Five Appointed To City’s Microenterprise Grant Committee

Five Appointed To City’s

Microenterprise Committee

By JENNIFER HILL •Special to

ONEONTA – They all run different businesses in downtown Oneonta, but Theresa Cyzeski,  Elizabeth Raphaelson, Vicki Reiss, Sonia Shultis and Madeline Silber all have two things in common.

Each were recipients of a Microenterprise grant from the state, and all were named to the committee tasked with evaluating applications for the 2019 awards during Common Council this evening.

“My feeling was, who knows better what it takes to be successful in starting a new business?” said Mayor Gary Herzig.

The state’s Microenterprise Small Business Assistance Program provides financial support to entrepreneurs on a competitive basis, for new, start-up businesses or existing small businesses that wish to expand.

He reported that “for four of the last five years we were successful in securing competitive awards” and for three previous years – 2014, 2016 and 2017 – the city made 28 awards to either small businesses or start-ups, awarding them a total of $534,000, an average of $28,000 for each.

“What’s even more impressive is, 25 of those 28 businesses are still successful,” Herzig said.

Cyzeski was awarded $10,000 for Theresa’s Emporium in 2011; Raphaelson received $16,700 for The Underground Attic in 2014; Reiss received $20,000 for the Shakedown Street Café in 2017; Shultis received $30,000 for Tribe Yoga in 2017; and Silber received $5,000 for M Silber Design in 2017.

The exception was Herzig’s re-appointment of Robert Brzozowski as the committee’s chair so there would be “continuity and past knowledge” of the committee’s evaluation methods.

Applicants must have five or fewer employees and their jobs must target low-to-middle income employees, and first-priority awards are for capital equipment.  Applicants can receive awards from $5,000 to $35,000.


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