NYC Women's Entrepreneurship Program Reaches Nearly 1,500 Women with Mentoring, Training and Other Resources Over First Year

December 14, 2016

First-of-a-kind WE NYC Program aims to help close gender gap by giving women entrepreneurs the resources and support needed to build a thriving business

NEW YORK––Mayor Bill de Blasio and Department of Small Business Services Commissioner Gregg Bishop today announced that nearly 1,500 women have been reached through the City’s WE NYC program, a new program connecting women entrepreneurs with the resources and support they need to build a thriving business.

“Everyone in New York City should have the means they need to thrive, and my Administration is working tirelessly to make that happen,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “WE NYC has reached a significant number of women entrepreneurs, and that number will only grow as we expand our programs that help women establish, grow and sustain their businesses. Doing so will not only support established and future business leaders, but will also allow communities across the five boroughs to flourish economically.”

“Empowering and supporting women entrepreneurs will benefit our city’s growing economy and help all New Yorkers achieve their full potential,” said Gregg Bishop, Commissioner of the Department of Small Business Services. “I am proud of the work we have done over the past year by connecting women with the tools needed to succeed and we are aiming to engage 5,000 women entrepreneurs in our programs by the end of 2018.”

“We have spent years fighting for equality in the work force, ensuring equal opportunity and leveling the playing field for women in business,” said Executive Director of the Commission on Gender Equity Azadeh Khalili. “We know that when women thrive and create their own businesses, the entire city benefits. WE NYC has already connected with countless future business leaders, giving these women the resources they need to establish, sustain and grow their businesses. I look forward to collaborating with WE NYC and continuing the fight for gender equality throughout this city.”

In addition to reaching nearly 1,500 women, WE NYC achieved the following milestones:

  • 256 Hours of Workshops;
  • 140 Hours of Direct Mentoring;
  • Launched courses on:
    • Leadership
    • Credit building
    • Funding
    • Mentorships, and
    • Networking events.
  • Partnerships with The Huffington Post, Citi Community Development, Deutsche Bank, Grameen America, the Office of Financial Empowerment, Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses, among others;
  • WE NYC Advisory Council members include Mike Brzezinski, co-host of MSNBC’s Morning Joe; Joanna Coles, Editor-in-Chief of Cosmopolitan; Sheena Wright, CEO of United Way of New York City; Heather Jassay, Senior Vice President of Etsy, among many others.

“I would like to congratulate the Mayor, Commissioner Bishop in the Department of Small Business Services and his team on their milestone of reaching nearly 1,500 women in the first year of the Women’s Entrepreneurship Program by offering mentoring, training and access to capital,” said Assembly Member Rodneyse Bichotte, Chair of the Subcommittee on the Oversight of Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprises. “The many hours of mentoring, workshops, coursework and the strategic partnerships will pay dividends well into the future. The economic uplifting of women not only affects them as individuals but ripples outward to uplift communities. Furthermore, I applaud Commissioner Bishop for making it his goal to reach 5,000 women by the end of 2018.”

“Women-owned businesses are a key component of our city’s economic development, but often face everyday challenges that threaten their viability. Through WE NYC, we are cultivating the next generation of women entrepreneurs whose businesses will thrive, create jobs and strengthen its surrounding community. This program is an incredible opportunity for current or aspiring women entrepreneurs to pursue their own path towards financial independence,” said Council Member Laurie A. Cumbo, Chair of the Committee on Women’s Issues and co-Chair of the Women’s Caucus.

Connecting Women Entrepreneurs With Access To Capital
SBS just launched WE Master Money: Funding in partnership with the Business Outreach Center Network. One of the top challenges identified by women entrepreneurs in surveys is finding access to capital. This latest addition to the WE NYC program helps budding entrepreneurs identifying the right funding opportunities, who to ask, how to develop an effective pitch, etc. The workshop was designed by Babson College.

Why WE NYC?
WE NYC was founded on the principle that women entrepreneurs are vital to the New York City economy as they build businesses that support families, uplift communities and generate jobs. Although there are almost 360,000 women entrepreneurs in the City that have roughly $50 billion in annual revenue, men own 1.5 times the number of businesses, have 3.5 times the number of employees, and generate 4.5 times the amount of revenue. WE NYC aims to bridge this gender gap through fostering potential and empowering women entrepreneurs by helping women to start and grow their own businesses. Since its launch WE NYC has reached nearly 1,500 women and is on track to meet its goal of reaching 5,000 by the end of 2018.

WE NYC Success Story
Alejandra Chaparro recently founded a public relations, social media and content management company, 17 Entertainment, Inc., which she runs out of Harlem. To better grow her business, she attended a WE Master Leadership workshop in September 2016 and came away with the following:

“The WE Master Leadership workshop gave me the confidence and inspiration to finally call myself an entrepreneur. I’ve been delivering services for a few months now but there was always the doubt of whether I was doing it well. I worked corporate jobs before but always wanted to own a business. However, the fear of the unknown and not knowing the value of my work were setting me back. Now I have tools to better position my services and the confidence to seek out business in my industry. The workshop taught me to think strategically about my operations, to tweak my services to better serve my niche and to have the right conversations with clients to grow my business. Since then I’ve narrowed my focus to branding and social media presence services and landed new contracts. I’d love to see more of these workshops and I’m extremely grateful for this service.”

Since attending the workshop, Chaparro secured a contract for PR services with Corewoman, which is run by WE NYC mentor, Diana Franco, and co-sponsors the WE NYC workshops held in Spanish.

About WE NYC
In order to serve the diverse population of women entrepreneurs throughout the 5 boroughs, NYC SBS partners with NextStreet, Ariva, Business Outreach Center, New York Women’s Chamber of Commerce, Grameen America, Corewoman, and the Coalition of Latin American Consulates in New York.

WE NYC developed tailored programs based upon research and direct feedback from women entrepreneurs to better connect upcoming women entrepreneurs with the resources, education, and community they need to flourish. Over the past year, WE NYC successfully launched ongoing workshop series that provide women with a variety of tools and resources to be successful in developing their business.

  • WE Master Leadership offers tips for mastering negotiation skills, crafting formal business pitches, and honing collaborative leadership skills.
  • WE Master Money Credit provides insight on how to improve and understand credit. Participants have the opportunity to meet one-on-one with a certified financial counselor.
  • WE Master Money: Funding teaches women about capital planning and investment options. At these workshops, participants meet with representatives from alternative lending sources.
  • WE Connect Mentors and WE Connect Events connect women with mentors and a network of successful entrepreneurs. Workshops include one-on-one sessions, small group sessions, and brainstorming sessions.

WE Connect Portal
The WE Connect Portal was launched this year to provide women entrepreneurs access to a one-stop shop equipped with how-to guides for starting a business, access to local resources, a searchable database of professional development events, a map of women-owned businesses, a platform for interacting with mentors, and narratives from successful business owners. The WE Connect Portal can be found at https://we.nyc/.

Acknowledgements
The Department of Small Business Services would like to thank the following private funders and delivery & outreach partners for WE NYC: Citi Community Development, Deutsche Bank, NextStreet, Ariva, Business Outreach Center, New York Women’s Chamber of Commerce, Grameen America, Chinatown Partnership,

About the Department of Small Business Services
SBS helps unlock economic potential and create economic security for all New Yorkers by connecting New Yorkers to good jobs, creating stronger businesses, and building thriving neighborhoods across the five boroughs. For more information, follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram, or visit our website.

pressoffice@cityhall.nyc.gov

(212) 788-2958