Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Contact: Catherine Tenuta, SBS Press Secretary -, 212-618-8768


City Initiative Works to Close the Entrepreneurial Gender Gap in New York City

New York – NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS) Commissioner Gregg Bishop today announced that the City has exceeded its goal for providing services to women entrepreneurs across the five boroughs. The initiative, called WE NYC, has served over 6,000 women entrepreneurs since its launch in 2015, surpassing its original goal of serving 5,000 women in three years. WE NYC connects aspiring and established women entrepreneurs to the resources, education, and community needed to build thriving businesses. The no-cost services provided by WE NYC include mentorship opportunities, financing assistance, and pro-bono legal clinics.

The announcement was made at the WE NYC Annual Summit, which featured a fireside chat between Shan-lyn Ma, Founder and CEO of, and Yasmin Gagne, Writer and Editor at Fast Company Magazine.

“We launched WE NYC with the goal of closing the entrepreneurial gender gap and helping women, communities, and our local economy thrive,” said Gregg Bishop, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services. “Exceeding our ambitious goal and serving over 6,000 women entrepreneurs is a result of the City’s commitment to ensuring that New York City is the best place to be a woman entrepreneur.”

In addition to reaching over 6,000 women, WE NYC achieved the following milestones:

  • Over 100 women entrepreneurs served by WE Legal since September 2018. WE Legal connects women entrepreneurs with attorneys for free one-on-one legal consultations;
  • Nearly $1 million in loans through WE Fund: Crowd, the City’s first-of-its-kind crowdfunding program launched in fall 2017. Women entrepreneurs can raise zero-interest loans of up to $10,000 and the City will contribute the first 10%. Over 12,000 lenders from around the world have already contributed;
  • Over 225 hours of direct mentoring through WE Connect Mentors, which offers in-person group mentor sessions where successful women entrepreneurs share their expertise; And
  • Over 1,300 hours of workshops that provide valuable insight on topics including financial counseling and leadership training.

WE NYC Success

Marisol Linda Diaz first sought WE NYC services in June 2018 to support her newly launched business. She attended a leadership workshop and WE Connect Mentors sessions to become a better leader and more effective enterprise builder. With assistance from WE NYC, Marisol successfully leads Brooklyn Stone and Tile, a small business known to specialize in fabrication and installation of stone, tile and quartz materials. She stated the following about her experience:

“Attending the WE NYC seminars has allowed me to step out of my comfort zone to be at the forefront of a company,” said Marisol Linda Diaz. “The fact WE NYC supports small businesses is what drew me to them, why not take advantage of all the free services that are available?”

WE NYC is made possible with support from Citi Community Development.

For more information, visit

 “Citi is proud to have supported this effort from the earliest days, including the initial research that led to WE NYC—a groundbreaking effort by the City of New York to expand the economic potential of women entrepreneurs,” said Gregory Schiefelbein, New York Tri-State Director for Citi Community Development.

“As chair of the City Council’s Committee on Women, I am delighted at the news that WE NYC has surpassed its goals, providing business development assistance to over 6,000 women entrepreneurs since its founding three years ago," said Council Member Helen Rosenthal. "Women across our city now have a new set of tools to turn their dreams into reality and contribute to our local economy. I want to thank NYC Small Business Services and the Mayor’s Office for all their efforts – through this innovative partnership, we are advancing women’s financial and social empowerment,”

“Women make up nearly 52% of the population in New York, however the numbers of businesses do not reflect that statistic,” said Council Member Alicka Ampry-Samuel. “I am glad to hear the WE NYC initiative, within the Department of Small Business Services, has served over 6,000 women. I look forward to working with SBS so that the talented women in the 41st District can benefit from these services.”

“Starting a new business can be incredibly intimidating,” said Council Member Margaret S. Chin. “WE NYC provides women just starting out on their business journeys with a variety of tools they will need to succeed including mentorship opportunities, financing assistance, and pro-bono legal services. Over the past three years, WE NYC has served 6,000 women entrepreneurs I am confident that number will only grow in the coming years.”

“Permit me to congratulate Small Business Services and its’ Commissioner, Gregg Bishop, on an outstanding achievement,” said Council Member Karen Koslowitz. “They have exceeded their goal of assisting women in an effort to close the entrepreneurial gender gap in NYC.”

About the Department of Small Business Services (SBS)
SBS helps unlock economic potential and create economic security for all New Yorkers by connecting New Yorkers to good jobs, creating stronger businesses, and building vibrant neighborhoods across the five boroughs. For more information, visit, call 311, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.