The NYC Small Business Resource Network received a $500,000 grant from Wells Fargo that will help 500 small businesses throughout the city improve their digital presence, New York Nonprofit Media exclusively reports. The grant will expand on the network’s Open + Online initiative: a free resource that helps business owners establish or improve their digital presence, with a focus on minority and women-owned business enterprises.
The grant funding was provided by Wells Fargo, as part of the bank’s ongoing efforts to support small business.
“Our goal is to help as many small businesses as we can with a strong emphasis on supporting the needs faced by diverse small business owners and providing them with the digital tools and services they need to compete in the 21st century economy,” said Krissy Moore, senior vice president of community relations northeast region.
Initially launched as a coronavirus pandemic recovery effort between the five borough-wide chambers of commerce, the NYC Small Business Resource Network provides personalized guidance and support to small businesses. The network has reached nearly 50,000 businesses and provided direct support to more than 13,000 – with 76% of businesses being MWBEs. Touting a “comprehensive approach to small business resiliency”, the Network offers free, personalized guidance through a team of dedicated Business Support Specialists, who work one-on-one with small business owners to navigate through programs and services such as grants, loans, connections to legal counsel, technology support and more.
The grants will go towards helping small businesses develop digital presences from websites to online marketing tools, via the expanded Open + Online Initiative. Supported by funding raised by the Partnership for New York City, Open + Online was launched to address the digital divide, with a focus on MWBE entrepreneurs with little to no online presence. To date, Open + Online has completed almost 1000 digital projects, including basic websites, e-commerce websites, SEO consultations and logo/branding design.
“Open + Online is a valuable resource to help entrepreneurs to compete in an increasingly digital marketplace. Wells Fargo’s support will greatly expand access to technology tools for minority- and women-owned businesses across the five boroughs,” said Kathryn Wylde, president and CEO of the Partnership for New York City.
Open + Online projects include design sessions with web designers, video tutorials, specialist support, along with an assigned project manager who guides business owners through each step of the program. All services from website building, design, logo and branding projects are free. With help from Wells Fargo’s grant, the initiative hopes to empower larger numbers of MWBE small businesses, by helping them build robust digital footprints to better compete in today’s business marketplace.
“The expansion of NYC’s Small Business Resource Network’s Open + Online initiative will also translate to more resources for MWBEs, whose success is critical to building an inclusive economy that works for all New Yorkers,” said New York City Economic Development Corporation President & CEO Andrew Kimball.
Several community leaders heralded the news of the grant funding.
“It is crucial that we help minority and women-owned small businesses improve their digital presence so they can continue to drive New York City’s economic recovery. We are so thankful that Wells Fargo has stepped up to support the important work the Small Business Resource Network is doing through the Open + Online program. This funding will have a tremendous impact on hundreds of small businesses, helping them grow and better serve their customers and communities,” said Lisa Sorin, President of the Bronx Chamber of Commerce; Randy Peers, President and CEO of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce; Jessica Walker, President and CEO of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce; Tom Grech, President and CEO of the Queens Chamber of Commerce; and Linda Baran, President and CEO of the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce on behalf of the Five Chamber Alliance.