Mayor Michael Bloomberg spent Monday trumpeting the city's efforts to support new businesses, but his chief Democratic opponent in the mayoral race said it was all a campaign tactic. NY1's Grace Rauh filed the following report.
As a one-time entrepreneur himself, Mayor Michael Bloomberg knows what it takes to start a new business. He dispensed advice Monday to the founders and employees of some 27 start-up companies that have set up shop in this city-subsidized office space in SoHo, Manhattan.
"In the end, you're not going to get a lot of help from outside," he said.
The businesses are part of a city program to support entrepreneurs in the hope that they grow their companies and create jobs for New Yorkers.
"We need jobs for people in this city. We need jobs for people from different backgrounds. We need jobs for people who live in every different place," said the mayor.
Bloomberg spent much of the morning talking about small businesses and the recession, and said in one CNBC interview, "The worst is over, I think."
Yet the mayor's chief political rival, City Comptroller Bill Thompson, seen right, cried foul. His campaign is accusing the mayor of actually hurting small businesses, not helping them, noting that property and sales taxes as well as water rates have increased on his watch.
A spokeswoman for the Thompson campaign said, "Mayor Bloomberg only pays attention to small businesses, especially outer borough businesses, when he's campaigning. The rest of the time, small businesses are struggling to stay afloat because of his failed policies."
Yet the entrepreneurs taking advantage of the city's program said it is working well so far, and said they appreciate plugging into a supportive network of start-ups, especially in this challenging economy.
"It's kind of lonely as an entrepreneur sometimes. You're not necessarily sure it's the right decision. You go with your gut and many times it works out," said Anselm Doering of EcoLogicSolutions. "Here you can ask a bunch of other guts how its going."
"At times it is very discouraging, but there is a lot of support in the incubator here," said Erin Carpenter of NudeBar. "There's a lot of people encouraging you, saying, 'I have this idea, I have this thing you could do.'"
It's those very ideas that the mayor hopes will lead to the next big thing.