Friday, July 27, 2012

MCC Welcomes New Partners

The Manhattan Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce the following new partnerships:

MetLife has joined MCC as Platinum Level Partner.


Verizon has joined MCC as a Bronze Level Partner.

MCC thanks these two new partners who will support MCC’s initiatives in support of the local business community!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Transform your business into a community

This post is from "Cindy's Blog" written by Cindy Bates, VP from Microsoft’s SMB&D Team. Please click below to see the link to her blog. MCC is a Silver partner of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce.

Building a strong customer community is a topic I plan to devote more time to on this blog, in part because I really believe it’s a way for small businesses to foster affinity among their customer base and grow their business.

One small business that has been particularly effective at building a customer community is located in my neck of the woods. Seattle-based evo sprang from humble beginnings, when founder Bryce Phillips started the company in his Seattle apartment in 2001. A lot has changed since then. evo now serves as a ski, skate and snowboard shop, clothing store, art gallery and a community gathering place.

Over the past 10 years or so, Bryce has focused on creating a retail experience that brings together all of the things evo customers love, including cultural events and non-profit efforts, into one physical space. In so doing, he’s created more than a loyal customer base - but an actual community of brand loyalists.

The community aspect is inherent in how evo has built its business. Its online presence mirrors its physical Seattle space, with photos and witty bios of evo employees. The company blog communicates personality and reaches beyond the company’s local geographic area through generous giveaways, attention-grabbing videos and all kinds of news related to an active lifestyle. What’s more, customers who order products from evo are often treated to personal thank you notes with their purchase.

Want to find inject community-building strategies into your customer relationships? Here are a few more examples of what evo has done that you spark ideas for your own business:
Clarity in mission. evo’s owners know exactly what they want the company to be about and who they want to reach. Their corporate mission is to promote collaboration between culture and sport. Since there’s no waffling on why evo exists, they can more effectively target their intended audience with events and efforts that really speak to individuals interested in culture and sport, including skateboard and snowboard mentorships for kids. For some basics on developing a corporate mission statement, check out this Entrepreneur article.
A willingness to think beyond product transactions. Movie premieres and art showings might not sell ski gear today, but they do succeed in creating a great impression and certainly contribute toward positive word-of-mouth. Try holding a company brainstorm and see what ideas you and your employees can drum up to think beyond the cash register. Businesses with physical storefronts should certainly consider on-site events, while companies that only have online presences can explore community-oriented options including tweet-ups, online forums and live streaming of speakers or events.
Contagious passion. evo’s employees clearly have a passion for the urban, action sports lifestyle. Getting into their customers’ brains is easy since they already are their ideal customer. When bringing new members onto your team, ask yourself, “Can I envision this person demonstrating enthusiasm for our product/service and their role within the company?” Of course not all businesses center on hobbies or products that intrinsically get people excited, but even when it comes to the worlds of plumbing and insurance, leading companies will exude a passion for excellence in whatever they do or sell and passion begins with employees. Figure out what you need to do to kindle or rekindle enthusiasm among your employees, even if it means injecting more humor into your company’s culture, supporting continuing education or learning opportunities, or even hosting more office parties and friendly competitions.

Are there any companies you admire or do business with because of the community they’ve created? If so, I’d love to hear about them and why you think they’re succeeding in building community.

Cindy's Blog

Monday, July 23, 2012

Microsoft Research Debuts N.Y.C. Lab

Here is news from MCC Silver Partner Microsoft about their new research lab:

