In the months after Mayor Eric Adams released his Blueprint for New York City’s Economic Recovery, the City Council has been working on a bill requiring the Small Business Services commissioner to create what it is calling a “one-stop-shop NYC business portal.” There, council member said, companies will be able to find information about regulations and access applications for licenses and permits. Business operators will be able to submit and check on the status of applications, permits, and licenses in one place, according to the bill’s summary.
SBS Commissioner Kevin Kim is expected to complete a review that will determine the services needed on the portal by Sept. 1. The portal is expected to be up and running by Dec. 1.
Business leaders say the devil will be in the details, especially given the problems businesses encountered applying for Covid-relief grants and loans at the city, state and federal level.
Advocates pointed out that the portal will need to be translated into multiple languages to be useful to small-business owners for whom English is not their native tongue. The current plan is to translate it into 10 commonly spoken languages, according to Tian Weinberg of SBS.
Bill sponsor Julie Menin of Manhattan said her work on the sick-leave law in New York had to be made available in 24 languages to be effective.
Other advocates called for in-person help for business operators who are not tech-savvy.
Max Bookman, a lawyer at regulatory firm Pesetsky & Bookman, which works closely with the NYC Hospitality Alliance, stressed the importance of streamlining communication through the portal and not over email. Bookman said many firms encounter a chaotic stream of follow-up email requests from city agencies that further complicates the process of applying for a permit.
The push to streamline business operations comes after Adams in January instructed city agencies to review nonessential regulations and punitive fines. As a result, 118 regulations were reformed and 30 eliminated, according to the city.