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Welcome to the Manhattan Chamber of CommerceManhattan Chamber of Commerce (MCC) is a vibrant business membership organization comprised of a cross section of 10,000 business members and subscribers ranging from sole proprietors to large corporations and multi-national firms. Connect with entrepreneurs, leaders and executives by becoming an MCC member today and help your business grow. Our mission is to advocate for, connect and educate the business community in Manhattan.

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    Company Name Website
    Accurate Credit Solutions Now Andrew Borbotko
    Bocca Restaurant Tom Bifulco
    CinqTech, Inc Stanley Ferol
    Delta Edeavors Damien S. Garrett
    K2 Energy Savers for Ambit Energy Barbara Knispel
    Kacey Card Kacey Card
    Meryl Randman Print & Online Creative Meryl Randman
    MiRay Events LLC Betania Ducasse
    Monique Stehle monique stehle
    Nicholas & Lence Communications George Lence
    Sac Holdings Inc. Jacob Smith
    Staples - Chris Hillner Chris Hillner
    Staples - Ivank Fernando Ivank Fernando
    TKP New York, Inc. Oshaira Rojas

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    SAN FRANCISCO, March 8, 2013 – Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC), America’s No. 1 small business lender1 and a leading lender to women- and diverse-owned businesses, today announced a commitment to lend a cumulative total of $55 billion to women-owned businesses in the U.S. by the year 2020, updating its lending commitment first established in 1995. The announcement will be made by Lisa Stevens, Wells Fargo lead executive for Small Business and West Coast Regional Banking president, at the Hispanas Organized for Political Equality (HOPE) 22nd Annual Latina History Day conference in Los Angeles.

    March is National Women’s History Month, and Wells Fargo has a rich history of working with women business owners and providing them access to capital and financial services. Since introducing the women’s lending commitment 18 years ago, Wells Fargo has provided more than $38 billion in capital to women business owners, a group that grew in size by more than 20 percent from 2002 to 2007, according to the latest Census data. Today, approximately 30 percent of businesses in the U.S. are owned by women, according to the National Women’s Business Council.

    “Women-owned businesses are among America’s fastest growing segments, and we are honored to support their role in shaping the future of small business,” said Stevens. “As a leader in lending to women, Wells Fargo is dedicated to helping women succeed financially — in business and personally.” 

    Wells Fargo’s first lending commitment in 1995 established a goal to lend $1 billion to women business owners over three years. Fueled by the continued growth of women business owners, the goal was increased three times, most recently in 2003.

    In addition to the lending goal, Wells Fargo supports numerous outreach efforts to build relationships with women business owners and help them to succeed financially. Wells Fargo is a proud supporter of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) and the Women Presidents’ Organization, as well as several other organizations focused on the education, growth and advancement of women business owners. Wells Fargo provides the full array of financial products and services to satisfy all of the financial needs of women-owned businesses, such as banking, business loans and lines of credit, credit cards, payroll, merchant services, insurance, retirement planning, and online resources.

    For an example of how Wells Fargo helped meet the financing needs of one woman-owned small business, see the story of GLAMGLOW, a Los Angeles-based consumer products company owned by Shannon Dellimore.

    About Wells Fargo
    Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a nationwide, diversified, community-based financial services company with $1.4 trillion in assets. Founded in 1852 and headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo provides banking, insurance, investments, mortgage, and consumer and commercial finance through more than 9,000 stores, 12,000 ATMs, the Internet (, and has offices in more than 35 countries to support the bank’s customers who conduct business in the global economy. With more than 265,000 team members, Wells Fargo serves one in three households in the United States. Wells Fargo & Company was ranked No. 26 on Fortune’s 2012 rankings of America’s largest corporations. Wells Fargo’s vision is to satisfy all our customers’ financial needs and help them succeed financially. 

    About Wells Fargo Small Business 

    Wells Fargo has loaned more money to small businesses in the United States than any other bank for 10 years running (based on 2002-2011 Community Reinvestment Act government data) and is a leading lender to women- and diverse-owned businesses. Wells Fargo provides a wide range of financial solutions to meet the needs of business owners nationwide. Through the Wells Fargo Business Insight Resource Center, business owners can access an informative selection of videos and articles featuring expert advice and best practices. For more information visit or call the National Business Banking Center at 1-800-CALL-WELLS.

    # # #

    1 Based on Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) government data (2002-2011).

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    Please see the following links regarding Immigration Innovation. Sign on now to increase our access to knowledgeable and available STEM applicants!

    As you may know, our nation needs to take steps to bridge a widening IT talent gap. Simply put, not enough people have the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) skills to meet the needs of American employers.
    In response to this workforce crisis, a bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers has proposed the Immigration Innovation (“I-Squared”) Act of 2013 (S.169). If enacted, this two-part plan will address immigration and workforce development needs and improve our STEM education pipeline. The plan closes the STEM jobs gap today and ensures the United States remains competitive by producing more college graduates with engineering and computer science degrees.

    But first we need to pass the legislation—and your support can help. I encourage you to join me and add your voice of support to your lawmakers through the Microsoft partner program Melanie Gass belongs to called Voices for Innovation (VFI). You can learn more about the I-Squared Act and easily communicate with your lawmakers at the VFI Action Center. Writing a letter is easy and will take you less than 5 minutes.   

    Thank you for helping us bridge the IT skills gap.