By Rob Knies
May 2, 2012 9:00 PM PT
In the two decades since the formation of Microsoft Research, the organization has grown from its beginnings on Microsoft’s corporate headquarters in Redmond, Wash., into a global powerhouse with 12 labs across four continents—all devoted to advancing the state of the art in computing research and contributing cutting-edge advancements to Microsoft products.
Beginning May 3, that lab count increases to a baker’s dozen—with the creation of Microsoft Research New York City.
“The addition of Microsoft Research New York City reflects the company’s long-term investment in basic research,” said Rick Rashid, Microsoft chief research officer and head of Microsoft Research. “In concert with Microsoft’s product groups, Microsoft Research guides and influences the company’s pursuit of applying transformative technologies and new technology trends to its products and services.”
The new lab, to be based in Manhattan, will be led by Jennifer Chayes, who now will be managing director of both Microsoft Research New England, which she founded in July 2008, and Microsoft Research New York City.
“The Microsoft Research New York City lab reflects an opportunity for Microsoft Research researchers and developers worldwide,” Chayes said, “to interact deeply with the vibrant academic and tech communities in the New York metropolitan area, as well as an opportunity to attract great new talent to Microsoft.”
Fifteen world-class researchers form the lab’s initial team, including three founding members, each of whom is a leader in fields of vital importance to Microsoft Research and brings strong ties to the academic community of the New York metropolitan area:
  • David Pennock, who conducts research at the intersection of computer science and economics, is past chair of the Association for Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group on Electronic Commerce, the academic organization dedicated to topics in that area. Pennock will serve as assistant managing director of the new lab.
  • Duncan Watts, a former full professor of Sociology at Columbia University and a pioneer of modern network science, focuses on computational and experimental social science. He is the author of three books, including Six Degrees: The Science of a Connected Age and, most recently, Everything Is Obvious*: Once You Know the Answer.
  • John Langford, whose interests are in scalable interactive machine learning, learning reductions, and other irresistible research topics, is the program co-chair for this year’s International Conference on Machine Learning.
The three, each of whom previously worked for Yahoo! Research, represent Microsoft Research’s ongoing ability to attract the best and brightest researchers, and their particular strengths underscore the close alignment between the New York City and New England labs.
Microsoft Research New England has developed a reputation for being rich in interdisciplinary research, and it pursues work in social media, empirical economics, and machine learning, in addition to theoretical computer science, cryptography, and mathematics.
The New York City lab will investigate complementary research areas: computational and experimental social science, algorithmic economics, and machine learning, along with information retrieval. The close collaboration of the two labs, and their interaction with the rest of Microsoft Research, is designed to extend state-of-the-art work in these key areas.
The new researchers will engage in large-scale machine learning, prediction, and online-market design. They also will develop new techniques in the fields of both computational and online experimental social science.
Their research will help to shape the technology of the future, and they all expressed an eagerness to embrace their new roles.
David Pennock
David Pennock
“It’s an incredible opportunity,” Pennock said. “We get to start a new branch of Microsoft Research, which is the best place in the world to do research. It’s a chance to work with some great people in the New England lab and throughout Microsoft Research and Microsoft. It’s an incredible time for Microsoft, and we are looking forward to doing great research and having great product impact within the company.”
Pennock added that the new lab will be able to plug into a thriving New York tech ecosystem.
“In addition to growing our already strong ties to the academic research community,” he said, “we’d like to play our part in the New York City tech scene, including the startup, venture-capitalist, and hack/make communities, plus the new Cornell-Technion campus, contributing what we can to Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s vision of New York City as a tech hub.”
Watts has a similar goal.
“My ambition for the New York City lab is that it will become a leading center, if not the leading center, for computational and experimental social science,” he said, “leveraging the intellectual capital of the New York City academic community, the tremendous data assets of Microsoft and Microsoft’s partners, and the rapidly growing local tech scene.
“The scope of what we can do here is incredible, and the support we have received already from the Microsoft Research community is both gratifying and impressive.”
Langford relishes the opportunities afforded by Microsoft Research’s position in the research community.
John Langford
John Langford
“Machine learning is shifting from an academic discipline to an industrial tool,” he observed. “In the process, many new research problems are being discovered, shifting the center of gravity of research to a place between industry and academia, exactly where Microsoft Research lies.
“The sheer scale of Microsoft also implies that successful research can be used many times across the company. It’s always fun to have deployed systems to brag about, and the more, the merrier.”
In addition to Pennock, Watts, and Langford, the group of founding members of the New York City lab includes Dan Goldstein and Siddharth Suri, experts in experimental and behavioral social science; Sharad Goel and Jake Hofman, experts in computational social science; and David Rothschild, an expert in economics and prediction markets.
A key part of Microsoft Research’s mission is to give Microsoft the agility to respond immediately when the world changes—or to change the world itself. The new researchers at Microsoft Research New York City found that allure impossible to resist. Langford cited four reasons why:
  • “Microsoft moved very fast in making decisions, and I sincerely appreciate the agility.”
  • “Microsoft has simultaneously become a more open and competitive company, including, in my case, support for Vowpal Wabbit.”
  • “Microsoft Research has a strong tradition of support for basic research, which I greatly value.”
  • “A combination of outstanding and unique opportunities for future collaborations yielding products and research.”
For Watts, it was the whole package that tipped the scale.
Duncan Watts
Duncan Watts
“Microsoft Research is a world-class research organization with a long history and a deeply rooted culture of appreciation for both basic and applied science,” he said. “The opportunity to found a new Microsoft Research lab is one that comes along only rarely, and the chance to do it in such a great city as New York is, for me personally, even more special and exciting. It really feels like a once-in-a-career opportunity.”
Pennock actually has firsthand experience at Microsoft Research, having interned at the Redmond lab in 1998 under Eric Horvitz, now a Microsoft distinguished scientist and deputy managing director of Microsoft Research Redmond. Over the years, Pennock has maintained professional relationships with Microsoft Research colleagues such as Horvitz, Chris Meek, Moshe Babaioff, and Moshe Tennenholtz. But it was Chayes who, for him, proved convincing.
“The one thing that really sealed the deal for me was Jennifer,” Pennock said, “and the opportunity to work for her, not just by reputation but by her actions.
“The other thing is that Microsoft Research New England has a lot of the same ideals. It’s an interdisciplinary group, and that’s exactly the kind of work I do, at the intersection between computer science and economics. Duncan works at the intersection of computer science and sociology. We are, by nature, interdisciplinary, and that’s exactly what we see at Microsoft Research New England. They have economists. They have computer scientists and sociologists. It’s just a natural fit.”
Pennock stressed that Microsoft Research New York City will have a wealth of leadership at its disposal as it begins to carve out its own particular niche.
“Duncan and John are great leaders,” he said, “and Jennifer and Christian Borgs [deputy managing director of Microsoft Research New England] are, as well. We’ll all be working together in a consensus style to run the new lab.”
His initial plans include diving into research, beginning to attract a stream of world-class visitors from academia, and building relationships within Microsoft.
“One thing we’re going to do right away is visit Redmond and get to know the product groups,” Pennock said. “We’ll be working a lot with the Online Services Division, so we want to meet those folks. We’ll also be talking to people in the Server and Tools Business. We want to make sure we are looped into the company and thinking about Microsoft products from Bing to Xbox to servers to … everything.”
That sort of passion bodes well for the newest member of the Microsoft Research constellation. For more enthusiasm, read Chayes’ blog post about the creation of Microsoft Research New York City.

