August 19, 2021
NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio, the NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS) Commissioner Jonnel Doris, and Ernst & Young LLP (EY US), today announced BE NYC Access: Consulting, a new program to connect Black entrepreneurs with world-class technical consulting services and business resources.
Through BE NYC Access: Consulting, up to 500 business owners will receive up to four hours of pro bono consulting and guidance from EY on financial management, accessing capital and understanding and engaging customers. For more information on the program and the application process, visit nyc.gov/BENYCConsulting.
“Building a recovery for all of us means giving Black entrepreneurs all the tools they need to grow their businesses and serve their communities,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “New York City is proud to marshal free, world-class professional services for the next generation of Black businesses that will keep our city vibrant and move our economy forward.”
“Black businesses have flourished in New York City for over centuries,” said J. Phillip Thompson, Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives and Co-Chair of the Racial Inclusion and Equity Taskforce. “BE NYC Access: Consulting will provide critical services and resources, so Black-owned businesses can pivot and thrive from the pandemic.”
“Black owned businesses have been fighting to keep their doors open and serve their local communities — and SBS will continue to be a reliable partner for them,” said Jonnel Doris, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Small Business Services. "We are thrilled to work with EY to provide access to a robust professional network and their consulting services. As the City continues to make great strides toward recovery, the program will enable Black entrepreneurs to adjust their businesses to meet the City’s most pressing needs and continue to contribute to our economic recovery."
“At BE NYC, our efforts to unlock the potential of Black entrepreneurs are fueled by industry research, the lived experience of the BE NYC community, and our strategic partnerships,” said Kenneth Ebie, Executive Director & Chief Development Officer of Black Entrepreneurs NYC (BE NYC). “We are tremendously grateful for our collaboration with EY, which will help connect Black business owners with guidance of best-in-class business consultants to successfully navigate the challenges and opportunities presented by our City’s economic recovery.”
“I applaud the partnership with EY which will help Black-owned businesses acquire the tools they need to succeed,” said Magalie D. Austin, Director of the Mayor’s Office of M/WBEs and Senior Advisor. ”Black-owned business are a critical part of our communities and the City will not fully recover if we don’t support their success.”
According to BE NYC’s landmark report Advancing Black Entrepreneurship in NYC, less than 40% of Black entrepreneurs reported that they had adequate access to mentors and advisors in operating their business. While Black-owned small businesses are essential to the fabric of New York City, many have historically been left behind due to limited access to capital and bank loans, predatory credit policies, and the lack of banking relationships.
In all, EY will provide a total of 2,000 consulting hours. BE NYC Access: Consulting is the fourth program the City has launched since 2020 to support Black-owned businesses and raise the racial wealth gap, after BE NYC: Startup Intensive, BE NYC Mentors and Shop Your City: BE NYC. All business owners operating a business within the five boroughs of New York City are eligible to apply for the program. The program has been tailored to the challenges of Black entrepreneurs and other underrepresented business owners identified in the BE NYC Advancing Black Entrepreneurship report. To apply, visit nyc.gov/BENYCConsulting.
“Black entrepreneurs, with their innovation and vision, contribute so much to our city. Yet they too often lack access to the resources needed to thrive,” said Marcus Odedina, EY US Global Client Service Partner. “By teaming with BE NYC, our goal is to support Black entrepreneurs across New York as they scale their businesses and reinvest in their communities.”
“Marketing, financing, access to capital and technical assistance are all key to ensuring entrepreneurs can bring their ideas to fruition and turn a business plan into a realized opportunity. The Small Business Services new program, BE NYC Access: Consulting, will be a great resource for so many of our minority businesses who have been challenged by our constantly evolving economy," said State Senator Leroy Comrie. “I commend Mayor de Blasio, Commissioner Doris and all of the partnering entities for connecting with Ernst and Young to provide technical support, institutional knowledge and importantly, mentorship to our black-owned business community. Expanding the access to professional networks and resources will allow our business owners to recover and rebound from the impact of the pandemic and help reinvigorate our city."
