Financial, mental health resources available for New York small businesses

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — For all you small business owners out there in need to build back a strong workplace to grow economically and mentally healthy in the post pandemic era, state leaders have some crucial information thanks to new bills put into law.  

A town hall was hosted by Senator Samra Brouk and Assembly Woman Sarah Clark to give those who own and work at small businesses across the area firsthand knowledge with how getting themselves and their workers back on their feet is possible.  

The room was filled with local entrepreneurs who aren’t ready to give up feeding the Monroe County Economy despite the toll of their finances carrying over to their mental health.  

“Cost of material has actually impacted the construction industry,” Jessie Woody, a local contract manager explained. “Material has gone up astronomical. Used to cost me maybe $9 to $10 a sheet for a piece or OSB but now it’s costing over $55 a sheet.” 

“When the gyms shutdown, it took a very heavy mental toll on me,” Focus Fit CEO Sheree Woody told us. “I wasn’t able to do the things that control my mental anxiety that help me with my mental health.” 

Thanks to the CARES Act and feeding into the New York State Small Business Recovery Grant, employers have the chance for financial relief if they employ less than 100 people and can demonstrate at least a 25% loss of gross in 2020.

“We put $1 billion towards small business recovery and so we’ll be talking about programs like that,” Sen. Brouk said. “The county has programs and city have programs all small business owners can tap into.” 

Those include the restaurant return to work tax credit offering $5,000 per new worker hired. The Greater Rochester Chapter of SCORE giving free counseling through workshops for aspiring and current business owners, or mental health services through area hospitals and government.  

“I am looking to find out if there’s resources for me to expand my business and offer the services I’m trying to bring to Rochester,” Monroe County Psychiatrist Lorna Bush stated. “Specifically, I offer ketamine assistance psychotherapy, it’s not being offered in many clinics, so I am trying to start it off as my own kind of business.” 

More entities offering help include the College at Brockport Small Business Development Center, Urban Entrepreneurship at Rochester Institute of Technology and University of Rochester Mental Health and Wellness Services. Contacts and more details for these grants and services are explained through the Empire State Development Department which you can access here

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