City launches three new mentorship programs for women and minority owned businesses

NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS) Commissioner Jonnel Doris today announced the launch of three new mentorship programs expected to serve 1,500 businesses in 2021. The programs, ‘Small Business Mentors NYC,’ ‘BE NYC Mentors,’ and ‘M/WBE Mentors,’ will provide industry experts as guides for current and aspiring entrepreneurs seeking to start and grow a business in a post-COVID era. SBS’ first mentorship program, WE Connect Mentors, has engaged women mentors to work with over 1,700 women entrepreneurs since 2019.

Small Business Mentors NYC is a mentorship program for existing storefront business owners in underrepresented communities seeking to grow their businesses. The program, introduced by the Mayor’s Taskforce on Racial Inclusion and Equity, will provide these businesses with specialized guidance and professional networks. The City has worked with 14 entrepreneurs who have successfully pivoted their businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic, and who will mentor storefront business owners in New York City. These mentors will include:

Aysha Saeed, CEO, Creative Director, Aysha New York
Yoon Joo Lee, CEO, Janchi Myeonga
Echo Wu, Executive, Shaxian Snacks
Karen Mitchell, CEO, True Indian Hair
Dorian Mercir, Founder & CEO, Dorian’s Seafood Market
Yolanda Felder, Life Coach and TV Host, The Yolanda Felder Show
Carmen Ferreyra, CEO, Porteñas
Emelyn Stuart, Owner, Stuart Cinema & Café
Kalima De Suze, Owner, Cafe con Libros
Zhenya Globazh, Co-founder, Shiba500
Janna Meyrowitz Turner, President, Style House
Maria Iglesias and Cynthia Shephard, Mother/Daughter Owners, Corazon de Mexico Restaurant & Bar
Mary Nittolo, Founder & Creative Director, The Studio
Zachary Sharaga, Owner, Dear Mama Coffee
Mark Connell, Owner, Botanica Bar
Ayala Donchin, Founder & Executive Chef, Evelyn’s Kitchen
Dawn Kelly, CEO, The Nourish Spot

BE NYC Mentors is New York City’s inaugural business mentorship program for Black entrepreneurs in the pre-startup and early stages of operating their business. The program aims to increase the number of new Black-owned businesses in high-growth industries, with a programmatic focus on pre-startup and newly formed businesses. The growing list of Black entrepreneurs and industry leaders that will mentor emerging Black entrepreneurs in New York City includes:

Ayme Sinclair, CEO & Founder, Sinclair Social
Precious Williams, CEO, Perfect Pitches by Precious
Tiffany Joy Murchinson, CEO, TJM & Company
Yannize Joshua, Co-owner & Managing Partner, The Teknique Group
Gayle Jennings-O’Byrne, CEO, WOCstar Fund
Nekpen Osuan, Principle, WomenWerk
Ariane Hunter, Founder, Project She Went for Her Dreams
Mark Hayles, Founder & CEO, Better Local Business Agency LLC
Malla Haridat, Owner, New Designs for Life Training Company
Khalilah Webster, Co-founder & COO, Vanguarde Consulting Group and Managing Partner at Minority Venture Partners
Celeste Morris, President, MorrisAllsop Public Affairs
Kim Fontaine, Esq, Owner, Perry Blair Consulting
Alain Leroy, Chief Operating and Innovation Officer, The Gentlemen’s Factory
Kofi Kankam, Founder,
Ron J. Williams, Head of Strategy, Citi Ventures D10X

M/WBE Mentors is the first peer mentorship program for NYC’s certified Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprises (M/WBEs). The program will help M/WBEs to further build their professional networks and expand their access to resources and contracting opportunities. The following entrepreneurs have successfully led their businesses through the pandemic, and will mentor certified M/WBEs to introduce them to government contracting and expand their businesses:

Penda Aiken, President and CEO, Penda Aiken, Inc
Hugo E. Almeida, CEO, Abitronix, LLC
Denise Arboleda, Vice-President of Sales, Compulink Technologies, Inc.
KY Chow, President, GM Printing\
Micoy Hamilton, CEO, Nifty Concept, Inc.
Barbara Armand Kushner, President, Armand Corporation
Colleen Molter, President, QED National
Nayan Parikh, Founder & President, Ashnu International, Inc.
Rafael Perez, Jr., President, GCCOM Construction Company, Inc.
James Peterson, CEO/ Executive Chef, E.A.T. w/ Culinary Arts Professionals
Francilia Wilkins Rahim, CEO, R.F. Wilkins Consultants
Elizabeth Velez, President, Velez Organization

You can now sign-up for ‘BE NYC Mentors’ and ‘Small Business Mentors NYC’ upcoming sessions. M/WBE Mentors will host their first kickoff event in January. For more information on each mentorship program visit

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