“As the person who authored the laws that created the MWBE program, I understand the tremendous amount of resources that a partnership like this brings to the table. Many of these businesses were already struggling when they were slammed by the pandemic. MWBEs need many things including business training and access to capital, but in addition to that, they need technical consulting services in order to thrive. I look forward to seeing the fruits of the BE NYC Access: Consulting program,” said State Senator James Sanders Jr.
The BE NYC Access: Consulting program will help elevate Black-owned businesses in the City, and will drive a more equitable recovery for us all," said Assembly Member Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn, Chair of the subcommittee on Minority and Women-owned Businesses. "This program, which provides technical consulting services and business resources, will help Black business owners grow their professional network and access capital. I thank the City and partnering organizations for making these opportunities a reality for 500 Black entrepreneurs and taking us one step closer to closing the racial wealth gap."
“I’ve always advocated for a level playing field when it comes to economic opportunities for all New Yorkers. This proposal is just another example of how government and private business can bolster the future success of our city and state. I look forward to working with the current and incoming city administration to assure this proposal is utilized on the North Shore of Staten Island.” said Assembly Member Charles D. Fall.
“The partnership between government and private entities like Ernst & Young are critical for Black businesses to even the playing field. This will grant access to resources otherwise not afforded to these entrepreneurs,” said Assembly Member Chantel Jackson.
“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. I applaud all of the partners and stakeholders who made this public-private partnership possible," said Assembly Member Al Taylor.
“During the pandemic, many of the Black businesses in our community have faced financial instability, and have lacked access to resources that would help them succeed during these unprecedented times. The implementation of this program will give these organizations the tools they need to adapt in an ever-changing, technology-driven business environment. We applaud the mayor and the New York City Department of Small Business Services for BE NYC Access: Consulting,” said Assembly Member Clyde Vanel.
"An entrepreneur is only as successful as the strength of their networks. Access to capital - specifically intellectual capital - has hindered Black entrepreneurs in New York City for far too long,” said Wole Coaxum, Founder + CEO, Mobility Capital Finance, Inc and BE NYC Cabinet Member. “This exciting initiative creates a systemic framework for our businesses to compete and thrive in today's challenging environment. BE NYC Access: Consulting reflects a tangible step in the important journey of creating a thriving black business eco-system here in New York City."
“Minority-owned businesses across the five boroughs have long faced roadblocks to everyday capital resources and financial networks, and the pandemic only made those inequities and challenges even more clear,” said Valerie White, Executive Director of LISC NYC. “It’s excellent news that as New York City begins to recover and build itself out of this pandemic that crucial funding is being devoted to connecting Black entrepreneurs with the resources that will help these small businesses compete in the 21st century marketplace. We’re grateful for the leadership of Mayor de Blasio, Commissioner Jonnel Doris, and BE NYC Executive Director Kenneth Ebie in launching BE NYC Access: Consulting, and we’re confident that this investment in New York’s Black entrepreneurs will unlock opportunity and growth for countless small businesses that make up the backbone of our city’s economy.”
“I am honored to stand with the City of New York and SBS to envision an economy that works for all businesses. The longevity, success and wealth-building power of black-owned businesses, in particular, require innovative, data-driven solutions and partnerships such as BE NYC Access: Consulting,” said Karilyn Crockett, Professor of Urban Planning, Public Policy and History, MIT. “Bravo to all of our partners and stakeholders for pushing our collective actions beyond transaction and toward transformation.”
“The New York Urban League applauds Small Business Services new program - BE NYC Access: Consulting. As our small businesses work to pivot during challenging economic times, they are facing complex issues about staffing, capital, marketing, safety and technology. Federal and state resources must be navigated and accessed while maintaining day-to-day operations,” said Arva Rice, President and CEO of the New York Urban League. “EY is an excellent partner to provide critical guidance during these changing times. This public-private partnership is a clear example of how corporations can and should give back to make sure NYC has a strong and lasting recovery.