Skip to main content

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, safegarding the American dream, and adressing the racial gap. That's why in September 2019 - in partnership with community members, orgnizations, 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. 

Sign Up for Updates from BE NYC

BE NYC Services

Expand all

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

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 Access: Consulting

Less than 40% of Black entrepreneurs reported that they had access to mentors and advisors. As the COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately impacted the health and economic welfare of Black communities across the city, time with advisors has become even more important. To address this need, the City has partnered with EY to connect Black entrepreneurs with world-class resources and guidance. In this three-part program, EY has committed to:

  • Creating a resource hub that will allow Black entrepreneurs to access materials from entrepreneurship experts.
  • Hosting interactive online group learning sessions, providing face-to-face interaction and support from experts while promoting peer-to-peer learning and network building among participants.
  • Offering 2,000 hours of one-on-one consulting on business planning, operational improvements, and financial planning for Black business owners.

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 Mentors

BE NYC Mentors is New York City's inaugural mentorship program for Black entrepreneurs seeking to increase the number of Black-owned businesses in high-growth industries, with a programmatic focus on pre-startup and newly-formed businesses.


Closing the Digital Divide

More than 70% of Black business owners indicated that they want assistance reaching more customers and growing their sales. In this current moment, where virtual storefronts and e-commerce are more important than ever, Mastercard will join New York City in its efforts, helping to ensure that Black entrepreneurs survive and thrive in a post-COVID economy by providing the resources they need and deserve to launch and maintain their business, as well as expand and improve their online presence. This includes:

  1. Delivering tailored business education and mentorship designed exclusively with and for the Black business community of NYC to address the challenges they face, including the ability to reach and sell to customers online.
  2. Providing access to the Mastercard Main Street Resource Center including its suite of services and Digital Doors™ initiative, to further provide the digital tools needed to run their business.
  3. Helping Black entrepreneurs establish virtual storefronts and providing effective cyber-security safeguards at no cost.

"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.

Access to Capital and Business Education

The top challenges identified by Black entrepreneurs were access to capital (40%), lack of preparation and background on how to run a business (15%), and a lack of reliable resources to help (13%). Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses has a decade-long track record of addressing these gaps and providing underserved small businesses with the resources to grow. Goldman Sachs is a crucial partner to BE NYC in delivering the opportunities that Black entrepreneurs need.

Launching a BE NYC Accelerator

Through an initial $3 million investment of capital and operating funds from the New York City Council, the Brooklyn Navy Yard and SBS will launch a BE NYC accelerator to help cultivate businesses for the economy of tomorrow. This effort, funded by the city's Young Men's Initiative, will include meeting space and technical assistance focusing on launching and growing local Black-owned businesses. The Brooklyn Navy Yard will identify partners to build out the space, and curate an active community and product programming for participants.