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    At Manhattan Chamber of Commerce's first Marketing Professionals Committee meeting of 2013 last Thursday, I had the pleasure of serving as MC and introducing Jenniffer Goodstein, the new owner, publisher and CEO of NYC Community Media. The group of local print publications includes The Villager, Downtown Express, Gay City News, Chelsea Now, and East Villager.  

    The interesting part of Jenniffer's story is that she comes from the world of digital marketing. Among many other things, she developed educational technology programs for the State of Maryland and served as Assistant Vice President for Retail E-Business for MetLife.  

    Jenniffer gets it. As she was describing her mission and vision to our group, she outlined how she planned to integrate digital with the print.  

    Now, when I say Jenniffer "gets it," I'm not talking about getting the fact that she realizes how important it is to blend together all available media. The "gets it" I'm talking about has to do with her understanding that she is not in the business of selling advertising space, but of helping her publications' advertising clients -- the businesses in her communities -- build their sales and grow their businesses as a result of increasing their marketing effectiveness.  

    In other words, she is more about helping them build their businesses than selling them advertising.  

    By comparison, Friday afternoon I spoke to a publisher that simply didn't get it. His name, which I will not mention for obvious reasons, heads a digital trade publication serving the automotive industry. My call was to on behalf of a client that was looking to reach that publication's demographics.  

    I spent a tremendous amount of time explaining precisely what my client was looking for. But the publisher was all about selling his "rigid packages." His concern didn't seem to be for what was best for my client or what would make my client happy. He was all about his programs and packages. Whether he will yield or not, I'm not sure. The jury is still out.  

    Barbershops are not in the business of cutting hair. They are in the business of helping customers look good and feel good about their appearance. Home remodeling companies aren't in the business of installing new kitchens. They are in the business of creating a kitchen that supports the homeowners' love of gourmet cooking.  

    Of course, I know this and have been preaching it for years. But within the space of 24 hours, it was interesting to see such a dramatic difference between these two publishers and their two approaches and to remind myself that I am not a business strategist or marketing consultant, I am in the business of helping businesses become "wildly successful."

    Best regards,

    Gil Effron
    555 Fifth Avenue, 14th Floor
    New York, New York 10017
    347-920-3272 | 800-226-2428   

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    MCC held its first Chairman's Breakfast of 2013 on March 19th. The event was a forum with candidates for Manhattan Borough President in which candidates were asked about their views on issues important to the NYC business community. MetLife was the host and sponsor of the event.
    MCC Interim Chairman Ronald I. Paltrowitz, Esq. opens the event.

    Felix Malitsky of Event Sponsor MetLife greets the audience and candidates.

    MCC Board Member moderates the discussion with the candidates.

    New York City Council member and candidate Robert Jackson.

    Julie Menin, candidate and former chair of Community Board 1.

    NYC Council Member and candidiate Jessica Lappin.

    Don Winter, NYC Council Member Jessica Lappin, Julie Menin, NYC Council Member Robert Jackson and MCC Chairman Robert I. Paltrowitz

    The candidates spoke before a full house of NYC business people at the event.

    All photos by Jeffrey Holmes: 

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    ATLANTA – The U. S. Small Business Administration has extended the deadline for Hurricane Sandy survivors in New York to return applications for physical damage to April 13, 2013.  

    Survivors are encouraged to register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency at
    800-621-FEMA (3362), TTY 800-462-7585 and return completed applications to the SBA before the deadline. Homeowners and renters unable to obtain an SBA low-interest disaster loan may be referred to FEMA for grant consideration.  

    SBA’s Customer Service Representatives are available at the recovery centers located throughout the area to provide one-on-one assistance to survivors in completing their applications.

    Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure website at

    Additional details on the locations of Recovery Centers and the loan application process can be obtained by calling the SBA Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing) or by sending an e-mail to  

    The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is April 13, 2013. The deadline to return economic injury applications is July 31, 2013.

    For more information about the SBA’s Disaster Loan Program, visit our website at

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    Staten Island Chamber President & CEO Linda Baran presents a $500.00 grant check to Christine Mignone of Bedazzle Dance Studio Inc. from the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce Small Business Recovery Fund for Sandy Relief. We wish them all the best as they continue to recover and rebuild.

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    Staten Island Chamber President & CEO Linda Baran presents a $500.00 grant check to John Toto of Toto's Restaurant from the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce Small Business Recovery Fund for Sandy Relief. We wish him all the best as they continue to recover and rebuild.

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    (Information submitted by The New York Grant Company,,

    In March 2013, President Obama signed Congressional legislation entitled H.R. 152, the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013. The Act authorizes the federal government to appropriate approximately $50.7 billion in relief funding in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.  

    This $50 billion relief package will, in turn, allocate funds to various federal agencies for disbursement:
    $2 billion for the Federal Highway Administration to repair roads and bridges

    $5 billion for the Army Corps of Engineers for dredging, infrastructure, and other flood prevention and control efforts

    $11 billion for the Federal Transit Administration to repair the region’s transportation systems, including MTA repairs
    $11.5 billion for FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund for both individual assistance and repair of damaged public property

    $16 billion for HUD spending on expenses relating to recovery, restoration of infrastructure, housing, and economic revitalization.

