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Last night, NYCEDC, the Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation, and Baruch College announced the winner of the Competition To Help Reach Immigrant Ventures and Entrepreneurs (THRIVE), the City-sponsored competition which generates financially sustainable business plans to address the challenges faced by immigrant entrepreneurs in New York City. The Queens Economic Development Corporation (QEDC) was selected as the winner and will receive $100,000 to further expand their foreign language home improvement contractor training program. Business Outreach Center (BOC) Network, which piloted a program to increase access to financing for immigrant entrepreneurs, was named the runner-up and will receive an additional $25,000 matching grant from the Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation.
As a Competition THRIVE finalist, QEDC launched a pilot program to assist Chinese home improvement contractors in expanding their businesses by becoming licensed by the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs through a training course in their native language. With the additional investment, QEDC will be able to expand this program to other groups including Spanish speaking immigrants.
Competition THRIVE was designed to address the challenges faced by the City’s immigrant entrepreneurs, which include access to credit, financial management, language barriers, and access to business networks. The five finalists for Competition THRIVE were selected by a panel of judges from 39 organizations that submitted proposals. The three other finalist organizations, who each received $25,000 in seed funding, were ACCION USA, Make the Road NY (MRNY), and Washington Heights and Inwood Development Corporation (WHIDC). Proposals were judged on several criteria including: feasibility, applicability, scalability, and sustainability.