NEW YORK— NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen and Department of Small Business Services (SBS) Commissioner Gregg Bishop announced the launch of the Women Entrepreneurs New York City (WE NYC) Portal, a digital one-stop shop for small business owners. As part of the broader WE NYC initiative, the first of its kind in the U.S. to address the gender gap in entrepreneurship, the portal provides women with the necessary resources for managing a business. Within the portal, women entrepreneurs have access to how-to-guides for starting a business; a directory of organizations that support entrepreneurs; a searchable database of courses and professional development events; a map of women-owned businesses; question and answer tools to interact with mentors; and narratives from successful business owners.
On the heels of being named “Best City in the World for Women Entrepreneurs,” the WE NYC portal is increasing New York City’s commitment to women business owners, and will help further support local entrepreneurs’ development and progress. Given WE NYC’s human-centered design approach, the site will be continually developed over the next two years based on user feedback to optimize effectiveness and incorporate new tools. The portal was created to serve women from all backgrounds and is offered in 90 languages.
“The City is at its best when everyone – regardless of race, gender and ethnicity – has the means they need to thrive,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “The WE NYC Portal is yet another resource for low-income and immigrant women entrepreneurs to start, manage and sustain their businesses, allowing them to uplift communities across the city.”
“The WE NYC Portal will harness the creativity, savvy and talent of women entrepreneurs and connect them with the tools and resources to succeed. By tapping into the entrepreneurial spirit of our city, women can build ladders of opportunity and financial independence, and become thought leaders and innovators in their chosen fields. We need more women in business, and WE NYC is a critical part of that goal. I thank the City for its commitment to advancing access and opportunity for women,” said Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.
“SBS is dedicated to helping businesses start, operate and grow – and women entrepreneurs are key economic drivers in New York City, generating approximately $50 billion in sales annually,” said Gregg Bishop, Commissioner of the Department of Small Business Services. “The WE NYC program at SBS is delivering on its promise to create a one-stop shop that makes it easier for women entrepreneurs to start and run a business at any stage. We are excited about the launch of this new online tool, which is just one more reason why New York is the best City in the world for women entrepreneurs.”
WE NYC partnered with Blenderbox, a digital design firm to develop the online portal. Throughout the process, Blenderbox hosted user testing sessions for groups of diverse women representing different industries, backgrounds and boroughs online and at Blenderbox headquarters in Brooklyn. Participants had the opportunity to explore the portal’s offerings, find upcoming courses, connect with fellow business owners and offer their insights and feedback on the platform.
The group of women users who tested the platform represents a wide array of experience and skill, as well as diverse personal and professional backgrounds. These entrepreneurs operate a variety of small businesses, including catering, financial planning, apparel and handbags, and event planning. Participating in the portal testing also helped them to discover how its online features support their individual business development goals. The WE NYC Portal can be found here.
“As a woman-owned business, we at Blenderbox take great pride in this opportunity to build a portal for helping women across this city develop and grow their businesses,” said Blenderbox co-Founder and Creative Director Sarah McLoughlin. “In designing a modern and welcoming site, we hope to foster confidence in the women who use this resource by helping them to easily find the answers they are looking for as well as information that speaks to them.”
“I really appreciated testing the new WE NYC portal. WE NYC’s dedication to helping women entrepreneurs grow and expand their businesses is terrific,” said Parisa Wang, Founder of the Love Affair Handbag. “I felt so empowered being surrounded and supported by driven women, and my own business concept was inspired by strong women everywhere. With the resourceful and user-friendly new website they are launching, the services will be leveraged to new heights and I can’t wait to use it for my own business.”