    The $16 billion in HUD funding is the largest allocation of federal funds, and the first tranche of $5.4 billion has been allocated as follows:

    $1,772,820,000 to NYC

    $1,713,960,000 to NYS
    $1,829,520,000 to NJ

    $ 71,820,000 to CT
    $ 3,240,000 to RI

    $ 8,640,000 to MD

    TOTAL $5,400,000

    Pursuant to HUD rules, the above jurisdictions have each presented Action Plans as to their proposed use of funds. The Action Plans are now subject to public comment, and after the public comment period (30 days) has ended, HUD will approve the Action Plans, subject to any modification, and proceed to authorize the release of funds to the jurisdictions.

    It is anticipated that funding will start to roll out beginning in the summer of 2013. Jurisdictions have strict deadlines both internally and externally and must expend the HUD funds within 2 years. There are also very strict guidelines for compliance, including documentation, approvals, verifications, reporting and auditing. All funding is subject to strict and continuous auditing, with HUD reserving the right to recapture funds in appropriate cases.

    Both the New York City and New York State Action Plans, now published and available online, provide details about the City’s and State’s intended uses for the HUD funds.

    New York City has earmarked its initial $1.77 billion allocation as follows:

    $720 million for housing
    $325 million for business relief, including:
    $80 million in grants and loans to small business
    $100 million in “resiliency investments” (eg, to move building mechanical equipment above grade)
    $100 million in a “neighborhood game changer investment competition”
    $45 million in an “infrastructure and building resiliency technology competition”

    $400 million in infrastructure repairs and improvements

    $327 million in resiliency investments (TBD)

    5% for administration

    15% for planning.

    New York State has earmarked its initial $1.72 billion allocation as follows:

    $788 million for housing (including the voluntary home buy-out program)

    $415 million in business relief, including funds for
    Grants and loans
    Consulting and mentoring
    Coastal fishing grants
    Tourism grants
    Tourism marketing grants

     $30 million in resiliency and retrofitting funds for energy-related projects (eg, emergency generators, energy back up systems)

    $25 million in community planning and redevelopment funds.

    Each of the City and State Action Plans spells out more specifics about the above proposed expenditures. However, precise program rules, eligibility criteria, application forms, documentation requirements and other guidelines are still under development. We can expect to see these over the course of the summer. Each of the above pools of funds will have their own specific program rules and application process.

    To a large extent, the HUD funds for business and residential programs will be heavily “programmed” as-of-right, with entitlements based upon criteria and rules which the jurisdictions will develop in concert with HUD administrators. To a more limited extent, certain of the programs will be discretionary. For example, the City’s fund of $100 million for resiliency investments will be administered by EDC, which must pre-approve any plans by an applicant prior to funding. Such resiliency investments can be made for up to $2 million per project, with discretion to award higher amounts if EDC grants approval. Each project will be reviewed case-by-case.

    Once the initial $5.4 billion in HUD funding has started to roll out, jurisdictions will then apply for further rounds of funding for the remaining pool of $11.6 billion in additional HUD funding authorized by Congress and the President.
    We will continue to monitor these developments carefully. We are fully mobilized to pursue all applications once the programs are officially in place and once the funds are available to applicants. As in the past, we will focus our efforts on businesses which are eligible for relief.         

    The New York Grant Company team has 11 years of experience in processing HUD grants and HUD funding. This grows out of our deep experience in helping with the recovery and rebuilding of lower Manhattan businesses after 9/11. The primary source of relief at that time (and continuing even to today) is HUD grant funding authorized by Congress. Our team has processed literally hundreds of applications for HUD funding, and we are therefore ideally poised to assist with the rollout of Superstorm Sandy relief funds now.

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    Here is news from MCC Silver Partner Progressive Computing. We are glad to see our friends at the Business Council in Westchester involved in this event!

    Elected officials, community leaders, clients, vendors in attendance

    New York NY (April 8, 2013)

    The managing partners of Progressive Computing, Inc., (PCI) a computer consulting and network installation, design and maintenance firm, were recently joined by elected officials and community leaders for a ribbon cutting at its new 1,800 sq. ft. office space at 35 East Grassy Sprain Road in Yonkers. The move to larger space followed PCI’s purchase of a competitor in 2012 and the addition of several new employees. The company celebrates 20 years in business in 2013. 

    At the event, PCI Managing Partners Robert Cioffi and Ugo Chiulli recognized and thanked their employees, clients, vendors and all of the community leaders in attendance for their support. "We plan to continue our expansion to meet the growing demands of our clients in an ever-changing technology landscape," said Cioffi. The partners said they decided to stay in Westchester, and Yonkers in particular, because of the opportunities present within its vibrant business community, availability of a diverse and talented workforce, and the convenience of Yonkers’ proximity to New York City.

    Cioffi introduced Jeffery Zink, Vice President of Sales & Business Development at 4th Bin, a company that offers solutions for electronic and computer recycling. PCI is partnering with 4th Bin to help organizations reduce e-waste and cut costs. 

    On behalf of New York State Senator George Latimer, Andrew Ferris presented a Certificate of Merit; on behalf of New York State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Symra Brandon presented a Certificate of Appreciation; on behalf of Assembly Member Shelly Mayer, Rachel Estroff presented a Certificate of Merit. 

    On behalf of Westchester County Executive Robert Astorino, Director Office of Economic Development Eileen Mildenberger, Esq. presented a Proclamation of Merit. Westchester County Board of Legislators Chairman Kenneth W. Jenkins also attended.

    Representing the City of Yonkers, Mayor Mike Spano addressed attendees and presented a proclamation, and Yonkers City Council President Chuck Lesnick presented a Certificate of Congratulations. Majority Leader Wilson Terrero and Councilman Michael Sabatino also attended. 

