Closing the wealth gap for Bronx Black and LatinX entrepreneurs

Damian Cord, owner of KOJO Pest Control with John Frias, Ascend program manager at BOC Network.
Photos courtesy of Mallory Hagan, BOC Network

Business Outreach Center Network (BOC Network), a small business development organization, announced this week  the launch of Ascend NYC with a focus on the Bronx through an investment of $1 million from JPMorgan Chase.

This will connect a cohort of 13 diverse Bronx -based small business entrepreneurs to management education, market opportunities and capital through a network of partners including BOC Network, the Bronx Cooperative Development Initiative (BCDI) BronXchange, the City University of New York’s Bronx Community College and BOC Capital Corp.

The Collaborative chose the Bronx to launch Ascend NYC given its economic challenges as the poorest urban county in the United States. Despite these challenges, the borough is also home to some of the region’s top hospitals and universities, which collectively purchase $9 billion in goods and services annually. The Bronx also boasts many successful commercial corridors including the Hunts Point Terminal Market, the largest food distribution center in the world.

Recognizing motivated small business owners, particularly women, minority and immigrant entrepreneurs, often lack access to capital and business advice, the University of Washington Foster School of Business created Ascend to enable minority businesses to grow and thrive by focusing on management, markets and money.

“BOC joins businesses on their entrepreneurial journey, helping to pave their way with financing and practical business counseling and training,” said Nancy Carin, executive director, BOC Network. “This collaboration with BCDI, CUNY Bronx Community College and local anchor institutions marks an important step in our collective efforts to increase the wealth and ownership for diverse small business owners in the Bronx.”

Damian Cord, owner of KOJO Pest Control

Ascend NYC will provide Bronx small business owners like KOJO Pest Control with access to larger contract opportunities at community staples such as Hunts Point Produce Market.

“Ascend NYC has shown me from the beginning how dedicated they are to improving our quality of life, our financial situation, and our ability to improve the community, hire more people, and just be good role models,” said Damian Cord, owner of KOJO Pest Control.

Damian Cord, owner of KOJO Pest Control


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