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Black Entrepreneurs NYC (BE NYC)

BE NYC Means Equal Entrepreneurship

Black-owned businesses are an essential part of the fabric of New York City, and entrepreneurship has provided a pathway to wealth generation for Black families for centuries. Yet, Black entrepreneurs face enormous barriers and are vastly underrepresented among New York City's business owners. 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. There is tremendous potential for more Black-owned businesses to start and grow.

The forces that drive this disparity are essential to understand as the City of New York works to build a stronger and fairer city by creating opportunity for all, safeguarding the American dream, and addressing the racial gap. That's why in September 2019 - in partnership with community members, organizations, advocates, and leaders - we launched Black Entrepreneurs NYC (BE NYC), a groundbreaking model for a major American city to help create equity of opportunity by advancing Black entrepreneurship. 

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BE NYC Services

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Discover & Support Black-Owned Businesses

Black-owned businesses are an essential part of the fabric of New York City; beyond offering goods and services, they're often used as event and meeting spaces after hours, and share information about critical resources with the community. Supporting our City's Black-owned small businesses will help reduce the racial wealth gap and contribute to our City's economic recovery.

Discover Black-owned Small Businesses Across the City

Upcoming Events

BE NYC hosts webinars and events on a variety of topics tailored for Black entrepreneurs.

Discover and Sign Up for Upcoming BE NYC Events

BE NYC Startup Intensive

BE NYC Startup Intensive is a free, 40-hour intensive instructional course based on the FastTrac® curriculum that provides Black entrepreneurs with the knowledge and skills they need to launch and run successful businesses in NYC.

Learn More and Apply for BE NYC Startup Intensive

BE NYC x VOLS Legal Services Partnership

A partnership between SBS’s BE NYC initiative and Volunteers of Legal Services (VOLS) provides free legal services to NYC’s Black entrepreneurs and underserved communities. By leveraging VOLS’s dedicated network of staff and pro bono volunteer attorneys, the partnership connects New York City business owners to one-on-one free transactional legal education, advice, and representation on business formation, contracts, taxes, intellectual property, human resources, and other emergent issues. Additionally, VOLS organizes clinics and educational workshops on a range of legal challenges faced by entrepreneurs.

Interested business owners should fill out this form to get started, join upcoming BE NYC events, and call SBS's Small Business Hotline (888-SBS-4NYC) for more information.

Report: Advancing Black Entrepreneurship in NYC

To define the direction of the initiative, we combined insights from historical research, scholarly articles, public data and, most importantly, the voices of more than 1,500 Black entrepreneurs, business leaders, community leaders, and advocates from every borough and across industries. They told us about their motivations for starting a business, challenges, needs, and how the city can help. Although COVID-19 had significantly changed the economic landscape, the top needs we heard from Black entrepreneurs remain the same: access to capital, lack of business background and reliable resources, finding customers, affordable workspace, and networking.

The report highlights the challenges Black entrepreneurs face when starting and growing their businesses and offers solutions through public-private partnerships. The recommendations, created in conjunction with the public, private, philanthropic, and non-profit sectors will help achieve the following goals:

  1. Provide equitable access to financing
  2. Strengthen connections within NYC's Black entrepreneurial community
  3. Scale Black businesses for long-term success
  4. Meet the challenges of the economy of tomorrow 

Through the four pathways outlined above, BE NYC aims to increase the number of Black-owned businesses in New York City, with a focus on growing businesses in high-growth industries.

Read the Advancing Black Entrepreneurship in NYC Report

"You Do It With Your Heart": Black Business Solidarity Initiative

You Do It With Your Heart highlights the economic power of Black New Yorkers and the cultural significance of Black-owned businesses, which have long been a cornerstone of New York City neighborhoods. In this multimedia series, Black business owners shared their backgrounds, and discussed how they have been affected by the economy, COVID-19, and growing gentrification. Their oral histories play over stunning images taken by the NYC Commission on Human Rights' Public Artist in Residence, renowned photographer Andre D. Wagner.