    Representing The Business Council of Westchester were President/CEO Dr. Marsha Gordon and Executive Vice President John Ravitz.

    New York City Office Progressive Computing, Inc.

    60 East 42nd Street Suite 1161 New York, NY 10165 Tel: 212.681.1212 Fax: 212.972.4182

    About Progressive Computing, Inc.

    With offices in Westchester County, NY and Manhattan, Progressive Computing, Inc. is a leader in computer network installation, design and maintenance, offering professional, cost-effective IT services, computer consulting, technical support and computer repair to organizations since 1993. They are focused on providing cost-effective, reliable and right-sized solutions. As a

    Microsoft Small Business Specialist,, the PCI technicians and computer consultants are dedicated to delivering IT solutions that leverage a blend of both proven and cutting-edge technologies. Clients regard them as their "on-demand" information technology department, entrusting that their recommendations, services and products will help them save money, become more efficient, and grow their businesses. Progressive Computing can support any IT outsourcing needs in a variety of ways with services that can be tailored and combined with others to deliver a custom solution to meet clients’ exacting needs. These include: 

    ProManage: An all-inclusive fixed price contract to cover all technology needs. ProHosting: Enterprise-class datacenter services to the SMB for mission critical applications. ProAudit: Computer consulting services that scrutinize and appraise the strengths and weaknesses of existing computer networks and systems. ProBackup: Disaster Recovery service plan subscription that uses a combination of an onsite backup appliance and secure offsite data storage. General IT Services: Project or incident-based services with no contractual obligation. 

    Westchester County Office Progressive Computing
    909 Midland Avenue Yonkers, New York 10704 Tel: 914.375.3009 Fax: 914.375.2550

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    Jean Doumbe, Manager, My Nutri Fitness, poses with MCC President Ploeger as he accepts the Recovery Fund Grant. Jean's business was closed for 19 days and now he and his colleagues are trying to find new locations for their business.

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    MCC knows that all businesses depend on the use of technology and a defined marketing strategy to be successful. Please join us for these events in order to learn more, network with MCC members and find leads to grow your business!

    April 17th: Wine and cheese Networking: Get ready for the cloud with the new Office! (with MCC’s Melanie Gass of Centerpoint Soultion!)

    April 24th: Think Like a CEO - Three Secrets to Faster & Smarter Growth (with new MCC ambassador Evan Horowitz!)

    April 30th: Grow Your Business with Content Marketing and Social Media (with MCC’s Ramon Ray of Infusionsoft and!) 

    May 22nd: MCC Quarterly Tech and Social Media Networking Event (see 5 MCC members present their businesses!)
    Please feel free to re-post on your networks!

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    Just in time for Earth Day read about MCC member Robert Politzer and the opening of his new Green Building Center:

    The Center is a one-stop source for both products and services for clients seeking to renovate, build or maintain a sustainable, high-performance facility.

    The Green Building Center, LLC (GBC) announces the opening of their New York center in the penthouse of 36 West 37th Street in Manhattan. This will be the GBC’s second location, having previously opened a center in Lambertville, New Jersey.

    The Green Building Center is structured as a one-stop resource for all those looking to create and maintain high-performance facilities. The center includes architects, engineers, builders, finance groups, accountants and product vendors under one umbrella. It will allow architects, developers and property owners to consult with experts in various areas of the building industry from the time they envision their project through to the opening of their new or renovated buildings.

     “We see the GBC as the embodiment of a new way of creating sustainable environments.” according the GBC CEO Jason Kliwinski, AIA, LEED AP BD+C. “… Our holistic approach will allow our clients to develop green and energy efficient buildings right from the initial concept with the design, construction and material suppliers working in a collaborative effort. It will allow us to make decisions that work in all of a project’s spheres - aesthetic, financial, environmental and constructible.”  

    The current Members of the Green Building Center are: architects Design for Life, Inc.; and DF Gibson Architects; engineers Langan Engineering and Environmental Services, Inc.; M&E Engineers, Inc.; construction manager Greenstreet Inc.; Commercial Furniture Interiors; and product vendors Lutron Electronics Co., Inc.; Enerlogic – a product of CPFilms Inc., Mythic Paint – a product of Southern Diversified Products, LLC; and Icestone, LLC. Each firm was carefully vetted for their track record of accomplishment and for their commitment to the ideals of the Center. Future members will be added to provide more resources to the building and development community.

    For Further Information Contact:
    Colin Murray
    Director of Business Development
    GreenStreet, Inc.
    36 West 37th Street, Penthouse
    New York, NY 10018
    212.234.1027 ext. 4

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    WASHINGTON— Small businesses rebuilding in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy will get both immediate and long-term help laying a foundation for economic recovery and resiliency thanks to expanded services funded by a $19 million emergency appropriation.

    Small businesses can take advantage of free expanded counseling, training and technical assistance from the U.S. Small Business Administration’s resource partners—the Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs), SCORE, and Women’s Business Centers (WBCs).

    “This is yet another example of placing proven, effective tools in the hands of America’s small business owners who are recovering from Hurricane Sandy,” said SBA Administrator Karen Mills. “SBA’s extensive resource partner network continues to play a critical role in fostering economic development in those hard-hit areas, and I’m pleased those resources will be made accessible on a broader scale to help those who need it most.”

