Mayor de Blasio Launches Digital Business Resource Portal for Women Entrepreneurs

July 5, 2016

The WE NYC Portal provides women entrepreneurs across the five boroughs with access to vital resources for starting, growing and managing their businesses

NEW YORK— Today, Mayor Bill de Blasio, Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen and Department of Small Business Services (SBS) Commissioner Gregg Bishop announced the launch of the Women Entrepreneurs New York City (WE NYC) Portal, a digital one-stop shop for small business owners. As part of the broader WE NYC initiative, the first of its kind in the U.S. to address the gender gap in entrepreneurship, the portal provides women with the necessary resources for managing a business. Within the portal, women entrepreneurs have access to how-to-guides for starting a business; a directory of organizations that support entrepreneurs; a searchable database of courses and professional development events; a map of women-owned businesses; question and answer tools to interact with mentors; and narratives from successful business owners.

On the heels of being named “Best City in the World for Women Entrepreneurs,” the WE NYC portal is increasing New York City’s commitment to women business owners, and will help further support local entrepreneurs’ development and progress. Given WE NYC’s human-centered design approach, the site will be continually developed over the next two years based on user feedback to optimize effectiveness and incorporate new tools. The portal was created to serve women from all backgrounds and is offered in 90 languages.

“The City is at its best when everyone – regardless of race, gender and ethnicity – has the means they need to thrive,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “The WE NYC Portal is yet another resource for low-income and immigrant women entrepreneurs to start, manage and sustain their businesses, allowing them to uplift communities across the city.”

“The WE NYC Portal will harness the creativity, savvy and talent of women entrepreneurs and connect them with the tools and resources to succeed. By tapping into the entrepreneurial spirit of our city, women can build ladders of opportunity and financial independence, and become thought leaders and innovators in their chosen fields. We need more women in business, and WE NYC is a critical part of that goal. I thank the City for its commitment to advancing access and opportunity for women,” said Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.

“SBS is dedicated to helping businesses start, operate and grow – and women entrepreneurs are key economic drivers in New York City, generating approximately $50 billion in sales annually,” said Gregg Bishop, Commissioner of the Department of Small Business Services. “The WE NYC program at SBS is delivering on its promise to create a one-stop shop that makes it easier for women entrepreneurs to start and run a business at any stage. We are excited about the launch of this new online tool, which is just one more reason why New York is the best City in the world for women entrepreneurs.”

WE NYC partnered with Blenderbox, a digital design firm to develop the online portal. Throughout the process, Blenderbox hosted user testing sessions for groups of diverse women representing different industries, backgrounds and boroughs online and at Blenderbox headquarters in Brooklyn. Participants had the opportunity to explore the portal’s offerings, find upcoming courses, connect with fellow business owners and offer their insights and feedback on the platform.

The group of women users who tested the platform represents a wide array of experience and skill, as well as diverse personal and professional backgrounds. These entrepreneurs operate a variety of small businesses, including catering, financial planning, apparel and handbags, and event planning. Participating in the portal testing also helped them to discover how its online features support their individual business development goals. The WE NYC Portal can be found here.

"As a woman-owned business, we at Blenderbox take great pride in this opportunity to build a portal for helping women across this city develop and grow their businesses," said Blenderbox co-Founder and Creative Director Sarah McLoughlin. "In designing a modern and welcoming site, we hope to foster confidence in the women who use this resource by helping them to easily find the answers they are looking for as well as information that speaks to them."

“I really appreciated testing the new WE NYC portal. WE NYC’s dedication to helping women entrepreneurs grow and expand their businesses is terrific,” said Parisa Wang, Founder of the Love Affair Handbag. “I felt so empowered being surrounded and supported by driven women, and my own business concept was inspired by strong women everywhere. With the resourceful and user-friendly new website they are launching, the services will be leveraged to new heights and I can’t wait to use it for my own business.”

“As a data strategist, I know how crucial it is to present data in a functional, approachable and attractive way. The WE NYC Portal is an empowering tool for women entrepreneurs that does just that – pulling together many disparate pieces of information into one comprehensive and user friendly resource,” said Dayna Sessa, CEO of Datanomy Group. “By getting a sneak peek and providing my feedback, I'm even more excited now to see the site go live.”

“The WE NYC Portal is such an important and necessary resource for women entrepreneurs in New York City,” said Shannon St. Val, co-Founder of Your Financial Lane. “I was so impressed with the information and tools that were available to help me grow my business – from inspirational mentor biographies, to an incredible search tool that helps find other women – owned businesses in my neighborhood. The user-testing experience inspired me, and I am glad to have my feedback incorporated into the site’s development.”

