Heart and Soul: Celebrating World Entrepreneurs’ Day

August 24, 2017

by Yanki Tshering

The Heart and Soul of NYC Small Business Awards ceremony, which took place August 21 at Brooklyn Borough Hall, was a celebration of the courage, hard work, and resilience of outstanding New York small business owners, held in conjunction with World Entrepreneurs' Day.

The awards were presented by New York City Council Member Robert E. Cornegy Jr., of New York City District 36, who also serves an important role as Chair of New York City's Small Business Council.

The gathering was the culmination of a months-long process in which small businesses were nominated to represent their boroughs in three important awards.  

We were particularly excited that an Innovation Award went to BCNA client Juan Quelal, owner of SmartCab Technologies, an app that taxi drivers Juan Quelalthroughout the United States now use through a contract with the National Taxi Alliance. Quelal, who was born in Ecuador but now lives in Queens, helped finance his business with microloans from BCNA and received our one-on-one social media consultation to help him promote SmartCab and develop a corporate profile on social channels. 

Other winners of the Innovation Award were Casale Jewelers (Staten Island), Cornelia Street Cafe (Manhattan), and Twig Terrariums (Brooklyn).

The Legacy Award – for businesses that have been owned and operated by at least three generations of family members – went to Duncan's Fish Market (Brooklyn), pictured, Farmer in the Deli (Brooklyn), Metro Optics Eyewear (Bronx), Tio Pepe (Manhattan), and Wiesner Brothers Nursery (Staten Island).

And finally, the winners of the "Rep Your Borough" Award – for businesses that embody the culture of their respective boroughs or communities – were Bronx Times (Bronx), Le Paris Dakar (Brooklyn), Pastosa Ravioli of West Brighton (Staten Island), Renew Esthetics MediSpa (Queens), pictured, and Wing on Wo (Manhattan).

We were also very pleased that part of the exciting and inspiring event was  dedicated to the announcement that BCNA has received  $700,000 from the Wells Fargo Diverse Community Capital (DCC) program: $200,000 in grant funds and $500,000 as an EQ2 investment for lending capital. These funds will enable us to provide access to capital and assist clients to start and expand microbusinesses through a wide range of workshops, one-on-one technical assistance, and affordable small business financing.

Deborah Smith, head of the Wells Fargo Foundation for the tri-state region, echoed our own thoughts when she said: "Small businesses are engines of economic growth and their success is directly linked to job growth, wealth creation, and social change in communities around the country including here in New York City."

Council Member Cornegy concurred, adding, "New York City's small business owners represent the flavor and culture of the many diverse communities that make our city so great."

We join Council Member Cornegy in his goal to help New York City's small businesses employ more community members and therefore reduce unemployment and improve economic prosperity throughout the five boroughs. With continued support from funders like Wells Fargo and local advocates like Council Member Cornegy, we can accelerate our efforts to create pathways to self-sufficiency for immigrant and refugee entrepreneurs in New York City.

Yanki accepting grant from Wells Fargo

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