CUF Report Spurs City Programs to Support Low Income Entrepreneurs

Impact - April 2015

CUF Report Spurs City Programs to Support Low Income Entrepreneurs

Our work has sparked new city policies to train and launch low-income entrepreneurs in New York City's underserved communities.

Tags: economic opportunity human capital low income entrepreneurship workforce development public housing women entrepreneurs nycha

In 2013, we published Launching Low-Income Entrepreneurs, a study which urged city officials to take steps to expand the number of low-income entrepreneurs across the five boroughs. With middle-income jobs in decline, we argued that policymakers should embrace entrepreneurship as one route for low-income New Yorkers to achieve economic self-sufficiency. One section of our report focused on the opportunity to increase entrepreneurship and self-employment among residents of NYCHA, and one of our recommendations called on the city to “Establish Entrepreneurship Initiatives for NYCHA Residents.” 

While city programs to support low-income entrepreneurs were badly lacking prior to the publication of our report—and our May 2014 policy forum on the topic—the de Blasio administration has recently launched two important initiatives to support low-income entrepreneurs, including one focused on NYCHA residents.

First, the administration announced the Food Business Pathways Program, an innovative entrepreneurship-training program for NYCHA residents who want to start their own food business. The program offers NYCHA residents an intensive ten-week training program that covers topics such as developing a business concept, capacity-building, licensing, and operations and management. Then, in March, the administration launched WE NYC, an initiative to expand female entrepreneurship in the city, with a special focus on underserved women and communities. Led by the Department of Small Business Services (SBS), WE NYC aims to connect 5,000 women to free training and business services to help them start and grow their businesses.