Black-owned businesses getting boost from new city initiative

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- New York City is launching a new initiative aimed at furthering Black-owned businesses and closing the wealth gap.

On Wednesday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced new commitments to further invest in Black entrepreneurs in all five boroughs.

The 'BE NYC' initiative is a first-of-its-kind model, which aims to increase the number of Black-owned businesses in New York City with a focus on growing businesses in high-growth industries.

On Friday, city leaders talked up the mayor's new program on the Black Lives Matter mural in Jamaica, Queens.

Henry Arroyo, who owns a carrot cake company, says he thinks the help will make a difference.

"I think everything they offer is real help for us. It's assistance," Arroyo said. "It's a tool and we need every tool we can get."

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As a part of the city's commitment to close the racial wealth gap and support Black-owned businesses, the Department of Small Business Services is releasing a Black entrepreneurship report, and using its partnerships to launch four new programs for Black business owners.

"Black entrepreneurs built New York City," Mayor de Blasio said. "This historic public-private partnership will ensure we can come together to support them, and give them the recognition they have deserved for so long."

Among the key areas that the initiative will focus on are providing Black-owned businesses with equal access to financing, strengthened access to networking connections within the Black community, plans for long-term success and the ability to meet challenges of tomorrow's economy.

"Black-owned businesses are certainly struggling, and helping them grow is part of the broader struggle for racial justice," said J. Phillip Thompson, Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives and Co-Chair of the Racial Inclusion and Equity Taskforce. "The commitments made today will provide significant opportunity for these small business owners to grow in new economies and lay the foundation for a more equitable future."

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Additionally, the initiative will help provide Black-owned businesses access to world-class business experts and business education.

Ernst and Young will provide free consulting, Goldman Sachs will provide financing and Mastercard will provide virtual storefront help.

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