AAFE-affiliate, Renaissance Economic Development Corporation (REDC), has been named as one of five community-based partners selected to participate in the Department of Small Business Service’s (SBS) Immigrant Business Initiative. The scheme, first announced in May, is funded through a $250,000 contribution from Citi Community Development. In addition to REDC, the chosen community partners include the Business Outreach Center Network, Brooklyn Public Library/HABNET Chamber of Commerce, Make the Road New York, and Shorefront YM-YWHA.

REDC was selected after submitting a proposal to the SBS that identified the specific needs of the immigrant entrepreneurial communities the organization serves, as well as proposing tailored solutions to meet their needs. REDC, along with the other community partners, will execute their tailored plans, and also provide free business courses, one-on-one counseling, and community-based outreach in five target languages: Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Haitian-Creole, and Russian. Services will be available in late-fall.

“Immigrant entrepreneurs are vital to the City’s identity and economy, opening businesses that create jobs and bring great diversity and energy to our most dynamic communities,” said Maria Torres-Springer, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services. “Thanks to Citi Community Development, the City will work through the Immigrant Business Initiative with five community organizations to help tailor available assistance, and better assist immigrant entrepreneurs with free services that will help them start, operate, and grow.”

Chris Kui, AAFE’s executive director, welcomed REDC’s involvement in the program: “Renaissance’s experience working with Chinese and Korean immigrant communities leads us to believe that offering technical and financial assistance to small business owners in their native languages enables sustainable business growth and greater access to much needed capital. The Immigrant Business Initiative will enhance our ability to provide business services and create new jobs in New York City,” he said.