    Funding was made available as part of a package approved by Congress in January to meet the demand for SBA assistance. Through these funds, SCORE, SBDCs and WBCs can help provide long-term small business rebuilding strategies, as well as help small businesses through the SBA lending process.

    In the first phase of counseling and technical assistance funding, $5.8 million is being distributed to SBA resource partners in 11 states--Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, West Virginia--and Puerto Rico.   

    The SBDC and WBC funding awards are as follows: 

    Connecticut $527,000 Delaware $118,000

    Massachusetts $76,000 Maryland $36,000

    North Carolina $18,000 New Jersey $1,385,000

    New York $2,394,000 Pennsylvania $410,000

    Rhode Island $71,000 Virginia $7,000

    West Virginia $46,000 Puerto Rico $19,000

    SCORE will receive $704,000 to fund its chapters in the affected areas. During the second phase of funding, $13.1 million will be issued through these resource partners to provide long-term small business recovery and expansion, with a focus on building creative community-based partnerships.

    SBA makes low-interest, taxpayer-backed disaster loans to homeowners, renters, businesses and non-profit organizations of all sizes. More information about the disaster assistance program is available at

    As of April 11, the SBA has approved disaster loans totaling $1.8 billion to individuals, and $279 million to businesses and non-profit organizations recovering from Hurricane Sandy.

    SBA’s resource partners provide counseling assistance to disaster survivors, including business advice for affected businesses and assistance in applying for an SBA disaster loan. In addition, they staff recovery centers and provide guidance to help with businesses recovery and disaster preparedness.

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    Initiative Will Help Meet PlaNYC Goal to Divert 75 Percent of Solid Waste from Landfills by 2030

    City Also Launches Gardens for Healthy Communities Making Nine Acres of Outdoor Space Open for Community Gardens

     Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today announced that more than 100 restaurants will participate in the first-ever Food Waste Challenge, a new City program to reduce the amount of organic waste sent to landfills and the greenhouse gases that waste produces. The program will help meet the City’s PlaNYC goals to divert 75 percent of all solid waste from landfills by 2030 and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Food waste comprises one-third of the city’s more than 20,000 tons of daily refuse and restaurants account for 70 percent of commercial food waste. Participating restaurants have pledged to reduce 50 percent of the food waste they send to landfills through compositing and other waste prevention strategies. The restaurants and restaurant groups include: Batali and Bastianich Hospitality Group, Blue Hill, Chipotle, Cleaver Co., Juice Generation, Le Bernardin, Momofuku, Pret-a-Manger, Union Square Hospitality Group and ‘WichCraft. The initiative builds on the organic waste programs that the City has developed, including a pilot in some Brooklyn and Manhattan public schools that has cut the amount of garbage participating schools send to landfills by 38 percent, and a residential organics recycling program that will begin in Staten Island next month. The Mayor also announced the launch of Gardens for Healthy Communities, which will open nine acres of under-utilized City-owned outdoor space for 20 local gardening projects. The Mayor made the announcements at the New York Times “Building Sustainable Cities” Conference at the Times Center in Manhattan.

     “From franchises to farm-to-table restaurants, New York’s food industry is joining our efforts to cut waste and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to build a greener, greater New York,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Restaurants are a vital part of our economy and culture, and their participation in the Food Waste Challenge will help inform New Yorkers about sustainable practices and encourage their adoption.”

    “Yesterday we launched the largest expansion of the City’s household recycling program in decades and today we're working with the restaurant industry to tackle food waste – most of which is still going to landfills today,” said Deputy Mayor for Operations Cas Holloway. “Restaurants are an engine of the City’s economy and by accepting the Food Waste challenge, these business owners will make that engine run much cleaner – which is great for New Yorkers and the environment.”

    “As part of the obesity task force, New York City is working to ensure that more New Yorkers have access to healthy fruits and vegetables and community gardens are a critical component to meeting that commitment,” said Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Linda I. Gibbs. “The additional acres will promote urban agriculture and help transform our communities by re-allocating underutilized land.”

    “By diverting our food waste from landfills, New York City is taking an important step towards a reducing harmful greenhouse gases and helping achieve the city’s PlaNYC goals,” said City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn. “The additional 20 community garden sites, on the other hand, will give New Yorkers the opportunity to enjoy increased access to open, green space, environmental learning opportunities and healthy, fresh food.”

    “Community gardens create places to gather and foster awareness of healthy food options and benefits of fresh foods” said Department of Parks and Recreation Commissioner Veronica M. White. “We are proud of the fact that these sites will be managed by our GreenThumb program, the oldest and largest community garden program in the nation.”

     “We know community gardens are often hubs for healthy activity –hosting weekly farmers markets, working with school groups, or donating produce to pantries,” said City Food Policy Coordinator Kim Kessler. “Many also compost – making their contribution to reducing food waste. I’m thrilled that today’s announcements advance both sustainability and health goals by addressing both the production and disposal stages of the food cycle.”

    “This initiative builds upon the strong tradition of community gardening in New York City, and by identifying 20 new available sites we will enable many more New Yorkers to be a part of creating sustainable community managed spaces,” saidExecutive Director of the GreenThumb Program Edie Stone.

     “Recovering the value of food waste is a goal that all New Yorkers can get behind,” said Judith Enck, Regional Administrator, United States Environmental Protection Agency. “There are enormous environmental and community benefits associated with diverting food waste from landfill and restaurants can help lead the way. I applaud Mayor Bloomberg for this visionary and enterprising initiative.”

