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New Organization Helps Small Businesses Hurt By Sandy For Free

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TWC News: New Organization Helps Small Businesses Hurt By Sandy For Free
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A new grassroots organization is working to help small businesses recover after Sandy. NY1's Shazia Khan filed the following report.

It's a busy kitchen at "Ciao for Now", but not too long ago, it was a flood zone. Hurricane Sandy ushered in three feet of water. and while the East Village eatery is now up and running, co-owner Kevin Miceli said recovery has been slow.

"I'm not going to be able to pay things on time," Miceli said. "Basically, I've already communicated that to people I owe money to. So yeah, it's going to be a juggle."

To increase revenue, Miceli aligned himself with Startup New York, a new grassroots organization founded to help small businesses citywide hurting from Sandy at no cost to them. Jeff Hittner, an owner of an online social venture, is on Startup New York's steering committee.

"We kind of looked out and started getting feedback from different community organizations and civic leaders, neighborhood champions," Miceli said. "We realize that the most effective way was to let them kind of run with their relationships and their visions for how they could be supportive and then aggregate it through this broader coalition called Startup New York.

The goal is to provide resources and organize events that would attract customers and increase exposure for small businesses.

Tom Gray, the executive director of Greenwich Village-Chelsea Chamber of Commerce,
is also on Startup New York's steering committee.

"We're all volunteering our free time to do this, so everyone has two jobs right now," he said.

David Bensinger owns a laptop shop on the Lower East Side. His business lost power and revenue for five days, and while the little laptop shop connected with Startup New York to speed up its recovery, it also wanted to help other small business on that same road.

"Even if it's something as simple as just advice or consulting them on if their biz network or technology is down," Bensinger said.

For more on Startup New York and its two-day inaugural event, "Shop Local", complete with a scavenger hunt, taking place Friday and Saturday, go online to www.startupnewyork.org

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