Small Business Support Organizations in New York City: Made in NYC and the NYC New Business Acceleration Program

Final Projects


New York City has experienced a rise in new small business development over the past couple decades, facilitated by both an increased interest in opening small businesses as well as a commitment by organizations who offer support to small businesses. Made in NYC (MINYC), an initiative of the Pratt Center for Community Development, and the NYC New Business Acceleration Team (NBAT) are two examples of this institutional support. Whereas Made in NYC operates as a non-profit organization within the Pratt Center, and is supported by the New York City Council, the New Business Acceleration Team operates within the New York City Department of Small Business Services (SBS) and is a city government undertaking.

This visualization and the analysis of the data explore the impact of both Made in NYC and the New Business Acceleration Program, and seek to answer the following questions:

  • Where is each program most active?
  • In what areas of the city is programing lacking?
  • What forms of business does each program offer support?
  • How does each program support its members/participants?
  • What kind of overlap exists between the organizations and their reach?
  • How might one program benefit the members of the other?
  • How can the two programs, and other likeminded organizations, work together?

As a project assistant for Made in NYC, I am uniquely positioned to research this data and have a particular interest in supporting small businesses and watching them flourish. I discovered the New Business Acceleration Team while conducting research at work and was curious to learn more, thinking it would be a great resource for our members – particularly those that operate food and beverage businesses. Data for Made in NYC I collected from the backend of our website’s database, which included information about our 1371 member companies as of mid July 2019, while the New Business Acceleration Program data I downloaded from NYC Open Data.

NYC New Business Acceleration Team

NYC Business Acceleration is a program within Small Business Services that assists individuals and groups opening or operating a food and beverage, industrial, or retail businesses, but has since expanded to serve a few other industries as well. Designed to help these businesses open or expand more easily and faster, operate more smoothly and with fewer challenges, the Business Acceleration program has benefitted thousands of small businesses across the five boroughs since its announcement in City Council Speaker Christine Quinn’s 2009 State of the City address. By streamlining the permitting process of new buildings to get approval from the Department of Buildings, Fire Department, the Department of Environmental Protection, and the Department of Health, the Acceleration Program speeds up the process of opening a new restaurant or food establishment from six months to four. In December 2013, SBS made an announcement along with the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) to expand the New Business Acceleration Program to include supermarkets and grocery stores, and the program has since brought along select banks and home goods stores. In addition to this accelerated plan review process, NBAT also conducts research and information dissemination to assist the small business community.

Made in NYC

Like the New Business Acceleration Team, Made in NYC also conducts research on small business development and works closely with local businesses to support the vitality of the local NYC manufacturing industry. MINYC collaborates with over 1300 local manufacturing companies to host programing such as networking events, workshops ranging from photography to branding and professional development, and offers assistance with promotion of new products and innovations in local manufacturing. Utilizing the expertise and resources of the Pratt Center for Community Development, Made in NYC is generously supported by the New York City Council, and works with companies like BRIC Arts & Media in Fort Greene to produce videos and content featuring the work of their members.  


After downloading both data sources as CSV files, I cleaned them in Open Refine, removing extraneous information and typos from the user inputted data, and then geocoded addresses using Google Sheets with assistance from a recorded workshop created by the Spatial Analysis and Visualization Initiative (SAVI) at Pratt Institute.


Once I had both datasets geocoded, I was able to bring them into Tableau Public to map, choosing to have the primary industry of each business symbolized by a unique color. Given that there were more industry types for both organizations than what would be visually appropriate to map, I grouped some smaller industries into larger categories. For MINYC, I grouped “Babies & Children” within “Home & Interiors”, and I grouped “Construction”, “Materials & Metals”, and “Other Cool Stuff” within “Other Manufacturing”. Grouping businesses for the Acceleration Program was much more complicated, given the much higher number of industries present. For this reason, I grouped the NBAT businesses within the larger MINYC groupings as follows:

Food & Beverage: Baked Goods; Beer, Wine, and Liquor Stores; Beverage Manufacturing; Coffee House; Drinking Places (Alcoholic Beverages); European; Food Services and Drinking Places; Grocery Stores; Health and Personal Care Stores; Mediterranean; Restaurants and Other Eating Places; Specialty Food Stores

Fashion: Clothing Stores; Department Stores; Personal Care Services (hair, nail and skin care services); Shoe Stores

Home & Interiors: Banks and Credit Unions; Dry-cleaning and Laundry Services; Florists; Furniture Stores; Office Supplies, Stationery, and Gift Stores; Sporting Goods, Hobby, and Musical Instrument Stores

Print & Media: Book Stores and News Dealers

Jewelry: Jewelry; Luggage and Leather Goods Stores

Other Cool Stuff: Automotive Parts, Accessories and Tire Stores; Child Day Care Services; Hotels; Other; Other Miscellaneous Store Retailers, Wireless Telecommunications Carriers

Two things struck me off the bat as major differences between the two programs: the New Business Acceleration Program is mostly focused on supporting food and beverage establishments, and it has a larger presence in boroughs like the Bronx and Staten Island, whereas Made in NYC has a much more diversified portfolio but lacks a significant presence in the aforementioned smaller boroughs.


After studying what makes the two programs different, I then looked into the overlap between the two programs, to see what member of Made in NYC have also benefitted from the New Business Acceleration Program.

