A report the Center for an Urban Future published last year outlining the need for more support for entrepreneurs living in NYCHA has inspired a new start-up competition explicitly for entrepreneurs living in public housing across the city.
An article in the New York Times about the competition—the NYC Boss Up program—points outs CUF’s role in the program’s creation: “The Boss Up program was funded for 5 years with a $1 million grant from the family foundation of Ron Moelis … who got the idea after reading a 2022 report by the Center for an Urban Future. The report highlighted an untapped opportunity to increase entrepreneurship among public housing residents.”
One of the recommendations from our report, New York’s Untapped Entrepreneurship Opportunity, specifically suggested: “Kickstart NYCHA entrepreneurship with a highly publicized startup competition.” Our report, which was the subject of a major feature in the New York Times last March, concluded that helping more NYCHA residents start businesses and turn side-hustles into larger businesses could provide a crucial income boost at a time when those living in public housing have been among the slowest to recover from pandemic-induced job losses.
CUF applauds Ron Moelis for his leadership in establishing the Boss Up competition.
Earlier this year, our report also influenced a set of nine policy proposals to support entrepreneurs living in NYCHA that were announced by City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams during her State of the City speech. Speaker Adams cited CUF’s data and research findings in announcing the Council’s initiative to increase support for NYCHA residents seeking to start and grow businesses, and the proposals echoed many of the specific recommendations from our report. Additionally, the City Council recently introduced a bill that would require the Department of Small Business Services to launch at least one small business incubator located within a public housing facility in each borough.