Press Release

Sen. Gillibrand, Bronx BP Diaz Jr., Call for Tax Breaks to Boost Growing Tech Start-Ups in the Bronx

Aug 20, 2012

Bronx, NY – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. were joined today by Sunshine Bronx Co-Founder & Managing Partner Cheni Yerushalmi, StartUp Box South Bronx Co-Founder Majora Carter, and Bronx entrepreneurs at the Sunshine Bronx Business Incubator in urging Congress to pass targeted tax breaks that could help spark the growth of Bronx tech start-ups and create new jobs in the borough. The Small Business Start-up Support Act, which Senator Gillibrand is advocating to bring up for a vote in the Senate this Fall, would help tech start-ups offset their initial costs by increasing the deduction for start-up costs from $5,000 to $10,000.

According to a report by the Center for an Urban Future, New York City is the country’s second largest tech center after Silicon Valley. With a booming tech start-up sector in the City, the lawmakers and Bronx entrepreneurs said this federal legislation would encourage more people to start their own businesses, and attract more entrepreneurs to the borough. 

“We know that government doesn’t create jobs, businesses do. New York City is home to the world’s brightest minds and best ideas to grow our economy and create the next big business of tomorrow,” Senator Gillibrand said. “Small businesses and start-ups are the backbone of our local economy and we must help provide the environment for these businesses to grow and create new jobs. The growing high-tech industry is the future of our economy, and we need to help make sure it starts right here in the Bronx.”

“We have seen tremendous economic growth in the Bronx over the past few years, and small businesses have played a major role in bringing about that growth,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “Business incubators like Sunshine Bronx and Startup Bronx are helping to lay the groundwork for the continued growth of our economy by supporting small businesses, and we need to support their work. Senator Gillibrand’s bill is common sense legislation, and I am proud to support it.”

“The value of joining an incubator is much more than just affordable office space,” said Cheni Yerushalmi, Co-Founder & Managing Partner of Sunshine Bronx Business Incubator. “Incubators such as ours bring together a diverse network of entrepreneurs and businesses to create opportunities that otherwise wouldn’t exist. Providing tax relief would be a huge kickstart, allowing our entrepreneurs to spend their money where they need it most: satisfying their clients.”

“The talent is here, but we need to create the kind of economic developments that retain and attract talent,” said Majora Carter, Co-Founder of StartUp Box South Bronx. “At we’re creating a tech-savvy pipeline of talent who will feed these businesses so they can grow – while we build the social infrastructure to make more people want to stay here as well!”

“Plenty of entrepreneurs have started their businesses on a shoestring and any break they receive means more flexibility for further growth,” said  Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Founder of Brook Avenue Press, a publishing firm for children’s books and curriculum. “A tax break could mean part-time work for someone else or keeping a business’ doors open long enough to turn a profit. Young entrepreneurs are playing a special role in developing promising, creative enterprises for our future and a small break can open up their resources for hiring, creating a new product, or reinvesting in the local economy.”


“Everyone knows that the first year of any new business is the most difficult,” Mandi Susman, President of Sus4Media, said. “The successful start-ups make it to their second and third years by working smart and keeping their expenses low. Having this kind of tax relief could be the difference between making it to the second year and having to close up shop.”


While new Bronx start-ups typically face a number of substantial expenses in their first year of operating their business – such as permits, staffing, marketing and much more – they are currently limited in the amount of tax deductible expenses for their first year’s tax returns. The Small Business Start-up Support Act that Senator Gillibrand co-sponsored would double the deduction for start-up expenses from $5,000 to $10,000. Eligible expenses include monthly fees for advice and training at the City’s incubators, studies of potential markets, products, labor markets, or transportation systems; advertisements for the opening of a new business; compensation for consultants and employees undergoing training and their instructors; and travel for the purpose of securing suppliers, distributors, and customers. 


As the first City-sponsored business incubator in the Bronx, the Sunshine Bronx Business Incubator provides approximately 180 workstations targeted to startup businesses and entrepreneurs across industries including finance, new media, technology, green finance and technology, biomedicine, and healthcare. Currently, an estimated 75 start-ups are using this facility. The incubator also offers conference rooms, bi-weekly networking events with tenants across all Sunshine locations in New York City, and support services including mentoring, coaching, and business training through a partnership with Baruch College.