In small business development, as in life, trusted partners are essential. But trust takes time to build, and when Mosholu Preservation Corporation (MPC), a longtime affordable housing developer in the Bronx, began offering support services to small businesses, local entrepreneurs were skeptical.
“I remember when I first started at MPC, business owners looked at me with a side eye, ‘Who are you? What are you going to do?’” says Jennifer Tausig, director of Community & Economic Development at the 40-year-old nonprofit founded by Montefiore Health System, an anchor institution in the Bronx. MPC’s mission is to help make the neighborhoods around Montefiore’s campuses cleaner, safer and more vibrant for local residents, its workforce and its patients.
For decades, MPC had focused on affordable housing and neighborhood beautification, but in recent years began thinking about the critical role robust businesses play in the economic and social health of a community. MPC now concentrates this work in three commercial corridors around Montefiore’s Moses and Wakefield campuses.
MPC typically works with microbusinesses with fewer than 10 employees. They are mostly immigrant-, minority- and women-owned businesses. “We focus on businesses that are harder to reach, that are left behind,” says Tausig.
Tausig learned quickly that MPC had to nurture alliances with these businesses in order to be an effective bridge to the resources and support available to them. “We’ve spent the last five years or so really building our relationship capital because there’s a natural mistrust of government and outsiders,” she says.
“It’s the small things that matter,” says Tausig. “Meeting businesses where they are and responding to their immediate needs.”
Read the full article about guiding small businesses’ COVID recovery at LISC.
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