     “The Mayor’s Food Waste Challenge offers restaurants the opportunity to voluntarily implement positive changes that will benefit the community, the environment and the bottom line,” said Rick Sampson, New York State Restaurant Association President and CEO. “NYSRA is pleased to support the mayor on this initiative, and its recognition of the valuable contributions to sustainability that NYC restaurants are making.”

    “Restaurants can play a crucial role in helping to reduce our city’s food waste,” said Danny Meyer, CEO and Founder of Union Square Hospitality Group. “We eagerly accept the Mayor’s challenge and our restaurants are excited to help the city reach its goal of diverting 50 percent of food waste, thereby helping to clean up the atmosphere.”

    “Diverting food waste from landfill is a critical step towards achieving more efficient and sustainable food systems,” said Peter Lehner, Executive Director of the Natural Resources Defense Council. “With 40 percent of food in the U.S. going uneaten, it’s also important to start reducing the waste in the first place, which the measurement part of the Challenge helps restaurants to achieve. We congratulate the Mayor and the participating restaurants for taking the initiative in reducing and recycling food waste in NYC.”

     "We are committed to supporting Food Waste Challenge participants in their efforts to divert organic waste from landfills,” said Ron Bergamini, CEO of Action Environmental Group, parent company of New York City’s largest recycler of commercial waste. “Providing transparent and high quality waste collection solutions will make New York City a sustainable waste champion and a model for the country.”

    “We applaud the Mayor’s office for launching the Food Waste Challenge,” said Lily Kelly, Interim Director of Global Green USA’s Coalition for Resource Recovery. “When more businesses recover their food waste it benefits all New Yorkers by reducing our greenhouse gas emissions and encouraging investment in local processing infrastructure. We are delighted to be working with the Mayor's office to support this program.”

    “The City’s initiative to increase composting in the restaurants and cafeterias is an extremely important component of increasing recycling rates in New York City,” said Helena Durst of The Durst Organization. “We have been composting our organic matter in nine of our commercial buildings and increased our landfill diversion rate to over 80 percent of the waste we produce. Introducing a composting stream to our restaurant tenants and the corporate cafeterias in our portfolio has been instrumental in our high landfill diversion rate.”

    Participants in the Food Waste Challenge will conduct a waste audit to determine how much waste they generate. The restaurants will use this baseline to track their progress in diverting 50 percent of food waste from landfill. The City will work with participants to share best practices and develop a toolkit of resources to help all participating restaurants meet their targets efficiently. The toolkit will address topics including staff training, how to measure waste, and composting. Food Waste Challenge participants will also have access to local experts and organizations that will provide assistance in meeting the diversion targets.

     The Food Waste Challenge builds on other public-private partnerships the City has launched to generate sustainable practices and help meet the PlaNYC goals to decrease waste, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fight climate change. Last week, Mayor Bloomberg announced that 10 global corporations had joined the Carbon Challenge, pledging to reduce up to 40 percent of their greenhouse gas emissions in the next 10 years. City colleges, universities and hospitals have also pledged to participate in the Carbon Challenge. According the Carbon Challenge Progress Report, universities have measured an overall reduction of nearly 13 percent, and the hospitals have measured an average reduction of 6 percent of emissions in the last three years. Since the launch of PlaNYC in 2007, citywide emissions have fallen by 17 percent – more than halfway to reduction target of 30 percent by 2017.

     he mayor also announced the Gardens for Healthy Communities initiative, which will convert 9 acres of vacant City land into up to 20 new community garden sites across the five boroughs. The initiative is a part of the Mayor’s Obesity Task Force Plan and is an expansion of the Parks Department’s GreenThumb program. Non-profit and community groups will be encouraged to apply, and projects will be evaluated for their ability to promote fresh food access and awareness as well as sustainability initiatives such as rainwater harvesting and neighborhood composting activities. The initiative advances PlaNYC goals to promote urban agriculture and create new opportunities to transform underutilized land, including by identifying vacant city-owned sites suitable for urban agriculture and increasing the number of community garden volunteers.

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    Patent Troll Companies Make Money By Purchasing Broad Patents & Suing Legitimate Tech Companies With Similar Products

    Schumer Introduces Legislation to Improve Patent Prosecution System; Bill Would Allow These Claims to Be Reviewed by Patent & Trademark Office—Will Avoid Costly Litigation Fees for Defending Businesses

    U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today announced he would be introducing legislation that would crack down on “patent trolls” - companies that prey on technology companies. Patent trolls are companies that don’t produce or manufacture products, but instead hold often low-quality patents solely for the purpose of suing legitimate businesses who use technologies similar to those in the patents. Patent trolls cost operating companies $29 billion in suits in 2011. Schumer today highlighted the growing problem and introduced legislation that will improve the patent system by allowing these claims to be reviewed administratively by experts at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO).

    “Patent trolls are bullying New York’s technology companies and dragging down growth. It’s time we address this growing problem,” said Schumer. “This legislation will provide small technology start-ups with the opportunity to address these claims outside of the legal system, saving billions of dollars in litigation fees. The Patent and Trademark Office is already reviewing twenty patent cases in a temporary patent review program and I am confident that extending this program will be beneficial to New York’s economy.”

    Patent trolls are companies whose sole purpose is to take advantage of other companies by taking them to court. Patent trolls buy low-quality patents which often use broad language. Patent trolls do not produce the products in which they have a patent. Instead, they wait until another company develops a similar product and sues them in court.

