Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Mentorship program between NYC and young Fil-Ams explored in meeting

Consul General Mario de Leon (center) with Maria Torres-Springer, Gianlucca Galleto of EDC’s International Affairs, Ledy Almadin of the Philippine-American Chamber of Commerce New York, and Consul Felipe Carino. The FilAm photo

Consul General Mario L. De Leon, Jr. on September 11 made a diplomatic visit to the office of Maria Torres-Springer, who was recently named president of New York City’s Economic Development Corporation (EDC).

Torres-Springer is the first woman — and first Filipino American — to be appointed to lead the EDC, which serves as the economic arm of the city. The agency is responsible for promoting economic sectors of interest to the city as well as supporting innovation and increasing economic activity.

De Leon said that the Consulate General is working with and through the Philippine-American Chamber of Commerce to support the growth of Fil-Am small businesses.

He would like to see, he said, the promotion of Fil-Am small businesses and their increased access to technology and innovation. He believes that Filipinos can derive “immense benefit in navigating and accessing services that support small and medium-sized businesses in NYC.”

Torres-Springer stated that Mayor Bill de Blasio administration’s thrust is to promote inclusive economic growth, and that EDC is tasked with a target of 200,000 affordable housing for residents.

She said the EDC is supportive of technological innovation, applied sciences, engineering, and real estate, as she cited Cornell Tech as an example of an institution that is combining and harnessing technology, academic and real estate sectors for a single purpose.

De Leon suggested that NYC and his office enter into cooperation in the academic sector where younger generation FilAms involved in IT innovation can access training and educational opportunities in the City.

He said a “mentorship program guided by NYC academic institutions, can help institutionalize learning and innovation in the Filipino community.”

He further said that potential cooperation between NYC and the Philippines may include exchange of experiences and experts in public-private partnerships in infrastructure projects and government real estate redevelopment.

De Blasio appointed Torres-Springer in June as the first woman to lead EDC, the agency that will focus on positioning NYC as capital of innovation, tech and advanced manufacturing to help businesses grow.

She was previously the commissioner of the Department of Small Business Services.

“Maria has a proven track record opening doors for New Yorkers and working closely with businesses to grow our economy,” said De Blasio in a statement. “We are proud to have her lead EDC. Maria will focus on growing vital sectors in our economy, and preparing New Yorkers to seize those opportunities so they can be a part of our economic success story.”

As commissioner of the Department of Small Business Services, Torres-Springer has focused the agency’s work around creating good jobs, stronger businesses, and a fairer economy, according to a statement.

Under Torres-Springer’s leadership, SBS launched Small Business First, a collaboration among city agencies to change the way government interacts with small businesses and improve the city’s regulatory environment. Also during her short term, the city launched Women Entrepreneurs NYC (WE NYC) that seeks to expand the economic potential of women entrepreneurs across the five boroughs.

Before being appointed commissioner of SBS, Torres-Springer served as the executive vice president and chief of staff at the EDC. She has also served at the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Economic Development & Rebuilding as a Senior Policy Advisor and as the Chief Operating Officer of Friends of the Highline.

Torres-Springer received a B.A. in Ethics, Politics and Economics from Yale University and a Master’s in Public Policy from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two daughters. —The FilAm

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