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Gentrification Not Great for All: African-American Businesses Continue to Decline

Many minority-owned businesses in Harlem struggle to keep their doors open as gentrification sweeps through the area. In response, the Harlem Commonwealth Council (HCC), http://www.harlemcommonwealth.org, is launching Growth Path – a small business advisory service providing minority and women-owned businesses with expert business guidance in marketing and sales, financial management, and human resources.

Kelvin Collins, HCC President and CEO states, “Growth Path will position minority and women-owned businesses for accelerated growth in this new economic environment of increased competition, rising rents and shifting consumer demographics. This program also aims to improve the survival rate of minority and women-owned businesses which drives the local economy while preserving Harlem’s cultural richness.”

Based on recent trends, the number of black-owned businesses in NYC continues to decline – 30% from 2007 to 2012. Moreover, new storefronts increased 45% while black-owned businesses folded over the last 15 years. To help businesses with the greatest potential overcome these trends, HCC selected firms have been operating for at least one year with annual revenues between $150,000 and $10 million. They also have at least two employees including the owner.

“There is a science to the art of building a successful small business. The art is in the motivation and perseverance that the entrepreneur brings. The science is the arduous task of learning what to do to succeed. That is where Growth Path comes in, and we are delighted to partner with Harlem Commonwealth Council,” states Dr. Kofi A. Boateng, Executive Director of the West Harlem Development Corporation.

To ensure positive change is truly a result of this program, HCC will track and evaluate whether the program meets the following outcomes: helps participants maintain or increase employment levels, gain more customers or reach a new target market, increased revenue, or reducing operating expenses.

Harlem Commonwealth Council (HCC) Inc. is a 501(C)(3) economic development nonprofit organization delivering community-driven solutions in Harlem and surrounding communities since 1967. In addition to Growth Path, HCC recently launched Opportunity for Growth, a seven-month business education program using the Interise ‘Streetwise MBA’TM curriculum to grow minority and women-owned businesses in partnership with Columbia University and Citi Community Development. HCC also provides microloans and advisory services to minority and women-owned business through its lending arm, the Harlem Entrepreneurial Fund.

About the Author

New York Trend is a weekly news publication that focuses on issues and lifestyles of the African & Caribbean American communities throughout the New York metropolitan area and Nassau and Suffolk Counties of Long Island. It is a respected and well recognized news publication that has been in existence since 1989. Owner, Publisher and Executive Director, Dr. Teresa Taylor Williams has been at the helm of this award-winning publication since its inception. New York Trend continues to be the only black woman-owned, metropolitan newspaper in New York and Long island. New York Trend is the largest black-owned newspaper throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties.

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