By Ryan Velez
The Network Journal reports that New York City mayor Bill deBlasio and Small Business Services Commissioner Gregg Bishop have helped 1,500 women through its new WE NYC Program. This new concept is trying to connect women entrepreneurs with the resources and support that are needed to get a good start in business.
“Empowering and supporting women entrepreneurs will benefit our city’s growing economy and help all New Yorkers achieve their full potential,” Bishop explained. “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.”
This only stands to be the tip of the iceberg, though. In its time to date, the program has held 256 hours of workshops, 140 hours of direct mentoring, as well as launching a set of courses covering essential business topics like leadership, credit building, funding, mentorships, and networking events. Equally impressive is the long lineup of partnerships forged by the WE NYC Program. These include the Huffington Post, Citi Community Development, Deutsche Bank, Grameen America, the Office of Financial Empowerment, Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses, as well as many others. The Program’s Advisory members include Mika 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, and more.
Council Member Laurie A. Cumbo, Chair of the Committee on Women’s Issues and co-Chair of the Women’s Caucus, explained why something like this program was so needed to support women entrepreneurs in various stages of business. “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.”
While this is an excellent start for the program, it will be interesting to see how this strong start plays out in the future. Anyone in business will generally require consistent advice and support to succeed, especially for groups like women who are traditionally underrepresented in these areas. Regardless, the city of New York putting such an effort will hopefully spur other business hubs to do the same.