Friday, July 20, 2012

New York Clean Energy Trade Mission to India, November 3 – 11, 2012

Mission Rationale:

The U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC), the City of New York and the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, with technical support from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), are collaboratively organizing the New York Clean Energy Trade Mission to India, scheduled for November 3-11, 2012 (including stops in Mumbai, Delhi and Chennai). The Mission will focus on facilitating business in India’s emerging market for energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and services by: 1) introducing NY companies to industry representatives and potential clients and partners; and 2) introducing NY companies to Indian government officials in India to learn about policy initiatives that will impact the implementation of energy generation, energy conservation and environmental projects. 

Urban India has attracted investment based on strong growth and is expected to generate nearly 70 percent of GDP by 2030, but as the urban population and its incomes rise, need for every service will expand five-to-seven folds, including energy. India will need to dramatically step up urban infrastructure to bridge the gap between service demands and availability, which will require $ 1.2 trillion worth of investments in capital expenditure in cities over the next two decades.

Mission Outline:

The mission will help participating firms gain market insights, make industry contacts, solidify business strategies, and advance specific projects, with the goal of increasing NY green exports to India. The mission will include one-on-one business appointments with pre-screened potential buyers, agents, distributors and joint venture partners; meeting with national, regional and local government officials; and networking events. Participating in an official U.S. industry delegation, rather than traveling to India on their own, will enhance the companies’ ability to secure productive meetings in India.

Additionally, in Delhi, the 6th Renewable Energy India 2012 Expo, which will allow delegates to tap into a wealth of local contacts for matchmaking and participate in industry seminars that include public speaking opportunities. Matchmaking efforts will involve multipliers such as the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII), Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), the American Chamber of Commerce, the Energy Cooperation Program partners and local Chambers of Commerce and Industries in India. U.S. participants will be counseled before and after the mission by CS India staff and other federal agencies actively involved in clean technology trade promotion activities in India.

More Information:

For more information and to learn how to become a part of this mission, please contact Laura Bucko, VP/Director of Communications, Manhattan Chamber of Commerce at

Leading Women Entrepreneurs from Around the World to Gather in Barcelona in October, 2012 for Sixth Annual International Women's Entrepreneurial Challenge

Picture taken at the 2011 IWEC Awardees Ceremony in NYC hosted by Asia Society 

Leading Women Entrepreneurs from Around the World to Gather in Barcelona in October, 2012 for Sixth Annual International Women's Entrepreneurial Challenge
Three women business owners from NYC area chosen as awardees and representatives of the US at the Conference

July 20, 2011 (NEW YORK) – Yesterday the NYC IWEC Steering Committee (under the umbrella of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce) announced three women business owners chosen from a pool of applicants who will represent the US at the IWEC Conference in Barcelona in October.

The 2012 NYC/US awardees are:
Maureen Borzacchiello, CEO, Creative Display Solutions, Inc.
Janice Hamilton, CEO, Carrot New York
Ann Kayman, CEO NY Grant Company

Twenty-six of the world’s most promising women entrepreneurs will be recognized at the sixth annual International Women’s Entrepreneurial Challenge (IWEC) awards conference, hosted by the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce.  IWEC is an initiative of the Chamber of Commerce of Barcelona, the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry Ladies Organization. The conference and awards ceremony bring together leading female entrepreneurs who are building thriving and growing ventures globally and honors those who have been chosen by their local chambers for their perseverance, growth and corporate social responsibility.

Often defying societal and cultural expectations, this talented group of women has transformed localized start-up companies into multi-million dollar organizations. These 26 CEOs, managing directors, presidents, founders and owners operate their businesses in a variety of regions and across industries ranging from management consulting to retail, organic health and beauty, technology, and hospitality, and others. And these are not small businesses. In 2010 and 2011 alone, IWEC has honored entrepreneurs whose businesses generate upwards of $3 billion in annual revenues and directly or indirectly employ more than 30,000 people.

