What am I doing this summer?

This summer, I’m working at the Business Outreach Center (BOC), a micro-lending and direct service provision organization that works to improve the economic prospects of traditionally underserved groups, with a focus on low- and moderate-income entrepreneurs. The majority of our clients are women, immigrants, refugees, or members of other minority groups, and BOC has offices in Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx. BOC counselors work with these small business owners through one-on-one counseling as well as via workshops for cohorts of these entrepreneurs.

I’ll be getting exposure to both of these models this summer, as I guide individual entrepreneurs through the Best for NYC challenge, and also help to design the Blueprint to Success workshop for construction contractors.

The Best for NYC challenge is a campaign launched by the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), to encourage companies to use business as a force for creating social and environmental good, and to recognize corporations that do so. My role will be to reach out to small businesses that BOC has worked with, and to encourage them to take the challenge! I’ve been impressed already by how many NYC entrepreneurs are very socially and environmentally conscious, and keen to learn about how they can make their businesses even better for their community and the environment. I’ll also be working with NYCEDC on a pilot program to work closely with 30-45 small businesses in Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx who will take the Best for NYC assessment and then participate in a rigorous course that will support them in improving their business practices.
Blueprint to Success is a training program for construction contractors whose companies are certified as Minority, Women, and Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (M/W/DBEs). The workshop will provide M/W/DBE construction firms with comprehensive and individualized technical assistance, as well as advice on finances, marketing, etc. This program is also sponsored by the NYCEDC, and I will be assisting with curriculum design for BOC’s component of the workshop series.

I am especially excited to be at BOC because of the work they do on the ground – it is incredibly exciting and fulfilling to be in such close contact with the business owners we are serving, everyday! I am also thrilled to be living in New York’s West Village, and experiencing the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of the City every day.