August is Black Business Month, a month for uplifting and supporting Black-owned businesses. While the Black community currently makes up 22% of New York City’s population (1.9 million), just 3.5% of NYC businesses are owned by Black entrepreneurs. And during the pandemic, Black-owned businesses in New York City were twice as likely to be closed during the pandemic than their white counterparts, and only received about 12% of the PPP funding they asked for.
But we know that Black-owned businesses are essential to the fabric of NYC, and they help define the character and feel of a community and enhance the identity of our economic makeup. We also know that there is tremendous potential for more Black-owned businesses to start and grow.
That’s why we started BE NYC, a first-of-its-kind model in any major American city to actively address this disparity and build generational wealth in the Black community. Advancing Black Entrepreneurship in NYC is the blueprint for this initiative, focusing on equitable access to financing, strengthening connections within the City’s Black entrepreneurial community, and scaling Black businesses for long-term success.
We know that entrepreneurship is the most viable solution to address the racial wealth gap, and over the last year we’ve ramped up our BE NYC programming, from mentorship and networking opportunities to our Juneteenth event, the “Five Boro Black Business Forum: The Future Starts Here.” Since September 2020, over 1800 entrepreneurs have attended BE NYC workshops, mentorship events, and networking opportunities.
This August and beyond, we will continue to honor our commitment to equity of opportunity. This means balancing our economic scales in a way that thoughtfully cultivates the many talents and needs of a historically diverse population so that everyone can participate. New York City does this best when we work together.
We encourage you to support Black-owned businesses this August and year-round. Visit nyc.gov/shopyourcity to find local Black-owned businesses in your neighborhood.
If you’re a Black entrepreneur, we hope you’ll join us at an upcoming BE NYC event. Visit nyc.gov/benyc to learn more.
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