I was surprised to see only thirteen MINYC members benefitting from the Acceleration Program, all but one of which are food and beverage companies. I contacted each of these representatives (besides Russ & Daughters and Jacques Torres Chocolate considering the vast size of these businesses) to ask them:

– How has the NYC Business Acceleration program helped your business? Do they provide financial support? Technical guidance? What kind of opportunities has the Acceleration program allowed for your business? 

– What was the application process like? How long did it take you? When did you apply?

– How did you find out about the Acceleration program? Would you recommend it to other manufacturing businesses in your position? 

Unfortunately to this point I have only heard back from Werkstatt, which is slowing down its production and the representative I heard from was not familiar with the Acceleration Program. I plan to contact the remainder of the businesses again over the coming weeks to follow-up and learn more about how the Acceleration program has benefitted them and how it could possibly benefit other MINYC members.

UX Research

A major component of my design strategy was through talk alouds with key individuals in these organizations, to learn what kind of information they would like to learn about through such a visualization. I sought guidance from four members of the Pratt Center community: Joanna Reynolds, Manager of Program and Partnership at Made in NYC; Mariah Chinchilla, Membership Engagement and Development at Made in NYC and a graduate student of Pratt’s City and Regional Planning program; Ben Dodd, Planner and Communications Specialist at the Pratt Center; and Alessandra Woodman Pinto, a fellow Project Assistant at Made in NYC and a graduate student of Pratt’s Urban Placemaking and Management program.

For each research participant, I took fifteen minutes to give them an introduction to the visualization, background information on the New Business Acceleration Program (I chose not to explain Made in NYC since they are all familiar with it), and then asked them to interact with the visualization and speak to me as they did so, about what they liked, disliked, and what they had questions about in regards to the data and the overlaps of the program. This process was invaluable for me, as these participants are intimately involved with Made in NYC and are experts both in local manufacturing programing in New York City and in communicative design.

Through my UX Research I made several changes. Speaking first with Ben Dodd on design choices, he suggested that I make the maps larger and more of a focal point of the visualization. He also recommended that I change “Other Cool Stuff”, the grouping for other companies within Made in NYC’s database, to “Other Manufacturing” to be clearer and more widely encompassing for businesses that do not fit into the other major groupings within the aforementioned programs. I then spoke to members of the Made in NYC team more specifically about the data itself, and they had key insight into the distribution of their members, as well as specific questions about the New Business Acceleration Program and how it could benefit MINYC members. This process was also very important to me, as it turned out there are former colleagues of MINYC’s leadership who work with the New Business Acceleration Program, and these connections became clear once the MINYC Managers took a deep dive into the visualization. This relationship between the two programs is critical going forward, as we plan to follow-up specifically with the New Business Acceleration Team to see how they could support MINYC members.

A glaring shortcoming of this UX Research is the inability to speak directly with members of the New Business Acceleration Team and/or its participants to get their thoughts on the visualization or how it can benefit their work. Given the timing of this project, we at Made in NYC did not have adequate time to reach out to the New Business Acceleration Team to connect and are planning to do so in the future. While I was able to reach out to members of Made in NYC who have benefitted from the NBAT program, as mentioned previously I was not able to connect with these individuals to get their perspective for this report – but will continue to try to speak with them to learn about their experiences.


The side-by-side distribution of member companies both in Made in NYC and the NYC New Business Acceleration Team illuminated several clear differences between the programs in regards to reach and scope. Made in NYC has far less of a presence in the Bronx than NBAT.

The New Business Acceleration Team also has a much larger amount of businesses represented in Staten Island than does Made in NYC. This, like in the Bronx, is largely due to the nature of the programs, as NBAT helps mostly food and beverage establishments navigate permitting processes across various city agencies, and Made in NYC supports local manufacturing companies, which may be sparser in these boroughs. However, it is clear to Made in NYC that further outreach and networking in the Bronx and Staten Island is critical towards our fair representation of NYC local manufacturing.

Another clear difference between the programs is their sectorial distribution, something where Made in NYC has a much more diverse network. While MINYC has generally a pretty even spread between fashion, food & beverage, and home & interior companies, the NYC New Business Acceleration Program is chiefly a support system for food & beverage establishments but is expanding to serve other new businesses as well.

Going Forward

As a Project Assistant for Made in NYC, this visualization is very helpful towards our organization’s work and helping tell the story of our work, as well as the New Business Acceleration Team. I plan to continue to try to conduct research on our members who have benefitted from the NBAT program to see if it would be valuable for our other members to apply for. I have been surprised as to how little information is publicly available on the NBAT program, given that it is still an active team within Small Business Services and has been consistently taking on new companies since 2010. I hope to also speak with individuals at SBS in the coming weeks and months to learn more about how these two programs can support one another in their common goal of uplifting small businesses in New York City.

Given the difference between the two programs in regards to scope and intent, I would likely have taken a deep dive into one or the other for a future study. They are intrinsically linked in their mission to support a thriving local small business community, and have complementary focus in supporting manufacturing and retail businesses, but have different perspectives in terms of the types of businesses they work with at the moment. For this reason, although I intend to take a deeper look at the New Business Acceleration Program as a potential partner and resource for MINYC member companies, I think for visualization purposes the two programs may be best demonstrated as separate at this time.