As part of the conference, the IWEC honorees will be taking part in a four-day education and networking program held in various locations around Barcelona. They will be introduced to investors, potential commercial partners, trade officials, and more than 500 other entrepreneurs in an effort to expand their businesses and increase their exposure to global business contacts. This will be the second time that Barcelona has hosted an IWEC Awards Conference having launched the conference in 2007.  Other host chambers/cities have been New York,(20087 & 2011) New Delhi (2009) and Cape Town (2010).
The Manhattan Chamber of Commerce (MCC) is a membership organization comprised of a cross section of member businesses ranging from sole proprietors to large corporations and conglomerates. With 10,000 members and subscribers, we represent the voice of over 100,000 companies in Manhattan and partner with over 300 diverse business organizations in the city.  Our members are part of one of the largest constituencies in the country representing approximately 1.6 million US employees and approximately 4.5 million employees globally.  Locally, our member companies have over 165,000 employees.  And, collectively, our member companies account for over $630 billion dollars in annual revenues.

An evening event was hosted last evening by MetLife to introduce the awardees, co-sponsored by Qdoba and Optimyze.

About IWEC     

The mission of IWEC is to develop a global business network for successful women business owners, helping them gain and expand access to international markets.IWEC also presents a platform for the exchange of knowledge, experience and connectivity among women business owners worldwide setting the stage for new business opportunities and joint ventures, and promoting social dialog among women entrepreneurs and business leaders.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

MCC Announces New Board Member KD Acharya of Anchin, Block & Anchin LLP Accountants and Advisors

MCC Announces New Board Member KD Acharya of Anchin, Block & Anchin LLP Accountants and Advisors

Kuldeepak Acharya, CPA - Partner

Kuldeepak (KD) Acharya, CPA, is an accounting and audit partner at Anchin, Block & Anchin LLP. He advises clients on a wide range of industries including manufacturing and distribution, construction, apparel and textile, and entertainment and advertising. As a founding member of the Citi-Anchin Indian Business Initiative, KD works with Indian businesses on foreign trade and tax issues, helping them to navigate complicated international tax challenges. 

KD also lends his experience and expertise to the Firm’s mergers and acquisitions team, Anchin Capital Advisors. In this capacity, KD has helped owners develop and execute an advantageous merger or acquisition strategy that allowed them to meet their business and personal goals. Throughout his career, KD has been involved in many acquisitions and sales of businesses, performing the due diligence work, evaluating the business’s strengths and weaknesses, reviewing the financial and business terms of the legal documents, developing tax structures, advising management, and other aspects of mergers and acquisition transactions. 

The Citi-Anchin Indian Business Initiative, which has presented programs on topics such as State and Local Tax Incentives for Businesses; Economic Development; Promoting Growth for Indian-American Businesses and Indian Multi-National Subsidiaries; The Advantages of Going Green; and Financing Capital Projects. KD is very active in the Indian community and often participates in international business events, including World Trade Week in New York City.

 KD is an active member of various community networking organizations and a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).

In addition to English, he is fluent in Hindi and Gujarati.


M.S. University India, B.S., Accounting

ICAI India, Chartered Accountant

MCC Welcomes New Board Member Britt Wenzel of Time Warner Cable

MCC Welcomes New Board Member Britt Wenzel of Time Warner Cable. Britton joined Time Warner Cable in 2004.

Throughout his career at TWC he has held several Business Operations and Business Development roles.

Currently Britt is the Director of Business Intelligence for the East Region Commercial team.

Britt received a BA from Hofstra University and an MBA from Fordham University. He and his Family reside on Long Island, New York.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

MCC Member Dr. Gregory L. Cotton Participates in “A Billion + Change”

MCC Member Dr. Gregory L. Cotton responded to our call to participate in “A Billion + Change" which resulted in his being invited to speak at The White House. Here's what Dr. Cotton told us about his experience:

"The “A Billion + Change” organization envisions 500 companies working together to inspire the largest commitment of skills-based pro bono service in history. Industry leaders, CEOs from small, medium, and large companies, along with Obama Administration leaders, engaged in a thought-provoking and inspiring event that was hosted by The White House. 

The overall theme of the event was centered on adding value to our companies and communities while meeting the challenges of the 21st century. I was asked to discuss, from a small business CEO perspective, the merits of skills-based pro bono service and how my company overcame scheduling difficulties. I also spoke about our volunteer efforts with regards to our ongoing and permanent commitment to the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce (committees and events), along with our work with Junior Achievement, College Interns, the Water for Sudan initiative, and our work with other non-profits.

On the 27th of June I participated on a panel at The White House. MCC sent me some info on "A Billion + Change". I signed up my company to pledge $1 million in skills-based pro bono service by 2013.

I have attached a photo of the panel.

Starting from left to right:

Jean Case, CEO of The Case Foundation (moderator)

Dr. Gregory L. Cotton, President & CEO, COTTON7 Global Enterprises 

Joe Echevarria, CEO, Deloitte LLP 

John Finneran, General Counsel, Capital One 

Al Golin, Chairman, GolinHarris 

Herve Hummler, President & COO, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, LLC

Its not every day that you get the chance to sit on a panel at The White House!"

