Manhattan has one of the most dynamic economies in the United States. This New York City borough ranks high in terms of employment numbers and innovation, and is home to more than 125,000 firms. If you are looking to set up a business in Manhattan, this quick guide will provide you with information on the key support services available.

Financing and Incentives for businesses in Manhattan

The Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone Development Corporation is a good starting point for local business owners in need of funding. This organization offers business investment loans, small business loans, and microloans ranging from $500 to $250,000. You can find information on the eligibility criteria here.

Sales & Use Tax Exemption applies to eligible Manhattan business owners who purchase equipment, furniture and/or fixtures for new office premises. The premises must be leased for at least 10 years and must be located at the World Trade Center Site, Battery Park City, or the World Financial Center.

A rent abatement program is available to tenants of office or commercial premises located in a specific area of Lower Manhattan (Zone 4 or the areas between Murray, Frankfort, South and West Streets and along Battery Place). This program applies to commercial premises built before 1975 and implies a rent reduction of $2.5/ square foot. For further information, contact the administering agency (the New York City Department of Finance). The CRP (Commercial Revitalization Program) is similar program also managed by the same agency. This scheme aims to boost commercial occupancy rates in designated parts of the Lower Manhattan area. Some of the incentives offered by this program include 3 and 5-year rent tax abatements on new, expanded, or renewed lease agreements.

The Job Development Authority Direct Loan Program offers direct loans starting at $50,000 to Manhattan businesses involved in manufacturing, warehousing, and distribution. Loans must be used for the acquisition of commercial real estate, equipment, structures, and machinery. Lower Manhattan Commercial Rent Tax Reduction is an incentive program that offers occupiers of certain commercial premises discounted tax rates. To be eligible, properties must be exclusively used for commercial purposes and must be located to the south of Canal Street. Under this scheme, tax discounts are applied for a period of 5 years, and properties located in the World Trade Center are fully exempt for rent tax.

The Lower Manhattan Energy Program supports occupiers of commercial premises by offering discounts of up to 45 percent on the costs of electricity transportation and delivery. This program is not available to retail premises. Detailed information can be found at the New York City Business Express website (

A detailed list of all the programs available to Manhattan-based businesses can be found here. In addition, the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce keeps a list of approved alternative financing sources.

Programs for Entrepreneurs in Manhattan

The Partnership for New York City Fund has been supporting local entrepreneurs since 1996. This entity runs a series of funding programs that are exclusively available to companies involved in the finance, biomedicine, fashion and technology sectors. For further information on the eligibility criteria, visit

The Bridge to Success Program supports female entrepreneurs who plan to set up a small business in Manhattan through the provision of short-term loans of up to $200,000. More information can be found here.

Also catering to female entrepreneurs and business owners who belong to minority groups is The Small Business Revolving Loan Fund, which is available to Manhattan entrepreneurs who are unable to obtain finance from traditional sources. The program provides loans that cover up to 50% of the total capital, and is available to businesses involved in retail and manufacturing.

Workforce and Local Business Programs in Manhattan

The Job Creation and Retention Program can provide financial assistance to Lower Manhattan businesses who commit to creating 75 new jobs or to retaining 200 existing jobs for a period of at least 10 years. Visit for more details.

The Lower Manhattan Relocation Employment Assistance Program provides business owners with a tax credit of $3,000 / job for a period of 12 years. Eligible businesses must be planning to relocate to premises south of East Houston Street and must commit to improving, renovating, or adding to the existing premises.

Manhattan employers can also access a range of workforce development programs. These are usually delivered by local educational institutions, such as the Manhattan College or the Borough of Manhattan Community College. The objective of these programs is to assist employers with their recruitment needs. Please contact these institutions directly for further information. You can also contact the New York City Office of Workforce Development to enquire about current programs and opportunities in the Manhattan area.