Renaissance Launches East Village Small Business Revitalization Fund

Renaissance is stepping up to assist small businesses in Manhattan’s East Village neighborhood with a new fund. The East Village Revitalization Loan Fund was unveiled July 30 in partnership with City Councilwoman Carlina Rivera and community advocates.

The $500,000 fund was established, in part, to address persistent concerns we heard from small businesses during a series of outreach events in 2018. Local mom-and-pops are struggling to survive in the face of rising rents, dwindling foot traffic and other factors. New and existing businesses will have the opportunity to borrow up to $50,000 at rates as low as 3%. Loans may be used for storefront upgrades, business expansion and working capital.  (Please see the flyer below for more details).

During a press event in front of several shuttered storefronts, a Renaissance client, Tamika Gabaroum, talked about her plans to open a restaurant called Green Garden at 332 East 9th St. The buffet-style spot, featuring healthy French food, will be the fulfillment of a lifelong dream for Gabaroum. After a two year ordeal with two separate landlords, Gabaroum, who moved to this country from Kenya, faced many obstacles including mounting legal fees. A loan from Renaissance is helping make Green Garden a reality.

Council Member Rivera spoke of her recently approved legislation to require the city to complete assessments of each neighborhood’s small business economy. And the Village Alliance announced the creation of a new app, a digital platform which links neighborhood residents with small business information and deals.

Rivera said, “Small businesses are essential parts of what make neighborhoods in New York City unique. When a small business closes, it is not only a loss for their neighborhood’s local economy, but also for its vibrancy and character. That is why I’m so proud we recently passed legislation to address these issues, and that our partners in the community are working with us to protect and empower New York’s small business community with new these tools.”

Jennifer Sun, co-executive director of Asian Americans for Equality (Renaissance’s parent organization), said, “We know that high rents and a changing marketplace are making it incredibly difficult for our immigrant small businesses to survive and grow. This fund and our multilingual counseling services will help sustain this vibrant neighborhood’s treasured mom-and-pop businesses.” 

Renaissance is partnering with the Cooper Square Committee, East Village Community Coalition and the East Village Independent Merchants Association to get the word out about the new fund.

(Photo: Small business owner Tamika Gabaroum with City Councilwoman Carlina Rivera, AAFE Co-Executive Director Jennifer Sun, Renaissance Managing Director Jessie Lee and community advocates in the East Village.)