Kristen Reynolds, CEO and president of Discover Long Island, will...

Kristen Reynolds, CEO and president of Discover Long Island, will help lead a committee for the LIA organizing East End events. Credit: Newsday/John Paraskevas

Helping businesses on the East End to forge partnerships with their counterparts elsewhere in the region and receive assistance from economic development groups is the aim of a new initiative from the Long Island Association, officials said.

The East End Business Support Program will be unveiled on Thursday during the LIA’s “The Future of Business on the East End” event at the Atlantis banquet facility in downtown Riverhead.

The support program offers a free six-month membership in the LIA for companies with 10 or fewer employees that sign up by Aug. 31. There will be panel discussions, advocacy for East End issues and networking events held in East Hampton, Riverhead, Southampton, Southold and Shelter Island, said LIA president and CEO Matt Cohen.

“The LIA’s goal is for all of the businesses on Long Island to be able to access our network of support — from Floral Park to Montauk and everywhere in between,” he said. “That’s why we are bringing the LIA to the East End to continue to grow its diverse economy.”

More information is available at longislandassociation.org/east-end.

The LIA has done outreach to East End businesses in the past but now is establishing a committee to organize events in the area. The committee will be led by Kristen Reynolds, president and CEO of the tourism promotions agency Discover Long Island, and Kevin O’Connor, an East End banker who merged Bridgehampton National Bank into Dime Community Bank and now leads Dime.

"As the CEO of an organization that has a 100-plus-year history of supporting neighborhood businesses, Dime Bank will be actively promoting LIA’s new program and membership options to our local customer base,” O’Connor said on Wednesday.

Juan Micieli-Martinez, a longtime winemaker and president of the Long Island Farm Bureau, said the LIA initiative will "bring valuable and needed resources to our East End businesses.”

Tora Matsuoka, a partner in Manhattan-based Seasoned Hospitality, which operates K Pasa and Sen restaurants, both in Sag Harbor, agreed, saying, "We are looking forward to helping connect the hospitality industry on the East End with LIA members and to resources for a more fruitful tomorrow."

The East End program is modeled after the LIA’s “Small Business Support Program,” which launched in June and features quarterly networking events for members of the Long Island African American Chamber of Commerce, Long Island Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the LIA.

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