Congratulations from MCC, Dr. Cotton!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

7-Eleven Expands Manhattan Operation and Franchise Opportunities

by 7-Eleven


Contact: Margaret Chabris, 7-Eleven, Inc.


July 11, 2011 -- 7-Eleven, Inc., the world’s largest convenience retailer and in its 85th year, is expanding the number of its locations in Manhattan with the goal of reaching 90 to 100 7-Eleven stores on the island by the end of 2017.

And with each new opening comes the opportunity for a local business person to become a 7-Eleven franchisee, backed by proprietary technology, equipment, products, processes, marketing and business support.

Currently there are 19 stores in Manhattan with a concentration in the downtown area, but the company is eyeing sites from the Financial District to Inwood.

Known for its Slurpee drinks and quick-serve fresh and hot foods, new 7-Eleven outposts arrived this year in the Bowery, Greenwich Village, Chelsea and Upper East Side.

Beginning next year, 7-Eleven plans to ramp up it growth, adding 20 more locations, ranging in size from 1,500 square feet to 3,000 square feet, every year for the next 5 years.

It’s all part of the company’s accelerated growth plan not only for Manhattan, but the other four boroughs as well as key metropolitan markets across the country.

“When you consider the population density, the number of workers and visitors in Manhattan, there's significant demand and growth opportunities for the 7-Eleven brand of convenience retailing,” said Dan Porter, 7-Eleven vice president of real estate. “Manhattan is a strong market for us, and we want to be accessible to Manhattanites, workers and visitors anytime they need us.

“In Manhattan, we prefer building store-front spaces in high foot-traffic areas, close to subways, hospitals, universities and residential areas,” Porter added.

Landlords, property owners and developers find 7-Eleven appealing because of its long history of providing convenience to consumers and investment-grade tenant rating.

7-Eleven store development and real estate information is available at

In addition to providing at least 10 new jobs for each new store, 7-Eleven creates to franchise opportunities for local, qualified residents. Typically, the cost for a new 7-Eleven franchise runs between $200,000 and $700,000, depending on location.

The company also has a business conversion program whereby an existing business can convert to a 7-Eleven franchise. 7-Eleven will invest up to $250,000 to add its proprietary equipment and technology.

Plus qualified military veterans can franchise their first 7-Eleven store at a discount, with savings between $1,000 and $35,000.

The company is actively seeking qualified franchise operators in the New York City area.

As one of the world’s largest and most successful franchisors, 7-Eleven seeks candidates with the following qualifications:

financial background and successful experience in business or business ownership
retail, management and customer service–related experience within the US
commitment to invest time in initial 7-Eleven store operation training and to personally manage the day-to-day operation of a 24/7 convenience retail business
ability to motivate and train staff
an entrepreneurial drive
strong business ethics
good credit history
permanent US citizen and 21 years of age or older

Potential 7-Eleven franchisees can attend local and free, bi-monthly open houses and seminars on the 7-Eleven franchise system and long-term benefits of being a 7-Eleven franchisee, including acquiring multiple locations. Current, NYC 7-Eleven franchise event listings can be found at
and information about 7-Eleven’s franchising programs can be found at

About 7-Eleven, Inc.

7-Eleven, Inc. is the premier name and largest chain in the convenience retailing industry. Based in Dallas, Texas, 7-Eleven operates, franchises or licenses approximately 9,300 7-Eleven® stores in North America. Globally, there are more than 46,800 7-Eleven stores in 16 countries. During 2011, 7-Eleven stores worldwide generated total sales close to $76.6 billion. 7-Eleven has been honored by a number of companies and organizations recently. Accolades include: #2 on Forbes magazine’s 2011 list of Top Franchises for the Money; #3 spot on Entrepreneur magazine’s Franchise 500 list for 2012, #3 in Forbes magazine’s Top 20 Franchises to Start, and #2 in Franchise Times Top 200 Franchise Companies. Hispanic Magazine named 7-Eleven among its Hispanic Corporate Top 100 Companies that provide the most opportunities to Hispanics. 7-Eleven received the 2010 Retailer of the Year honor from PL Buyer because of the company's private-label brand initiative. 7-Eleven is franchising its stores in the U.S. and expanding through organic growth, acquisitions and its Business Conversion Program. Find out more online at

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

MCC Welcomes New Board Member Wendi Caplan Carroll

Wendi Caplan-Carroll, Senior Regional Development Director/Business Development, Constant Contact

Wendi is a marketing expert with over 25 years experience developing and implementing marketing strategies for businesses and organizations spanning a variety of industries. In her role at Constant Contact, Wendi uses her expertise to provide coaching for small businesses and organizations on best practices of email and social media marketing.

Additionally, she creates powerful business alliances and initiatives throughout New York and New Jersey to help empower Constant Contact customers and its partners.

