AIDA approves micro-enterprise grants, hires Zabawski for additional grant administration


Eleven Amsterdam-based businesses were approved to receive mirco-enterprise grants ranging from $5,000 to $25,000 by the Amsterdam Industrial Development Agency board on Thursday. Each of the businesses must now be approved by NY State officials, which Interim Director Joe Emmanuele said he hopes will be completed before the end of January 2018.

The $200,000 grant was originally secured by the Montgomery County Business Development Center in December 2016, but the center decided to ask AIDA to administer the grant after Danielle Whelly, who had worked as an economic development specialist for the center, left her position to work as assistant recreation director at the city.

Nick Zabawsky, who serves as director of the Amsterdam Urban Renewal Agency, was hired by AIDA as a contractor to administer the grant after the agency’s director, Jody Zakrevsky, stepped down in September.

Thirteen businesses originally applied for the grant. A committee consisting of Zabawsky, Whelly, Emmanuele, and board member Michael Rossi, met with each business and reviewed the applications. The committee found that only two applicants were not qualified. The committee recommended that the board approve the remaining eleven qualifying applicants.

Applicants were required to submit financial statements and a businesses plan, and were also required to attend four training sessions held in June. Applicants are also required to either qualify as “low to middle income” (LMI) under state guidelines, or create at least one full-time job that will go to an LMI qualified individual.

The grant can be used to buy equipment, or for working capital. Each business must contribute 20% of the total cost of their proposed project in order to be reimbursed by the grant.

Zabawsky said that the businesses selected meet the state’s requirement that at least 50% of the assistance go to startup businesses. In addition, he mentioned that 4 women-owned businesses and 3 minority-owned businesses were among those selected.

A total of $175,000 will go directly to the businesses, and the remaining $25,000 will go toward grant administration and delivery by Zabawsky’s company Orion Management. Zabawsky explained that administration and delivery tasks include budgeting, filing paperwork with the state, meeting with businesses, and verifying that the awarded money is spent appropriately.

At the meeting, the board also approved Zabawsky’s company to administer a $750,000 grant the agency secured for furniture, fixtures, equipment, and machinery for The Sentinel assisted living facility, and a $500,000 grant for the rehabilitation of the former Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame building on Main Street by Cranesville Properties.

Editor’s Note: AnthemWebsites, LLC, which publishes the Mohawk Valley Compass was one of the businesses selected to receive a $5,000 grant for working capital. We will report the names of the remaining businesses once they have received final approval from the state.

Tim Becker

Tim Becker is the owner of Anthem Websites Inc. which publishes The Compass. He serves as both editor and a writer.