It provided a big opportunity for small businesses.
Industry City (IC) and the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce collaborated to host their first Sunset Park Small Business Resource Fair & Networking Event, designed to provide opportunities for small businesses to expand, grow and help establish new local procurement channels, on Thursday, June 8.
The event — organized in conjunction with IC’s local partners, including Southwest Brooklyn Industrial Development Corporation, Opportunities for Better Tomorrow and Sunset Park Fifth Avenue BID — took place at 220 36th Street, with 100 businesses that are either in IC or in the industrial zone in Sunset Park outside of Industry City or along Third, Fourth and Fifth Avenues, and around 250 attendees.
CEO of IC Andrew Kimball was excited to bring the first-time event to the massive waterfront complex.
“It was an opportunity to bring these companies together to offer them an array of services that our partners provide, such as small business loans and financing, small business health care packages, services we provide in our Innovation Lab in terms of workforce development, job placement, training and then private sector opportunities like registering with Yelp or Google Small Business,” he said.
Kimball also noted it gives an opportunity for these companies to get together and network with each other.
“Small business in Sunset Park is growing rapidly,” he said. “There’s a lot of activity happening.” The event, he added, provides “An opportunity for Industry City to showcase some of what’s happening here and how small businesses might either do business with us, or do business with our tenants. We got fantastic feedback. There were a lot of signups for the various opportunities and services. We felt very good and I think our partners felt good as did the attendees.”
EVP and Chief of Staff for the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce Samara Karasyk also considered the networking event a huge success.
“We had a lot of people there. A lot of local businesses from Sunset Park were able to get access to services that otherwise they might not have known were available to them,” she said. “We had a lot of great community partners that were there. A lot of helpful conversations were had.”
According to Kimball, IC was the ideal location to hold such an event. “We wanted to provide a venue where people felt comfortable, to learn more about Industry City and interact with other small businesses in the community. We’ve made a lot of progress in terms of local procurement to date in terms of contact with local small businesses. We think that the more opportunities for small businesses,” he said.
“That we brought it to Sunset Park is important,” said Karasyk. “Industry City is an amazing partner and they really care about helping the community in all of their programming. There’s a lot of innovation going on that is intended to be inclusive for people that want training in their careers or to grow their businesses. I think it’s important we do programming in the neighborhoods where the businesses are located.”
Although the main focus of the evening was on growing small businesses, Kimball added that IC does plenty of workforce development as well through its Innovation Lab.
“The lab has been quite successful to date,” he said, “connecting local folks to jobs in Industry City and elsewhere, and in some cases provide training for those individuals.”
Attendees can expect more events that help grow small business.
“I’ve been here five years and it’s the first I’ve seen in the neighborhood,” said Kimball. “Everyone felt this was useful and positive, and we should do it again, so we’re currently planning that.”