Wendi is a popular speaker and educator. She delivers real-world tools and strategies that drive stellar results immediately! And although the topics and strategies may be cutting edge, it doesn’t take an interactive guru to “get it.” Wendi simplifies the information and provides essential basics, secrets, and shortcuts that make it easy for seminar attendees to get on their way fast.

Wendi gives her groups the “Know How” to boost business, awareness, and customer loyalty.



Mayor Appoints Tokumbo Shobowale as the City’s First Chief Business Operations Officer

Initiatives are Advancements on Speaker Quinn’s NYC Business Link Initiative

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today announced the launch of the City’s Business Customer Service initiative, a major effort to make it easier for businesses to deal with government as they grow and create jobs. The Mayor also appointed Tokumbo Shobowale as the City’s first Chief Business Operations Officer, a new, dedicated position that will oversee the initiative and serve as the Administration’s lead official ensuring that from now until the end of the Mayor’s term, business-friendly practices are made permanent where possible. Shobowale will report to Deputy Mayors Robert K. Steel and Cas Holloway, and will also manage the Administration’s existing business acceleration initiatives, including NYC Business Express and the New Business Acceleration Team, and will work closely with other programs like the NYC Business Solutions Centers housed at the Department of Small Business Services and the NYC Development Hub housed at the Department of Buildings. The Business Customer Service initiative includes new efforts to enable businesses to pay license, permit and other fees, including taxes, online; new efforts to make it possible for businesses to apply online for the necessary licenses, permits and other credentials they need to open their doors and operate legally and safely; new efforts to make easy-to-understand information about how businesses can navigate City government readily available; and new efforts to improve the regulatory climate for business by reducing the number of agencies involved in permitting for things like sidewalk cafés. The Administration will also work closely with a group of advisors made up of local business leaders with expertise in business operations and customer service. In her 2011 State of the City address Speaker Quinn announced NYC Business Link, a single point of contact for all the City permits, inspections, and services a small business owner needs. Today’s announcement represents a significant step towards meeting that goal. The Administration will report on progress on these initiatives every 90 days from now until the end of 2013. Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert K. Steel made the announcement at a breakfast forum hosted by the Association for a Better New York.

“Since the beginning of my Administration, I have worked to make New York City the best place in the world to start a business and see it succeed,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “We’ve made huge strides in making it easier for businesses to deal with government, but there is still more red tape to cut, and we’re committed to cutting it. This new initiative is multi-faceted and far-reaching, and it will go a long way toward making sure City government gets out of the way of entrepreneurs who are trying to create jobs and grow our economy.”

“Today’s announcement brings the city a giant step closer to completing the Council’s NYC Business Link Initiative, our comprehensive plan to remove regulatory hurdles and facilitate the growth of small businesses throughout the five boroughs,” said City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn. “I believe that the Mayor’s new Business Customer Service Initiative, coupled with Council initiatives such as the New Business Acceleration Team, is imperative to continuing to strengthen this important sector of our local economy. I would like to congratulate Tokumbo Shobowale on his new role as the City’s first Chief Business Operations Officer, and I look forward to working closely with him, Mayor Bloomberg, and Deputy Mayor Steel on current and future initiatives to make this city the most business-friendly city in the country.” 

“If we want to encourage job creation, we need to treat the City’s businesses like customers,” said Deputy Mayor Steel. “Entrepreneurs and businesses have a choice about where to locate and where to invest, and we want them to choose New York City. We have made great progress in reforming the City’s bureaucracy, but we can and must do more, and Tokumbo’s public and private sector experience makes him the right person to lead this effort.

“Businesses can choose to open their doors anywhere, and we want them to choose New York City,” said Deputy Mayor Holloway. “That’s why we want to make it as easy as possible for companies large and small to get what they need from the City – from construction permits to water connections to safety inspections. I look forward to working with Tokumbo to help as many businesses as possible open their doors.”

“It is an honor to work on this initiative with Mayor Bloomberg, who has made a career – both in government and in the private sector – out of working constantly to better serve business customers,” said Chief Business Operations Officer Shobowale. “I look forward to continuing this effort, working closely with the Mayor, Deputy Mayors Holloway and Steel, Speaker Quinn, the many agencies serving business customers, and most importantly with thousands of dynamic businesses in New York City. We have the most to learn – and to gain – by collaborating with and better serving these hard-working and creative entrepreneurs.”

“Cutting the red tape and making it easier for businesses to deal with government is of premier importance, it is encouraging to see the Mayors’ commitment to helping the small businesses of our city,” said Linda Baran, President and CEO of the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce.

“Under Mayor Bloomberg’s leadership, the City has become more business friendly, and Tokumbo’s new role will take that even further,” said Leonard Caro, President and CEO of the Bronx Chamber of Commerce. “Through New York City’s strategic initiatives, companies will excel and foster job creation.”

“The business community is fortunate that Mayor Bloomberg understands how difficult it can be to manage a small business in New York City,” said Jack Friedman, Queens Chamber of Commerce Executive Director. “His administration appreciates the importance of making our City more business-friendly has consistently supported policies and has created initiatives to support them. These additional measures will send the message, loud and clear, that New York City is open for business, focused on job creation, and reducing government bureaucracy.” 

