Expansion of Services in Queens

February 06, 2012

by Yanki Tshering

We are extremely pleased to announce that we have just been awarded a generous $60,000 grant by Citi Community Development.

This grant will allow us to increase our outreach to low and moderate income entrepreneurs in Queens, working in collaboration with the Queens Public Library system, economic development organizations, and community organizations serving New York City's most diverse borough.

Pioneering the Next Generation of New Americans

October 07, 2011

Yanki Tshering

(Originally published as a guest post on Startup America Partnership's blog. Read about their great work here)

At the Business Center for New Americans,, we are constantly impressed with the ingenuity, resilience and entrepreneurial spirit shown by our clients – many of whom are recent immigrants or refugees.  Most immigrants don't have the luxury to search for investments from venture capitalists, nor are they often creating the kind of startups that attract VC money. So, out of sight of New York's Silicon Alley, they just roll up their sleeves and do whatever it takes to create businesses to support themselves and their families. 

What our clients are doing – creating small businesses, and ultimately more jobs -- is equally as important to our economy as startups in new tech sectors.  We are proud to provide microloans and business training, helping our clients take that first step into the American entrepreneur class.

Back home, our clients were doctors or lawyers, musicians and hair braiders. Some are 19-years old, some are 70-years old.  Some have doctorates, some have an elementary education (or even less.)

Reflections on the ORR 2011 Consultation

August 09, 2011

by Yanki Tshering

It was our great pleasure to speak at the Office of Refugee Resettlement's 2011 Consultation last week, presenting a workshop called Helping Refugees to Achieve the American Dream along with Belaye Embaye, Senior Principal Analyst at ORR, Marijana Ababovic, Senior Project orrManager at ISED, and John Scribner, Director of Start Smart, in Maine.  The presentation  focused on the success of ORR funded microenterprise and IDA programs as well as profiling the success stories of some of Start Smart's and BCNA's clients.

The  client stories that we profiled in our presentations reinforced the point...

Helping Refugees Achieve the American Dream

July 28, 2011

by Yanki Tshering

One of the services we care most passionately about at BCNA is providing refugees with access to financial tools.

That is why I am particularly honored that the Office of Refugee Resettlement has invited me to address a special workshop at the Office ofRefugee Resettlement 2011 National Consultation: Bridges to a New Future, which will be held August 1st & 2nd in Washington, D.C.  

The workshop, "Helping Refugees Achieve the American Dream," will address microenterprise and IDA services for refugees.

Protecting the American Dream for New American Entrepreneurs

June 14, 2011

by Yanki Tshering, Executive Director

I've been thinking a lot lately about the Mission of the Business Center and whether the American Dream is still alive. When our staff was in Queens last week we spoke with a street vendor who has a fruit cart. He had just been fined $500 for a minor infraction and was anxious because he couldn't afford it.  If  he does not pay the fine, however, he risks losing his permit and therefore his only source of livelihood.

I was reminded by his plight  of  Mohamed Bouazizi, the street vendor who set himself  on fire in Tunisia in January to protest of the confiscation of his wares and the harassment and humiliation that he reported was inflicted on him by an official.