SBA NY District Director Discusses PPP in Brooklyn


For Beth Goldberg, director of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) New York District Office, helping out Brooklyn’s small businesses in the pandemic is more personal and a labor of love as she is a self-described “Brooklyn Girl” born and raised in Park Slope. 

“I’ve got a very soft spot in my heart for Brooklyn,” said Goldberg, while diving into the facts and figures of the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) programs and loans.

Despite taking fire for early pitfalls in the program, Goldberg said the SBA, and its New York District Office has been working since March with small businesses across metro New York along with lending partners, SBA Resource Partners, Chambers of Commerce and elected officials at all levels of government to get information out about the PPP.

Rodneyse Bichotte
Kings County Democratic Party Chair and Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte
U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries

“We’ve had a tremendous outreach,” said Goldberg, naming city officials like Democratic Party Chair/Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte (D-Flatbush, Ditmas Park) and U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-Central Brooklyn) that have held forums and been instrumental in getting information out about the programs. The SBA’s resource partner networks include eight city-based Small Business Development Centers, five Women’s Business Centers, SCORE and thousands of lending partners, she said.

Goldberg said the SBA has about 1,200 non profit lenders and credit unions nationwide. “We work with a whole array of lenders that service different aspects of the community, and we’ve broadened our outreach by bringing them on and teaching them how to use the program and our systems,” she said.

Goldberg said in the first round the SBA lent out more money in the first 13 days than in the last 13 years, but it’s definitely slowed down since.  

According to figures through July 17, about $40 billion in PPP funding has been approved to be dispersed across New York State to over 320,000 small businesses. As of July 31, said the SBA, New York State saw 339,340 PPP approvals to small businesses.

As of Wednesday, August 5, said Goldberg, there is approximately $120 billion or less left for eligible small businesses and nonprofits to apply for. 

Goldberg said technically lenders are accepting complete applications until Saturday, however, the banks can have their own cutoffs and deadlines to be aware of this week.

SBA’s Regional Communications Director Matt Coleman said he also has a fondness for Brooklyn small businesses and in particular Smith Street’s restaurant district.

“Bar Tabac is a favorite Sunday brunch spot and Ki Sushi is also something my wife and in-laws love,” said Coleman, naming a few spots in Carroll Gardens that he hopes remains afloat during these trying times in the city.

PPP loans were made across economically diverse areas of the economy, said Coleman, with low and moderate income areas receiving PPP loans approximately proportionate to their percentage of the population.

According to the ‘Loans Over and Under 150k for New York’ in the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) database, over 5,700 full-service restaurants were approved to receive PPP loans.

Coleman gave a breakdown of how the PPP was designed by Congress to be administered through “the delegated authority process,” which means SBA does not review the loan before it is submitted to the SBA for processing. He said it also does not indicate disbursement, or the final amount disbursed, which are transactions between the lender and borrower which the SBA is not a party to.

This has unfortunately caused some frictional problems in the past for many small, minority-run or women-owned businesses that don’t have concrete relationships with lenders. 

Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez

A spokesperson for U.S. Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-Brooklyn, Queens, Lower Manhattan), who heads up the House Small Business Committee, said the congresswoman is focused on ensuring that additional rounds of PPP funding reach truly small businesses, including women and minority-owned firms, which often do not have as deep relationships with the banking industry.

“She would like to see additional resources invested into the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program that provides grants and direct loans to affected small businesses as was done with previous assistance packages. We need to deploy all these tools to help our small firms weather this crisis,” said the spokesperson.