, thank you to our board chair, Denise Arbesu, for your hard work and support.

The fall promises to be a great time for the Brooklyn Chamber and for our members. Please make it a habit to visit our website on a regular basis and register for our events.

Photo courtesy of Carlo Scissura.

Carlo A. Scissura is president and CEO of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce. For more information on the Brooklyn Chamber or to become a member, visit or call 718-875-1000.  

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