Supporting the Most Diverse Borough in NYC

March 26, 2014

by Yanki Tshering

It's been almost two years since we opened our office in Queens and it's been one of the best decisions we ever made. Queens is New York City's most diverse borough; 37% of the city's  population is foreign born and half of them live in Queens. The benefits of working with this richly diverse group of entrepreneurs includes tasting the extraordinary cooking of chefs like David Wisdom, or experiencing the best pedicure and eyebrow threading in Queens, at Jenny Nails and Threading.

No Shutdown for Microbusinesses in NYC

October 13, 2013

by Yanki Tshering

While we are celebrating the good news that our IDA Program for Refugees has been refunded by the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) and that the US Dept.of Treasury's CDFI Fund has refunded our Microenterprise Loan Fund, we have been working hard to make sure that we have sufficient funds to see us through the government shutdown.

Announcing our 3rd Annual BCNA Immigrant Heritage Week Award Winners

April 10, 2013

by Yanki Tshering

logoIt is my great honor to announce the names of the recipients of our 2013 BCNA Immigrant Heritage Week Awards. This will be the 3rd year we have honored outstanding immigrants and refugees and it has become a tradition we look forward to every year.

Thanks to our Partners for Support During Hurricane Sandy

March 04, 2013

by Yanki Tshering

As the second-worst storm in U.S. history, Hurricane Sandy's impact on New York City was unprecedented and long lasting, especially for the many small White Poodlebusinesses that are the backbone of the city's economy. The effects of wind, flooding, lack of power, paralyzed public transit, and damaged communication networks lasted weeks if not months, presenting insurmountable challenges for many of our clients.   

New York Businesses Affected By Sandy Need Equity, Not Debt

December 09, 2012

by Yanki Tshering

Weeks after Hurricane Sandy hit in October,  Waves from Sandy as seen from 15th Street in Brooklyn by Wayne Carringtonmany small business owners are still reeling from the shock. Some owners who lost everything are wondering if they will ever be able to rebuild their businesses. Others, while grateful their businesses were not flooded, are struggling with having to write off a month with almost no revenue.

Staten Island - The Island of Opportunity

October 18, 2012

by Yanki Tshering

While Queens has long been noted for it's diverse immigrant entrepreneur community, we very much like what we see happening on Staten Island lately. Here's a look at three BCNA clients we think are emblematic of the growing diversity and entrepreneurial spirit on Staten Island.

BCNA Loves Staten Island

August 28, 2012

by Yanki Tshering

Recently I had the pleasure of taking part in a panel on Bolstering Immigrant and Minority Entrepreneurs in Staten Island. Staten Island holds a special place in our hearts at the Business Center for New Americans, because many of the refugees we serve call it home... 

Profiling Our Clients: Ifeta & Ismet Huskovic

July 16, 2012

by Yanki Tshering

At Business Center for New Americans, we love to see our clients' businesses grow and expand.  And when our loans help our clients create a second business, we know we're doing something right!

BCNA client Ifeta Huskovic and her husband Ismet Huskovic, a talented chef, are Bosnian refugees who ran a restaurant called Grill Dobrinja in their native Sarajevo. When they came to the United States...

A Great Start to a Great New Year

January 25, 2012

by Yanki Tshering

On January 11, BCNA celebrated the New Year with a gala Sri Lankan lunch prepared by BCNA client, chef Raj Perera and his wife Nishani at their excellent restaurant, the Banana Leaf. The celebration also marked BCNA's

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.)

BCNA a CNN Top 10 US Microfinance Provider

July 15, 2011

by Yanki Tshering

All of us at BCNA were honored to learn yesterday that Business Center for New Americans was included as one of ten top microfinance organizations in the US by CNN on CNN.money.com. We were particularly pleased because we were in such excellent company - with Opportunity Fund, ACCION USA, Justine Peterson, the Women's Initiative for Self Employment, ACE, and ACCION branches in Texas, Chicago, San Diego, and New Mexico-Arizona-Colorado.

While we are immensely proud of having been recognized, we also know that the progress we've made and the lives that we've changed have been made possible through teamwork and through relationships with other amazing, dedicated organizations.

Partnering with Citi for an Exciting New Microfinance Initiative in Queens

July 09, 2011

by Yanki Tshering

We are  very excited to announce that the Business Center for New Americans (BCNA)  has received $50,000 in funding from Citi Community Development to expand our  delivery of microloans to low- and moderate-income entrepreneurs in the borough of Queens, one of the most diverse immigrant communities in the country.

Working with the Queens Public Library system and economic development and community organizations,  we will be providing in-person outreach; workshops on access to credit for small businesses; and one-on-one counseling to help low- and moderate-income entrepreneurs qualify for loans offered by our Microloan Fund as well as  funds from other sources.

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. 

Microfinance USA 2011: Grooming the Next Wave

May 26, 2011

by Yanki Tshering, Executive Director

The Microfinance USA Conference 2011, which took place this week in New York, was exciting for a number of reasons. First of all, it was a great opportunity to connect with talented people doing extraordinary things and working tirelessly to make positive change.

And speaking of positive change, one of the things that struck me most when I arrived Monday morning for the first keynote was how many young people and recent graduates were attending.  If there is one positive result of the recent recession, perhaps it's that alternative financial services are getting more attention and young job hunters are embracing the pursuit of more meaningful professions. It's exciting to see that these conferences are grooming the next wave of practitioners.