“The WE NYC portal is another important tool in helping women succeed as entrepreneurs,” said Azadeh Khalili, Executive Director of the Commission on Gender Equity. “Our administration is committed to paving the way for greater access, opportunity and success for all women. This portal is intended to break down barriers to necessary information to manage their business.”

“Success in business depends on connections – with potential customers, suppliers and the community – that are oftentimes difficult for small business owners who were historically excluded from commerce opportunities to establish,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams. “The ‘WE Connect Portal’ promises to provide these aspiring entrepreneurs with the opportunities, as part of a comprehensive offering of resources inclusive of our small business mentoring center at Brooklyn Borough Hall, which help build companies that create jobs and wealth in our community.”

“It is exciting to see the WE Connect initiative unfold,” said Assembly Member Rodneyse Bichotte, Chair of the Subcommittee on the Oversight of Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises. “This valuable tool allows women entrepreneurs to have most, if not all, of what they need at their fingertips, 24-hours a day. This tool in addition to having access to mentors will help better ensure that they have a sound foundation and are set up for success.”

"As a member of the New York State Assembly's committees on small business and economic development, I applaud the Administration for creating the "WE Connect Portal for immigrant and low income women entrepreneurs," said Assembly Member Alicia Hyndman. “Women-owned businesses have grown rapidly in New York City, it is important that we help strengthen and nurture their development."

"New York City is the entrepreneurship capital of the world," said Council Member James Vacca, Chair of the Committee on Technology. "The WE NYC Initiative is an excellent endeavor to provide resources to women entrepreneurs. We still have a gender gap that needs to be addressed and I'm pleased that Mayor de Blasio, Deputy Mayor Glen and Commissioner Bishop are taking measures to eliminate it."

“This Administration is making significant strides to open doors for women entrepreneurs,” said Council Member Helen Rosenthal, co-Chair of the Women’s Caucus and Chair of the Committee on Contracts. “The WE NYC Portal is the most recent tool that women can use to access resources and manage their businesses. I commend Mayor de Blasio and his Commissioners for their focus on supporting small business owners – they are the backbone of our economy.”

“The WE NYC Portal is an innovative tool that will help empower women entrepreneurs who are typically disconnected from the opportunities and resources that will help them start, grow and manage their businesses. I applaud our city’s leadership and continued commitment to advance women entrepreneurship each and every day to increase their capacity to contribute towards the economic development of our city and state,” said Council Member Laurie A. Cumbo, Chair of the Committee on Women’s Issues and co-Chair of the Women’s Caucus.

“The ‘WE Connect Portal’ will place critical support services at the fingertips of female owned and operated businesses throughout the five boroughs. As we continue to confront the realities of the wage and gender gap, I am thankful that female entrepreneurs in NYC will have additional resources available to them as they start, manage and maintain their small businesses,” said Council Member Vanessa L. Gibson. “I thank Mayor Bill de Blasio, Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen and the Department of Small Business Services Commissioner Gregg Bishop for their leadership, vision and commitment to gender equality and economic growth across our great city”

As part of the broader Women Entrepreneurs NYC (WE NYC) initiative, the WE NYC Portal will help reduce New York City’s gender gap in entrepreneurship by empowering underserved women to reach their full economic potential by providing high quality and curated information to help them grow their businesses. These resources help women access mentors, networks, courses, training, inspiration and broader community of women entrepreneurs.

About Women Entrepreneurs NYC
WE NYC (Women Entrepreneurs NYC) consists of several tailored business services, including networking events and free business courses on topics such as credit building, funding and leadership. WE NYC has also convened an Advisory Council consisting of a diverse set of public, private and philanthropic partners that meet regularly to inform the initiative’s efforts.
To stay updated on WE NYC opportunities and programming, women entrepreneurs can visit WE.nyc, sign up for the WE NYC Newsletter, participate in the WE NYC digital community through the WE NYC Facebook Group, or join the conversation online using #WENYC.

About the Department of Small Business Services
The Department of Small Business Services (SBS) makes it easier for businesses in New York City to start, operate and expand by providing direct assistance to business owners, fostering neighborhood development in commercial districts and linking employers to a skilled and qualified workforce. For more information on all of SBS’ services, go to www.nyc.gov/sbs.

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