The Business Center for New Americans (BCNA) provides financial and business services to recent immigrants, refugees, women, and other New Yorkers including:
- Microloans for small businesses
- Home ownership and down payment assistance
- Specialized savings programs
- Financial and business management education
MAKING THE FIRST LOANS
Founded in 1997 and established as an independent Economic Development Organization in 2009, BCNA was originally part of the New York Association for New Americans (NYANA), which was founded in 1949 to resettle World War II refugees. For two decades NYANA was the largest local refugee and immigrant services agency in the U.S. and assisted more than 500,000 new Americans from 145 countries achieve economic self-sufficiency, social integration, and citizenship. In 1997 NYANA formed The Business Center for New Americans with $15,000 from the American Express Foundation to start a program to provide advice to refugees that were interested in starting a business. As a result of a grant of $150,000 from the Office of Refugee Resettlement, Department of Health and Human Services, as well as invaluable advice from Eugene Williams and Rosalind Goldman, who was then at Citi Bank, BCNA was able to establish a formal process for loans up to $15,000. BCNA then expanded its services and capabilities by becoming an approved SBA Intermediary Lender.
MOVING FORWARD AS AN E.D.O.
Having fulfilled its mission of resettling World War II refugees, NYANA closed its doors in 2008. At the same time, the Business Center for New Americans was established as a separate organization from NYANA, and as an Economic Development Organization, through the invaluable assistance of the Lawyer's Alliance, the international law firm of Debevois and Plimpton, and The Fund for the City of New York.
BUILDING ON SUCCESS
BCNA has grown steadily and, as of December, 2010, has made 1013 loans for a total of $7,964,300. In addition, over 1,119 refugee families and individuals have participated in BCNA's IDA Program, investing $22.5 million from savings, matching funds, and loans in education, home ownership, and small businesses. Building on this successful track record, BCNA continues to help refugees, immigrants, women, and anyone with a business dream, become self-sufficient Americans and modern-day American success stories.