    In 2011 alone, patent trolls cost operating companies $29 billion. Under current law, a company hit with a patent suit only has two options – pay to defend the suit or pay a licensing fee or settlement agreement to make the suit go away. Both options are highly costly – the average troll settlement costs a small or medium company $1.33 million, while an in-court defense would cost the same company an average of $1.75 million per case.

    Specifically, this has been an enormous problem among technology start-up companies: 62% of patents asserted by trolls from 1990-2010 were software patents; 75% were in computer and communications technology. And this is a particular problem for small businesses: 82% of companies targeted by trolls of annual revenues less than $100 million. 

    According to Patent Freedom, the number of companies sued by patent trolls in New York rose 75% to 288 between 2006 and 2012. Specifically, the New York based company, Etsy, has been sued for infringing on patents involving storing delivering and managing messages. 

    In September of 2011, the America Invents Act (AIA) updated the way patents are issued and prosecuted, and included the Schumer-Kyl program for business method patents related to financial products and services. The Schumer-Kyl provision is a temporary program that established a post grant review by experts at the PTO of covered business method patents and allows a petitioner to request that the PTO review a covered patent; if they find it more likely than not to be invalid, the PTO can take a second look and return a decision promptly. Since the provision began, approximately twenty patents have been challenged through the PTO.

    Schumer today introduced legislation that would expand the Schumer-Kyl provision to include more businesses, specifically among technology start-up companies. The legislation would also remove the provision’s temporary status. Schumer explained that a PTO prosecution system will provide patent holders and accused infringers with an alternative to court, which can be extremely costly. This will not only help resolve existing suits in a low-cost way, it will also deter trolls from filing suits in the future because it provides a cost-effective option to knock out bad patents.

    ● A better program for challenging the validity of troll patents in the PTO is needed to serve as an alternative to expensive litigation, especially for small companies that cannot afford to fight in court and are otherwise forced to pay extortion settlements based on the prospect of huge litigation costs. Expanding the Covered Business Method (CBM) Program of the American Invents Act (AIA) would fill this need.

    The Patent Troll Litigation Explosion

    ● Patent trolls place a real drag on innovation and job creation. These are entities that buy patents and launch lawsuits, but create nothing. Troll suits cost the U.S. economy $80 billion in 2011, and productive companies made $29 billion in direct payouts.

    ● The number of troll suits and the costs they impose are increasing at an alarming rate. Patent troll suits against productive companies have increased by 400% since 2005. A majority of patent litigation is now brought by patent trolls.

    ● Small and medium companies are the most frequent troll targets, and they cannot afford to fight back. Stories of nuisance suits against coffee shops that use wifi or local businesses that use scanners are becoming more common.

    ● 75% of troll patents relate to computer and communications technology. In general, internet and software patents are eight times more likely to be litigated. 

    ● Many of the asserted patents are abstract and overbroad, claiming ownership of a general concept or method, like the interactive web or on-line shopping carts. When the targets fight back, they win over 75% of the time, but only at great cost.

    ● Patent litigation is notoriously expensive. The average cost of a single case is well over $5 million. Even for small and medium sized companies, the average cost of fighting through trial reaches $1.75 million.  

    An Alternative to Litigation

    ● We need a cheaper alternative to patent troll litigation, especially for those companies that cannot afford to litigate but who want to fight extortive settlement demands based on litigation costs and not merits.

    ● Existing programs for challenging patent validity in the PTO (such as the The Inter Partes Review program) have serious shortcomings for challenging troll patents. It is not possible to challenge the vagueness, overbreadth or abstractness (under sections 101 and 112 of the Patent Act) of patents under this program. But these are some of the biggest problems with the patents so frequently asserted by trolls. 

    ● The AIA created a much more useful program for challenging troll patents in the PTO called the Covered Business Method (CBM) program. Challengers can bring all validity arguments to the PTO under this program, not just a select few.

    ● The CBM program also serves as a better alternative to litigation because the statute encourages courts to stay litigation while the PTO considers validity. This conserves judicial resources and spares the parties from unnecessary litigation.

    ● But the CBM program is limited to patents related to “financial products or services,” which represent but one portion of patent trolls’ patent arsenals.

    ● Expanding the CBM Program to allow challenges to all business method patents would provide a low cost alternative to litigation for weeding out invalid patents. Lessening the drain that patent trolls place on productive companies through the assertion of invalid patents would further the patent system’s goal of promoting innovation.

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  • 05/08/13--06:47: Fred Wilson @ Start-up City
  • A number of MCC members were in attendance at Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer's event: Start-up City: An Entrepreneurial Economy for Middle Class New York held on April 26th at New York Law School. Here are remarks written by MCC Guest Blogger Tom Glendening of E3Think about Fred Wilson's keynote address. Mr. Wilson is the Managing Partner of Union Square Ventures & the Flatiron Partnership. Please see the original blog post at Inventropolis.

    At a recent event called Start-up City, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer introduced Fred Wilson, co-founder of Union Square Ventures, a New York City-based venture capital firm with investments in Twitter, Tumblr, Foursquare, Zynga and 10gen, as the godfather of tech in New York City.

    Wilson started off highlighting New York City’s progress noting that 10 years ago it had at most 20% of start-ups as did Silicon Valley, but that today NYC has 50% of the start-ups. He also talked about tech as a generational thing and that Silicon Valley is in its 6th or 7th generation while New York City is in its 2nd or 3rd. However, the advantage may be shifting to New York City. While the digital revolution started with transistor, and was built by routers and other infrastructure, it is now about deployment: new ways of doing things. E3Think notes that New York City has the largest building stock with over 5 billion square feet of floor area, and the most varied transportation ecosystem in the nation.

