The Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce – the most visible and outspoken advocate for Brooklyn’s economic recovery during the Covid-19 pandemic – hosted its Annual Meeting and Winter Gala on Tuesday at El Caribe Country Club in Mill Basin.
Governor Kathy Hochul delivered the evening’s keynote speech, addressing 2.6 million Brooklynites, 62,000 small business owners, some of NYC’s top economic development advocates, elected officials and voters, and discussing her administration’s efforts to support small businesses hit hard by the pandemic and revive New York’s economy.
“Small businesses are vital to our local economies, and supporting small businesses owners in Brooklyn who got hit hard by the pandemic is critical to our economic recovery efforts,” Governor Hochul said. “That’s why I’ve taken steps to provide more pandemic relief to small businesses, make it easier for small business owners to access government resources, and continue to create opportunities for minority or women-owned businesses to ensure an equitable recovery. We will continue to do everything we can to put small business owners first as we work to bring our economy back.”
Also in attendance were several prominent elected officials from across Kings County, including U.S. Congressman Jerry Nadler; NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams; NYS Senator Zellnor Myrie; NYS Senator Andrew Gounardes; NYS Senator Roxanne Persaud; NYS Assemblymember Phara Souffrant Forrest; NYS Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte-Hermelyn; NYS Assemblymember Peter Abbate; NYS Assemblymember Steven Cymbrowitz; NYC Councilmember Farah Louis; NYC Councilmember Kalman Yeger; and incoming NYC Councilmember Mercedes Narcisse.
Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Randy Peers introduced Governor Hochul, and addressed key issues impacting Brooklyn’s economic recovery, including one-third of local businesses owing back rent, widespread labor shortages, supply chain chokepoints, and rising inflation.
Since the onset of the pandemic, Peers has been a forceful voice chronicling the devastation of the small business community, and a developer of innovative and impactful programs that helped countless struggling businesses survive.
“Brooklyn’s vital small businesses including many minority and immigrant-owned companies have suffered enormous hardships during the Covid-19 pandemic, and while too many were forced to permanently close, the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce has provided critical opportunities supporting thousands of businesses toward recovery.”
Peers continued, “Through key initiatives like the Social Justice Fund, an effort made possible through a ten-year, $50 million commitment by the Joe and Clara Tsai Foundation, The NYC Small Business Resource Network, and the Bring Back Brooklyn Fund, the Chamber has been central to nearly every effort to revive Brooklyn’s economy, and we look forward to continuing the mission into 2022 and beyond.”
The evening began with a trade show and cocktail party, featuring a cross section of Brooklyn home team industries, businesses and organizations, including Addus Homecare, AcneDesign, the Brooklyn Cyclones, Brooklyn Eagle, Con Edison, DIME Community Bank, Empire State Bank, Fiserv, Glenwood Mason Supply, Lilac Chocolates, Lishawn’s Cupcakes, Mercedes Benz, Nine Muses Travel, Northfield Bank, NU Hotel, Penda Aiken, Inc., RegenLab USA. Step.Into City, St. Francis College, and Up n Go.
Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors Chair Ana Oliveira enthusiastically greeted attendees. “It’s been an extremely difficult almost two years for businesses across the borough, and through it all, the Chamber has been a constant voice fighting to ensure their needs are supported,” said Oliveira. “We are grateful and immensely proud of thousands of businesses’ tenacity and perseverance to push on against the odds and lead Brooklyn’s economic recovery.”
Following Chairwoman Oliveira, the Chamber announced its incoming class of new members to the Board of Directors, including Amy Griffith, Group Director of Public Affairs for The Coca-Cola Company; Tyquana Henderson–Rivers, founder of Connective Strategies; Mia Shernoff, Global Head of Marketing of First Data; Tiffany Joy Murchison, founder of TJM & Co. Media Boutique; Dr. Patricia Ramsey, President of Medgar Evers College; and Eugene Shvartsman, VP, Head of Government Affairs at Cross River Bank.