“We are very excited to be working with Mayor Bloomberg and Tokumbo on further cutting down on the red tape slowing down the growth of small businesses,” said Nancy Ploeger, President of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce. “This pro-business initiative will help drive job sustainability and job creation. We look forward to rolling up our sleeves to identify new initiatives and build on the many reforms already enacted.”

“This administration will leave a lasting impression on how business gets done in this city,” said Rick Russo, acting president of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce. “Businesses can now open their doors in record time, thanks to innovative programs like NYC Business Solutions, NBAT and Business Express. The Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce applauds mayor Bloomberg for his continued commitment to keeping New York City a thriving place to start and operate a business, and we congratulate Tokumbo Shobowale on leading this important city initiative.”

Applying Online

We will make it possible for businesses to apply online for the necessary licenses, permits and other credentials they need to open their doors and operate legally and safely. The City issues 300 business-related licenses and permits – but less than a quarter of them can be applied for online. In 2012, a business owner shouldn’t have to leave his or her business in the middle of the day to visit an office and fill out a paper application. We know that small business owners are some of the busiest people on the planet and that their time is valuable. Accordingly, we are working hard to get all applications online.
By the end of 2012 we will ensure that all city applications are available online for download, so that business owners won’t ever have to come in to a city office to pick them up
Within one year we will increase by more than 35 percent the volume of applications and renewals that can be submitted online, including some of the most frequently used applications like those for Food Service Establishment licenses and renewals of Taxi Medallions
By the end of the Administration we will ensure that 80 percent of new business applications and renewals are possible online

Paying Online

Similarly, we will make it possible for businesses to pay necessary license, permit and other fees online, including taxes. Today business can pay some fees online, but not fees for many critical agencies for businesses. They are still forced to come to city offices during certain hours, or to pay someone to come on their behalf, and to bring cashiers or other checks that they may not use to conduct business with anyone else. We are changing this.
Starting now customers of the NYC Development Hub will be able to pay for their plan inspection and approvals online. So not only will businesses and their architects be able to submit their plans electronically, schedule appointments quickly and not have to come in to have their building plans reviewed, they will not have to set foot inside a city office period because they will be able to pay remotely, too
By the end of 2012 business will also have a better way to pay online for property taxes, business and excise taxes and ECB violations
Within one year businesses will be able to pay for all license renewals online

Checking Status Online

Entrepreneurs and business owners seek insight into the status of their applications and their transactions with government. We will make the process of opening a business clearer and more predictable by conveying status of applications, plans, and inspections including:

Over the next year, business owners will be able to visit to check several statuses including licenses being processed, whether plan exams have passed, dates of scheduled inspections, whether inspections have been passed, and whether permits have been issues.
By the end of this calendar year, businesses taking advantage of our New Business Acceleration Team to open their restaurants will be able to follow the status of their applications, inspections and plan reviews online.

Making Information Available

The City now provides a wealth of information about government requirements for starting and operating a business through NYC Business Express, 311 online, and other pages on For many businesses, however, there is too much information and is often difficult to find what they need, interpret it and understand how all of the pieces fit together. We will make the presentation of this information clearer and simpler than ever including:

Providing new two-page guides that depict a soup-to-nuts road map and easy-to-understand information about how to open different types of businesses. The first of these guides will be available by August 2012.

Offering instruction and assistance in different media, such as piloting short online how-to videos that show entrepreneurs the ins and outs of how to comply with important public safety requirements.

Regulatory Environment

These initiatives build on the continuing work of the Regulatory Review Panel, a joint initiative of the Bloomberg Administration and the City Council, which has identified ways to make New York City more supportive of small businesses. As part of the initiative we will also streamline our regulatory processes and identify improvements that lighten the administrative burden upon businesses and make it easier for them to comply with the law, while at the same time maintaining our commitment to safety. We will strive to shorten the time between when a business applies for permission to conduct business and when the city completes the inspection or approval process. This is particularly the case for processes or approvals that involve multiple agencies. Initiatives will include:
Improving the process for “Place of Assembly” – businesses in which 75 or more people gather indoors – permits. We are working to reduce the number of steps in this process by more than 20 percent, eliminating unnecessary steps and an unnecessary handoff between city agencies. We will reduce the time necessary for the process and more importantly to reduce the variability of the processes so that entrepreneurs can better plan their business investments.
Continuing improvements to the sidewalk café approval process. Since 2003 we have reduced the number of agencies involved in this process from six to three, and cut the approval processing time roughly in half. Facilitated by these changes, the number of sidewalk cafes has grown from 700 to 1100. We would like to work with the City Council to make additional improvements, so that only two agencies are involved – only one agency if the sidewalk café is unenclosed – and to further streamline and shorten the process so responsible businesses don’t have to jump through unnecessary hoops.

