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With Queens experiencing an official unemployment rate of 16.4 percent—the third-highest rate in the state—and few new job openings on the horizon, entrepreneurship and self-employment could become an increasingly important pathway for low-income New Yorkers to earn income and provide for their families during the long road to economic recovery. But while neighborhoods from Rockaway and Hollis to Long Island City have no shortage of highly creative and entrepreneurial residents, many New Yorkers from lower-income communities don’t see business formation or self-employment as a viable path, even in better economic times—and many who do aspire to start a business are stymied by the numerous obstacles along the way.
The second in CUF's five-borough forum series on encouraging and supporting low-income entrepreneurship, this event explored whether low-income entrepreneurship should be among the strategies city policymakers pursue to help those hardest hit by the pandemic boost incomes and generate wealth. It discussed what’s needed to support first-time entrepreneurs from low-income communities in Queens, and examined how to ensure that more of the New Yorkers from low-income backgrounds who do turn to entrepreneurship have the tools and resources to succeed. Our forum featured a panel of Queens-based entrepreneurs from lower-income backgrounds in conversation with local and national entrepreneurship experts and city officials.
Center for an Urban Future is a catalyst for smart and sustainable policies that reduce inequality, increase economic mobility, and grow the economy in NYC.
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