Yesterday was further proof that the Center for an Urban Future is having extraordinary success in helping to set the policy agenda on critical economic and workforce development issues in New York. Mayor Bloomberg delivered his State of the City speech yesterday afternoon, and several of his new policy proposals—on subjects ranging from immigrant entrepreneurs and summer youth job programs to the innovation economy—were heavily influenced by our work.
CUF has been the city's leading voice in highlighting the catalytic impact of immigrant entrepreneurs and arguing that targeted support from local economic development officials could help more immigrants succeed in starting and growing businesses here. Our 2007 World of Opportunity report and our 2009 essay Immigrant Entrepreneurism: An Engine for Recovery outlined a number of specific recommendations for city economic development agencies that could help immigrant entrepreneurs overcome obstacles and allow New York to tap the full potential of these entrepreneurial sparkplugs. Yesterday, Mayor Bloomberg announced a set of initiatives to support immigrant entrepreneurs. He said: "We'll launch a new program to connect immigrant entrepreneurs to the information they need to open small businesses and the loans and expertise they need to grow and expand. We'll also enter into a new partnership with a major bank--Citi--that will get credit flowing to hundreds more qualified small businesses in all five boroughs."