WE NYC is proud to share the results of our impact report which builds on the findings of our foundational research and analyzes the impact that WE NYC programs have had on women entrepreneurs in New York City. Unlocking the Power of Women Entrepreneurs: The Influence of the WE NYC Initiative, shows promising development for the women joining the WE NYC programs. Women who attended at least two WE NYC programs were twice as likely to advance their businesses from pre-startup to operating, and 56% of respondents said that WE NYC helped them grow their business in the past 12 months.
In 2015, NYC has 359,000 women entrepreneurs, employing over 190,000 people and generating $50 billion annually in sales. Five years on, the number of women-owned businesses in NYC grew to 587,000 – the most of any city in the United States – employing over 321,000 people and generating more than $71 billion in sales.
Businesses owned by women of color are growing at an astounding rate and, in times where we have evidenced the disparities that still exist in our City, it is extraordinary to find that about 60% of the WE NYC participants were women of color, at least 30% identify as Latinx, and more than half of the initiative's services were provided in the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens, which are home to approximately two-thirds of the immigrant population in New York City.
Women entrepreneurs are key economic actors in New York City — building businesses that support families, uplift communities and generate jobs.
WE NYC (Women Entrepreneurs NYC) is an initiative based out of the New York City Department of Small Business Services that is dedicated to helping women start and grow their businesses.
According to our foundational research, men own 1.5 times the number of businesses, have 3.5 times the number of employees, and generate 4.5 times the amount of revenue. WE NYC researched the reasons for this gender gap and developed tailored programs and tools with women entrepreneurs through user testing and intensive feedback efforts to create an initiative that connects women entrepreneurs with the resources, education and community they need to thrive.
When the WE NYC initiative was established, it was the first of its kind in a major American city to empower women to pursue entrepreneurship in a range of sectors, including retail trade, personal care services, and construction. WE NYC services are offered at no-cost to participants and they are open to the public across the five boroughs.
Since its launch, and as March 2021, WE NYC has provided over 28,000 services to nearly 17,000 women through its 11 programs. Among many other milestones WE NYC has held over 1,900 hours of WE Master workshops, has provided over 300 hours of the WE Connect Mentors program, and has provided over $8.9 million in affordable loans to help women start and grow their businesses through the WE Fund program.
To best serve women entrepreneurs, WE NYC connected with over 1,500 women entrepreneurs through interviews, community forums, and surveys. We identified challenges and opportunities and discovered that despite the significant gender gap, women business owners contribute over $50 billion dollars annually in revenue to the City!
Unlocking the Power of Women Entrepreneurs in New York City is a comprehensive research report commissioned by WE NYC and funded by Citi Community Development that engaged more than 1,500 women business owners through an online survey, focus groups, community forums, and in-person conversations to uncover the most pressing challenges and opportunities facing women business owners in New York City.
To design responsive and inclusive WE NYC services that makes sense in women’s lives, the WE NYC team learned from the real experts on this issue: the women entrepreneurs working every day to start and grow their businesses. Over the course of five weeks, the WE NYC team sat down with more than 150 women business owners in neighborhoods across the five boroughs to learn more about what it takes to be a woman entrepreneur in New York City.
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