A guest post by Nick Terzulli, Nassau County IDA:

The Nassau County Industrial Development Agency (IDA) has modified its financial assistance policy to provide economic assistance and development services to new and existing qualifying businesses in Nassau County.  The new program is designed to help businesses remain open and grow employment opportunities in the county.

This change, part of the IDA’s new Local Enterprise Assistance and Development Service (LEADS) program, provides small and mid-size businesses with access to integrated business resources, such as financial assistance, tax exemptions and other unsurpassed opportunities. This program is not industry specific and is aimed at businesses with 100 or fewer employees.

It is a one of a kind program – the first in New York State— because it targets the small and mid-size business community, which accounts for 60 percent of Nassau County’s workforce.

Only recently introduced, the program already has provided assistance to dozens of businesses impacted by Superstorm Sandy.

In effect, the Nassau LEADS program has created a one-stop shop that acts as a clearinghouse for all economic incentives, relief and programs available to small business at the federal, state, county and local levels.  The county has simplified the process and made it more affordable for small and mid-size business. The aid is provided without the cost of application fees and there are no public hearings. Applications, however, will be thoroughly reviewed by the IDA.

Under the program the IDA can provide sales-tax exemption letters to qualifying small businesses that will assist them in purchasing furniture, fixtures and equipment and making capital improvements and renovations. This saves small business owners 8.625 percent on their projects and can make the difference between job creation and contraction. The maximum sales-tax exemption is $99,000, which translates into purchases of approximately $1,150,000.

Among the first actions under the program, the IDA granted a sales tax exemption to a new music school to be opened in Port Washington by Amplified Capital Partners LLC, which does business as Bach to Rock (B2R) Port Washington.  B2R will use the benefits to purchase equipment for the school.

Moreover, the Nassau LEADS program will help new and existing businesses, navigate through the difficult waters of economic development and government regulation, as well as provide access to low-interest lending and energy incentives from LIPA/National Grid.

LEADS also offers access to dedicated small business loan funds, and an information desk designed to expeditiously answer regulatory and licensing issues. An experienced team of economic development professionals staffs the LEADS information desk.

The program shows that Nassau County can provide economic benefits to small businesses—the backbone of our local economy— while also working with large companies to create and retain jobs.

Businesses interested in learning more about the Nassau LEADS program should contact the Nassau IDA by phone (516)-571-1745 or by e-mail LEADS@Nassauida.org.