Mayor de Blasio today announced new commitments to further invest in Black entrepreneurs in all five boroughs. The BE NYC initiative is a first-of-its-kind model, which aims to increase the number of Black-owned businesses in New York City with a focus on growing businesses in high-growth industries. As part of the City’s commitment to close the racial wealth gap and support Black-owned businesses, the Department of Small Business Services is releasing the landmark Black entrepreneurship report and using its partnerships to launch four new programs for Black business owners.
“Black entrepreneurs built New York City,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “This historic public-private partnership will ensure we can come together to support them, and give them the recognition they have deserved for so long.”
“Black-owned businesses are certainly struggling, and helping them grow is part of the broader struggle for racial justice,” said J. Phillip Thompson, Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives and Co-Chair of the Racial Inclusion and Equity Taskforce. “The commitments made today will provide significant opportunity for these small business owners to grow in new economies and lay the foundation for a more equitable future.”
"NYC-based businesses form the backbone of our city's economy, and I commend SBS for this important initiative," said Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Vicki Been. "Thank you to Mastercard, Ernst & Young, and Brooklyn Navy Yard for contributing resources that foster Black entrepreneurship and business ownership in our communities."
“Black entrepreneurs are an essential part of the fabric of New York City, and equity and opportunity are at the core of the work we do at SBS. These values lay the foundation for BE NYC,” said Jonnel Doris, Commissioner of the Department of Small Business Services. “Working together with business, academic, government and community leaders, we are striving to create a fairer and more equitable city where Black-owned businesses can grow and thrive.”
“We look forward to the release of this final report which is a close analysis of the many challenges facing Black Businesses based on an in depth conversation with those very businesses,” said Maggie D. Austin, Senior Advisor and Director of the Mayor’s Office of M/WBEs. “Over the past year our partners at SBS have developed this critical tool for understanding challenges in the market place and some long term solutions that the City can leverage or provide such as access to capital and mentorship opportunities. Although the work began long before the timing of this report is crucial as COVID-19 has wrought new obstacles and deepened longstanding ones. New York wins when black businesses succeed and thrive.”
Blueprint for Investing in Black-Owned Businesses
Informed by more than 1,500 current and aspiring Black entrepreneurs, business leaders, community leaders and advocates, SBS is publishing Advancing Black Entrepreneurship in NYC - a blueprint for advancing Black entrepreneurship in all five boroughs. The report highlights the challenges Black entrepreneurs face when starting and growing their businesses and offers recommendations in four key areas:
- Provide equitable access to financing
- Strengthen connections within NYC’s Black entrepreneurial community
- Scale Black businesses for long-term success
- Meet the challenges of the economy of tomorrow
To view the full report and to learn more, visit nyc.gov/benyc.
BE NYC’s inaugural partners will work together with the City to address the key challenges and respond to the recommendations in the report. The commitments made today are just the beginning. The City is dedicated to working with partners in the private and philanthropic sectors to deepen our reach into communities of color and make sure our resources are being distributed equitably.
Providing Access to World-Class Business Experts
Less than 40% of Black entrepreneurs reported that they had access to mentors and advisors. As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to disproportionately impact the health and economic welfare of Black communities across the city, time with advisors has become even more scarce—and even more important. To address this need, the City has partnered with Ernst & Young (EY) to connect Black entrepreneurs with world-class resources and guidance. In this new, three-part program, EY has committed to:
- Creating a resource hub that will allow Black entrepreneurs to access materials from entrepreneurship experts
- Hosting interactive online group learning sessions, providing face-to-face interaction and support from experts while promoting peer-to-peer learning and network building among participants
- Offering 2,000 hours of one-on-one consulting on business planning, operational improvements, and financial planning for Black business owners.
“Black-owned businesses of all sizes are part of the fabric of New York City,” said Kelly Grier, EY US Chair and Managing Partner and Americas Managing Partner. “But Black entrepreneurs have not always had access to the resources, capital and networks to equitably succeed and contribute to economic recovery and resiliency. Our hope is that by collaborating with the City of New York, we will guide Black entrepreneurs and connect them to helpful resources. When every entrepreneur succeeds, we all succeed.”
“Black entrepreneurs face outsized challenges in accessing the resources, network and capital they need to thrive,” said Asahi Pompey, President of the Goldman Sachs Foundation and Global Head of Corporate Engagement. “The pandemic has laid bare the inequities faced by the Black community, and Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses is proud to support the City’s efforts to create meaningful opportunity for Black-owned businesses.”
Building upon its longstanding partnership with the City, Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses will support BE NYC by facilitating access to affordable financing and business education. Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses is committed to advance the solutions outlined in Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Doris’ blueprint to support Black-owned businesses across New York City.
Closing the Digital Divide
More than 70% of Black business owners indicated that they want assistance reaching more customers and growing their sales. In this current moment, where virtual storefronts and e-commerce are more important than ever, Mastercard will join New York City in its efforts, helping to ensure that Black entrepreneurs survive and thrive in a post-COVID economy by providing the resources they need and deserve to launch and maintain their business, as well as expand and improve their online presence. This includes:
· Delivering tailored business education and mentorship designed exclusively with and for the Black business community of NYC to address the challenges they face, including the ability to reach and sell to customers online.
· Providing access to the Mastercard Main Street Resource Center including its suite of services and Digital Doors™ initiative, to further provide the digital tools needed to run their business.
· Helping Black entrepreneurs establish virtual storefronts and providing effective cyber-security safeguards at no cost.
“It’s time to acknowledge that starting and growing a business is hard enough without the additional challenges of a system that feels built to hold you back, ” said Ajay Banga, Chief Executive Officer of Mastercard. “We have to stack the deck in favor of success for everyone. That means doing our part in pulling down the road blocks and giving NYC’s Black-owned businesses the tools and resources they need to take hold of the opportunities before them now and the power to grow and thrive into tomorrow. Joining Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Doris in this effort is just one way we can help level the playing field and close the digital divide so that the digital economy really can benefit everyone, everywhere.”
Launching a BE NYC Accelerator
Through an initial $3 million investment of capital and operating funds from the City Council, the Brooklyn Navy Yard, The Young Men's Initiative, and SBS will launch a BE NYC accelerator to help cultivate businesses for the economy of tomorrow. This effort will include meeting space and technical assistance focusing on launching and growing local Black-owned businesses. The Brooklyn Navy Yard will identify partners to build out the space, curate an active community and product programming for participants.
“The Brooklyn Navy Yard continues to invest in initiatives that address the need for racial equity including expanded access and resources for underserved communities,” said David Ehrenberg, President & CEO of the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation. “The BE NYC accelerator will directly support Black entrepreneurs as the Yard continues to do its part to rebuild and reshape the City's economy — one that values and celebrates the contributions of women and our Black and Brown neighbors. We thank the de Blasio administration for including us as we re-envision the future of the business community in New York City.”
“As Black entrepreneurs, we know firsthand the sacrifice and determination needed to start a business or work in a corporate office and understand the challenges our community faces as they embark on that journey,” said the BE NYC Cabinet. “The BE NYC initiative not only highlights the barriers in a milestone report , but also actively works to dismantle them through innovative, collaborative solutions. We know that eradicating a system built on hate can only be done through partnership and we are delighted with this incredible opportunity to help shape the future of Black business and the future of NYC.”