    However, to realize full potential as a technological epicenter for start-ups, Wilson said that the next New York City mayor needs to focus on three things:

    1) Workforce development – Wilson praised Harvard Professor Clay Christensen, best known for disruptive innovation and his book the Innovators Dilemma. According to Wilson, Christensen says we subsidize education in fields where there are no jobs. Marc Andreessen of Netscape fame says two kinds of jobs in the future. One kind of job instructs the computer what to do. The other kind is instructed by the computer. Wilson says we want to tell the computer what to do and New York City needs to get ahead on the right type of education fast. Wilson noted Mouse, the Academy of Software Engineering (Washington Irving High School), Code Now, Girls Who Code as success stories. Cornell on Roosevelt Island is another good example of what cities need to do. Adult retraining includes Skill Share, General Assembly and the Flatiron School. But the game is moving very fast: the next Mayor needs align workforce development with the jobs that will be out there.

    2) Infrastructure – While transportation and the electric grid are critical, Wilson highlighted the urgency to improve broadband. This includes both the wired fiber to home/business as well as wireless, Wi-Fi and cellular data). A major roadblock is the incumbent duopoly of Verizon and Time Warner Cable. With this duopoly NYC will lag behind places like Chattanooga which are turning broadband access into a competitive advantage. But how can the next mayor break that duopoly? One is to bring Google Fiber to New York City just like in Provo, Utah, Kansas City and Austin, Texas. But that may be difficult (event though Google is here). Wireless even more difficult as it is auctioned off at federal level. One thing within the mayor’s general power is free open Wi-Fi in every subway tunnel, subway cars. Wilson called this a shot across bow. Kids can do homework. Wilson says this could be accomplished for below a billion. E3Think notes that Inventropolis participant Governing Dynamics is a leader in this space.

    3) Regulatory reform – New York City present regulatory regime is permission based: you need to ask permission to do something. Wilson said one thing that makes the internet economy so powerful is that it is permission-less. Entrepreneurs can invent things without being hindered by the bureaucrats. In contrast to New York City Wilson gave the example of cabs in San Francisco. Once upon a time it was difficult to get a cab. However, with the advent of Uber and Sidecar, that has changed. Unfortunately in New York City upstarts Uber and particularly Hailo have been hindered by regulations. The Black Car Association has sued city to stop evolution. It isn’t just the black cabs: Skillshare received a cease and desist order because it is not licensed. airbnb is illegal not licensed hotel. airbnb could bring in $1 billion dollars to the New York economy. In contrast, the large hotels are owned by non-New York City and possibly non-US entities. Not only are these regulations bad for the immediate economy, it also shows NYC to be inhospitable for innovation. Incumbents use regulators to stop innovation.

    New York City is becoming increasing relevant in technology. But Wilson notes the Pandora’s Box; once out there is no turning back. He notes that people are afraid, technology is hurting jobs, hurting profits. All true, but Wilson says this is inevitable. It is far better for New York City to recognize these global trends and ride them. Get out in front and lead.

    Wilson says we need mayor who can break free from entrenched interests.

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    LEAP is a NYCEDC funded program through the “LINK” Initiative (Leveraging Innovations and our Neighborhoods in the Knowledge community). The LEAP Program connects Associate and Certificate candidates to employer paid internships in growing, in-demand occupations. The program seeks to address issues affecting student graduation rates including limited work place skills, financial burden and limited post-graduation placement opportunities.

    LEAP combines classroom training and paid work experience through internships to help students gain appropriate skills and access to better paying jobs in the knowledge economy. Participants will be placed in relevant, paid internships, receive soft-skills training in the classroom, and receive career counseling and support during, and post-internship resulting in program completion and full-time job placement.

    Our ambitious, skilled and goal-oriented interns are ready to be placed in the following sectors:

    · Administrative
    · Accounting/Bookkeeping
    · Information Technology/Web Development

    For more information, please call or email the LEAP Team:

    Phone: 347-286-1624


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    Analog Digital Intl Inc. Ayres Dcunha
    Capital Bankcard Jordan Cohen
    Chef At Home Karl Wilder
    Creative Advisory Group, Inc. Steve Picarillo
    Curtis Nixon @ Kleier Residential Curtis Nixon
    Filebank Gregory Copeland
    Focus Usa, Inc. Amy Carraher
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    Hiccup Media Robert Simone
    Iese Business School Christina Shin
    Langua Ventures Inc. Weston Ulbrich
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    Michelle Ann Cervone Md Michelle Cervone
    Microsoft - Matt Tverberg Matt Tverberg
    Nations Partners Llc Karin Kearns
    Prime National Credit Repair Guy Menahem
    Que Commerce Justin Croxton
    Ridgewood Savings Bank Devi Narain
    Shaira Construction Corporation John Baran
    Style House Pr Janna Meyrowitz
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    Team Alex Mazza Alexander R Mazza
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    J & E Business Services, L.L.C. Juha E A Tolvanen
    Jessica Wong Jessica Wong
    Kingdom of Bahrain Rose Sager
    Kuapay Michael Montoya
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    M. Steven Grant Michael Steven Grant
    Ray Law International, PC Anthony Ray
    Real Hospitality Group Sean McGrath
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