New York City has long been heralded as a true melting-pot, built from the efforts of people from all races, classes, and creeds. Now, as the city focuses on implementing ethical economic growth in the uncertainty of a post-COVID-19 environment, Mayor Bill de Blasio, the NYC Department of Small Business Services, Commissioner Jonnel Doris, and Ernst & Young LLP (EY) have announced a new program which would connect Black entrepreneurs with business resources and consulting services.
The program, Be NYC Access: Consulting, will provide up to 500 Black business owners in NYC with pro bono consulting from EY. The agency will provide guidance to these business owners on topics such as financial management, accessing capital, and customer relations.
This program is the fourth of its kind launched by the city. The other programs, Be NYC: Intensive, Be NYC Mentors, and Shop Your City: BE NYC, all focus on different realms of business success, and collectively attempt to minimize the racial wealth gap and provide resources to black-owned businesses. These programs cater to the unique challenges faced by underrepresented business owners and offer tailored solutions to these challenges by referencing the Advancing Black Entrepreneurship in NYC report assembled by Be NYC.
According to the report, less than 40% of the Black entrepreneurs surveyed had access to mentors or advisors. Because of factors like predatory credit practices and more limited access to capital and bank loans, the Black community has historically gotten a smaller slice of entrepreneurial success in NYC, despite being a major backbone to the city.
“New York wouldn't be what it is today without its Black and minority-owned businesses. For far too long Black entrepreneurs have faced unique systemic barriers that have prevented them from accessing the resources they need to launch, scale and thrive, preventing our communities from building and passing on generational wealth. The BE NYC Access: Consulting program will be a game changer for so many innovative and ambitious Black entrepreneurs who are vital to our economy and to our economic recovery post pandemic," said Assemblymember Al Taylor.
The program is available to any Black business owner within the five New York City boroughs and will provide a total of 2,000 consulting hours to eligible parties at four hours per person.