More Advocacy Needed for Micro and Small Businesses

May 28, 2013

by Yanki Tshering

A few weeks ago I stepped out to buy lunch at one of the food carts in the square opposite  Zuccotti Park, the park that was made famous by "Occupy Wall Street" protesters. But instead of the usual line of food carts like Biriyani Cart and Dumpling House, I found the  vendors holding a press conference. They had arrived that morning to discover they had lost their spaces to the bike docking stands that are part of New York's new bike sharing program. 

Our New Jackson Heights Office Helped us Weather Sandy

December 12, 2012

by Yanki Tshering

Hurricane Sandy reminded New Yorkers of the importance of having a disaster preparedness plan. Little did we know, when we opened our new BCNA office in Jackson Heights this year, that it would would be our own backup resource. As many of our clients, particularly those in Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island, suffered devastating losses, our own downtown Broadway office was affected as well. 

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.

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.)

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.

For Immigrant Heritage Week: 10 Free Websites for Entrepreneurs

April 12, 2011

We are very pleased to be celebrating New York City's Eighth Annual Immigrant Heritage Week (April 11-17) by awarding ten lucky entrepreneurs free website development (worth $1,000) as well as training on how to use social media for the growth and development of their businesses. 

Thanks to the generosity of Message Medium and Citi Foundation, this initiative makes it possible for us to provide valuable information about how to use technology to boost both skills and bottom line, two critical elements for business growth and success. 

At BCNA, we are especially glad to be able to support immigrant entrepreneurs, who are playing a vital -- and too often unrecognized -- role in stimulating economic development in New York's diverse immigrant communities.

Please go to the Message Medium website for more details on how to apply.