 Shobowale is the Chief of Staff to Deputy Mayor Steel. In this capacity he coordinates economic policy development for the Office of the Mayor, as well as oversight of more than a dozen agencies—including those responsible for affordable housing financing, construction and preservation; city planning; taxation and finance; transportation; business services and workforce development; business attraction and retention; and economic development broadly across the five boroughs of New York City. Previously Tokumbo was Chief Operating Officer of the New York City Economic Development Corporation, the City’s vehicle for stimulating investment across industry sectors and broadening the City’s tax and employment base by meeting the needs of businesses large and small. He was one of the architects of the Applied Sciences project along with several of the Mayor’s other signature economic development priorities. Before joining NYCEDC, Tokumbo was a strategy consultant for McKinsey & Company and also for Dalberg Development, a firm that works to strengthen global public institutions. Previously, he was Honduras program director for a not-for-profit organization facilitating rural enterprise and energy development. He serves on the boards of the Excellence Boys and Excellence Girls Charter Schools, and is the founding chair of the board of the Leadership Prep Charter Schools in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brownsville, and Ocean Hill Brooklyn. Tokumbo earned an A.B. from Stanford University, an M.A. from the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs, and an M.B.A. from the MIT Sloan School of Management, earning each degree with academic distinction. He lives in Fort Greene with his wife and son.


Stu Loeser / Julie Wood (212) 788-2958

Jamie McShane / Justin Goodman (Speaker Quinn) (212) 788-7116

Tokumbo E.O. Shobowale, Chief Business Operations Officer, NYC, Addresses MCC Board of Directors

Ronald I. Paltrowitz, Esq., Interim Chairman of MCC, with Tokumbo E.O. Shobowale, Chief Business Operations Officer, NYC, at this morning's MCC board meeting. Mr. Shobowale addressed the board about new business initiatives in NYC.

For more inforation on NYC's new initiatives to help small businesses please see the following article from the Wall Street Journal:

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

MCC Thanks Renewing Members For June, 2012!

Henry HanauHFH Planning, Inc.
Jane O'ShaughnessyJane O'Shaughnessy MD Emergency Medicine Consulting
Peter Aubrey-SmithStellar Re Intermediaries, Inc.
Deborah KoenigsbergerHearts of Gold Inc
Susan KangDL Apparel
Warren DavisHuman Resources Consulting
Randy GoodridgeGoodridge Developments, LLC
Antuan CannonEnvirolution
John Walsh
Dr. Lewis GrossHolistic-Dentists.com
Valon NikciLink NY Realty
Barbara DeichmanBarbara Deichman Home Furnishings Consultant
John Stillwaggon
Dana PricePrice Advisory Services
Tatjana SchaeferLuxembourg-American Chamber of Commerce
Francois RouxNew York Habitat
Mary SilvaMaz Mezcal
Steve OkhraviPinnacle Medical PC DBA emergency medical care
Deborah KoenigsbergerNoir et Blanc
Padma VaidyanathanThe Pava Group Inc.
Ramon GilFresh Concentrate
Craig BucksteinGeneva Worldwide, Inc.
Peggy MarionRennert Bilingual
Linda PortoABC-TV

MCC Welcomes June New Members!

Kathryn HausmanMedusa's Heirlooms
Syed S. HussainThe Absolute Strategies Group, LLC
Rhonda MarazitiWithumSmith+Brown, PC
Britton WenzelTime Warner Cable Business
Arthur W. PearsonCon Edison Green Team
Barry KornBarrett Capital Corporation
Stanley Scriven
Eric PennaAmeriprise Financial Services,
Diana DelgadoDelgado Communications
Trent LoveVets Chat Show
Niel BaileyOpenLink Financial
Britney MartinAmerican Lung Association
Thomas DeVitoLet's Order Now
Cliff SchneiderCohen Schneider & O'Neill LLP
Fatou JabbieUSL Technology Consulting
Camelia ManOpen Square: Interior/Industrial
Sara AschheimCrunch
Lashawn McCauleyPrecise Personnel llc.
Joan C. CavanaughBoardroom Golf Institute
Kathleen LLC
Erik SalteDHL Express
Syed Hassan
Carolynne FrommeFromme Productions LLC
Samuil ShenkerAssociated Global Systems
Podessa E. RossYoung Christian Visionaries & Millionaires Club
Gail GoldbergEpic Tales, LLC
Alex GreenspanOutreach Physical and Occupational Therapy and Spe
Leah OverstreetLeah Overstreet Photography
Lauren DykesWeRecycle!
Terry Stewarttsida
Rachel TuckermanWealth Advisory Group
Gerald TomPropLink Real Estate
Claire MerlinoCount Me In for Women's Economic Independence, Inc
Ling W. KongMcDermott Will & Emery LLP
Robin FisherNewmark Knight Frank
Carmela Toral-MartinezEdible Arrangements
William HenbestForest Hills Financial Group
Michele WaldmanMax Your Media
Kelly KasoufBeansie Enterprises, LLC
Monica WeinerRegus
Alex DickersonThe Collective