Small businesses are the backbone of Long Island’s economy, representing 90 percent of all registered companies, according to the Long Island Association. What’s the attraction for small businesses on Long Island?
To help us answer that question, Excelsior Growth Fund (EGF) reached out to the Long Island Association (LIA), a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting growth, economic development and infrastructure investments on Long Island. LIA recently published its 2016 Business Fact Book, a report prepared by Chief Economist John A. Rizzo, Ph.D.
Here are the top reasons why Long Island is a great place for small businesses.
A large economic base
Long Island is big – it covers 1,400 square miles, with roughly 2.8 million residents and a gross economic output of approximately $170 billion annually, making it second in New York State only to the greater New York City area. In addition, Long Island’s easy access to national and international markets is ideal for service-based businesses and manufacturing. Tourism is another robust industry – Long Island has the second-highest tourism revenues in New York State after New York City, with visitors spending about $5.3 billion and supporting 75,000 jobs each year, as noted in the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council strategic development plan.
Key takeaway: Small businesses on Long Island have access to the largest local economy in New York State outside of New York City.
Long Island has attracted a range of businesses, particularly in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. It also has aerospace and defense industries, as well as tourism and hospitality. And there’s a long history of agribusinesses, including notable vineyards and fisheries.
Key takeaway: Long Island’s small business owners benefit from its diverse commerce and industry, which stabilize the region’s economy and create opportunities for support services.
Quality of life
People who live on Long Island really love it, with a whopping 77.6 percent living and working there. The U.S. Census Bureau pegs median family income around $114,000 for Nassau County and $102,000 for Suffolk County. With an unemployment rate around 4.2 percent (lowest in New York State) and professional and technical jobs predicted to grow more than 11 percent over the next 10 years, there are ample opportunities and means for a great quality of life.
Key takeaway: Small business owners have access to a large pool of consumer dollars spent by people who live and work on Long Island.
Education and innovation
Long Island is home to six two-year community colleges and 16 four-year universities that offer numerous degrees and technical programs. They enroll almost 46,000 students annually and contribute about $3.4 billion to the regional economy. It also makes Long Island a hub for innovation, employing more people in the life sciences – particularly biotechnology – than any region in New York State.
Key takeaway: Small business owners benefit from having access to a large talent pool as well as to the disposable income of a highly-educated workforce.
Great support network
Local, county and state agencies and community-based organizations are focused on supporting small business owners to strengthen local economies and the region’s overall attractiveness.
There’s a wealth of small business resources, too. Nassau and Suffolk counties have New York State Small Business Development Centers on State University of New York campuses – one at Farmingdale State College and one at Stony Brook University. In addition, SCORE has an office in Hauppauge, and there are community development organizations (Long Island Small Business Assistance Corporation, or LISBAC, and the Community Development Corporation of Long Island, or CDCLI, for example) and mission-based lending organizations like EGF and New York Business Development Corporation. There’s also the Long Island Regional Economic Council, whichworks with businesses to provide programs for new facilities, relocation, expansions, and new markets and international arenas.
Key takeaway: There are excellent resources available to help, from start-up or acquisition through all stages of growth.
Are you interested in starting or growing a business on Long Island?
With so many great resources available, the toughest decision may be who to contact first. The Business Advisory Service team at EGF is always happy to help – start with us, and we’ll guide you and provide access to our outstanding small business networks.
Get in touch with our Long Island representative
About Excelsior Growth Fund
Excelsior Growth Fund (EGF) helps businesses in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania grow by providing streamlined access to business loans and advisory services. EGF’s signature product, the EGF SmartLoan™, provides up to $100,000 in fast, transparent, and affordable financing through a secure online platform. Larger loans up to $500,000 are also available. EGF is a nonprofit organization and is certified by U.S. Department of Treasury as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI). Learn more atwww.excelsiorgrowthfund.org.