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Boosting Incomes in Hard Times: Encouraging and Supporting Low-Income Entrepreneurship in Queens

Event - October 2020

Boosting Incomes in Hard Times: Encouraging and Supporting Low-Income Entrepreneurship in Queens

On October 22nd, CUF held a virtual policy forum to explore whether low-income entrepreneurship should be among the strategies city policymakers pursue to help those hardest hit by the pandemic boost incomes and generate wealth, and to discuss what’s needed to support first-time entrepreneurs from low-income communities in Queens.

Tags: entrepreneurship low income economic growth economic opportunity

"Boosting Incomes in Hard Times: Encouraging and Supporting Low-Income Entrepreneurship in Queens"

A Center for an Urban Future Virtual Policy Symposium

Replay of the event


With Queens experiencing an official unemployment rate of 16.4 percent—the third-highest rate in the state—and few new job openings on the horizon, entrepreneurship and self-employment could become an increasingly important pathway for low-income New Yorkers to earn income and provide for their families during the long road to economic recovery. But while neighborhoods from Rockaway and Hollis to Long Island City have no shortage of highly creative and entrepreneurial residents, many New Yorkers from lower-income communities don’t see business formation or self-employment as a viable path, even in better economic times—and many who do aspire to start a business are stymied by the numerous obstacles along the way.

The second in CUF's five-borough forum series on encouraging and supporting low-income entrepreneurship, this event explored whether low-income entrepreneurship should be among the strategies city policymakers pursue to help those hardest hit by the pandemic boost incomes and generate wealth. It discussed what’s needed to support first-time entrepreneurs from low-income communities in Queens, and examined how to ensure that more of the New Yorkers from low-income backgrounds who do turn to entrepreneurship have the tools and resources to succeed. Our forum shined a light on that opportunity, featuring a panel of Queens-based entrepreneurs from lower-income backgrounds in conversation with local and national entrepreneurship experts and city officials.

Speakers included:

  • Adrienne Adams, Council Member, NYC Council
  • Monique Hector, Manager of Entrepreneurship, Queens Public Library
  • J.D. LaRock, President & CEO,  Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship
  • Dianna Rose, Founder, Jars of Delight
  • Bishop Mitchell Taylor, Urban Upbound

A video of the full discussion is available here.

This symposium is made possible through generous support from Santander. We are also grateful for general support from The Clark Foundation and the Bernard F. and Alva B. Gimbel Foundation, and ongoing support from a number of other philanthropic funders.