Business women in New York City are eligible for a number of programs that provide funding, education, mentoring and networking opportunities through the Mayor’s Office of Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprises. However, these MWBE programs are not the only resources available to female entrepreneurs. In fact, the city’s Department of Small Business Services offers a program designed exclusively for women called WE NYC (Women Entrepreneurs NYC). Read on to learn more about what WE NYC can do for you.
WE NYC History and Mission
According to the NYC Department of Small Business Services, there are nearly 360,000 women entrepreneurs in New York City, who employ over 190,000 workers and contribute over $50 billion annually to the city’s economy. Yet women business owners are outpaced by their male counterparts on almost ever front. For example, men own 1.5 times as many businesses as women, employ 3.5 times the number of workers, and generate 4.5 times the amount of revenue as female entrepreneurs.
To investigate the reasons behind this gender gap, Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen and New York City First Lady Chirlane McCray partnered with the New York City Department of Small Business Services to launch the WE NYC initiative. Although the program is available to all women in the five boroughs, the goal was specifically to increase income stability for women in under-served communities both by supporting entrepreneurship and by helping established business owners grow their companies. The first step: an online survey followed by a series of in-person interviews, focus groups and community forums that identified the key challenges and opportunities women entrepreneurs in New York City encounter every day. The results, which are summarized in the report, Unlocking the Power of Women Entrepreneurs in New York City. were the foundation on which the WE NYC programs and services were built.
WE NYC Programs
WE NYC offers a variety of free programs and services that assist women who want to start their own business or grow a business they presently own. These include networking opportunities, mentoring sessions and educational courses offered in various locations and in several different languages. Thus far, the city has helped over 5,000 women establish or grow their businesses through the resources listed here.
WE Legal – This free program connects women entrepreneurs to lawyers from some of New York’s top law firms, who provide one-on-one advice about issues such as:
- Choosing a legal structure for a business (e.g LLC, S Corporation etc)
- Negotiating a commercial lease
- Protecting intellectual property
- Understanding employment laws
WE Fund Crowd: In partnership with the crowdfunding site Kiva, NYC will invest the first 10 percent of a qualified female entrepreneur’s crowdfunding goal up to a total of $1,000. To learn more or to apply for the program, click here.
WE Fund Growth: Developed for women with established businesses who need funding for growth, WE Fund Growth partners with lenders such as Renaissance Economic Development Corporation, NYBDC, Excelsior Growth Fund, BOC Capital Corp, and Brooklyn Cooperative Federal Credit Union to help women obtain loans of up to $125,000.
WE Fund Venture: Under the leadership of Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen and the New York City Economic Development Corporation, the city has created the Venture Capital Investment Consortium and is seeking out venture capital partners who understand the disparities women entreprenurs face and who wish to join NYC in “remedying this gender gap by making capital more accessinle to women entrepreneurs.” Proposals for the plan were due Nov. 3, 2018.
WE Connect Events: These city sponsored networking events offer the opportunity for women entrepreneurs to meet and share their stories through brainstorming sessions and small group discussions. Most events begin with an inspiring presentation by a successful woman entrepreneur. See the WE Connect events calendar to find workshops and events near you.
WE Connect Mentors: Learn from successful women entrepreneurs at these weekly in-person mentoring sessions, where small groups share stories and share strategies for success. Find mentoring sessions near you or sign up for the next session here.
WE Master Money: These interactive workshops teach women about various financing options for their businesses and provide an opportunitty to meet representatives from alternative lending sources. The city recommends you use the online Babson Financial Education Tool to determine if you would benefit from this program.
WE Master Money: Credit: Learn the ins and outs of business credit by participating in one or more of these one-on-one financial counseling sessions with a certified financial counselor.
WE Master Leadership: A series of workshops offering tools to help women entrepreneurs hone their leadership, sales and negotiating skills. Pre-workshop resources, such as this free Business Model Canvas are available online to help you examine and critique your business model before you attend
WE Connect Portal: This is an invaluable online resource that features how-to guides, tools to interact with mentors, a searchable directory of events and much more.
To stay up to date and informed about all of the events, workshops, and opportunities offered by WE NYC, sign up for updates here.
About The Carmoon Group
The Carmoon Group Ltd. is a minority-owned insurance broker headquartered in Hicksville, New York. Through a large network of partners and associates, we service businesses all across the United States and beyond, offering comprehensive business insurance programs and risk management solutions at an affordable price. Please give us a call to set up an appointment to discuss your needs. Or, if calling isn’t convenient, just reach out online and we will get back to you right away.