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Press Release

women.nyc and the New York City Department of Small Business Services Launch Entrepreneurial Intensive for Women Over 50

Feb 11 2020
Economic Development Quarterly - February 2020

NewVenture 50+ Empowers Women to Leverage Years of Experience in the Workforce to Start Their Own Businesses

NEW YORK, NY—women.nyc, an initiative powered by New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), and the NYC Department of Small Businesses Services (SBS) announced the launch of NewVenture 50+, a five week immersive entrepreneurship program offered to give women over 50 the tools they need to launch their own businesses. The program teaches participants how to refine their business concepts, draft a strong business plan, and gain the knowledge and skills they need to launch a profitable small business. This highly competitive class is based on the renowned FastTrac® and WE NYC curriculums and is offered to participants at no cost.

NewVenture 50+ is in response to NYCEDC’s new report, Economic Development Quarterly: Women 50+ in the NYC Workforce: Tackling Economic Vulnerability, which highlights many of the financial and workforce challenges this demographic faces, including age discrimination, family responsibilities, and financial vulnerability.

“Women over 50 account for nearly 18% of the New York City population and face unique economic challenges,” said Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Vicki Been. “While starting a small business may seem daunting, programs like NewVenture 50+ make New York City one of the best places to do it. Initiatives like this expand opportunities to all New Yorkers and now, women over 50 will receive the resources and support they need to begin the next phase of their career.”

“For too long, women over 50 have gone unrecognized and unsupported by a system that penalizes them for their age and role as caregivers,” said J. Phillip Thompson, Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives. “NewVenture 50+ highlights these inequalities while also equipping them with the skills necessary to address the system that has long ignored their numerous contributions and years of experience. Creating a program to support this important community of New Yorkers is part of the Administration’s larger effort to combat disparities and create equity for all.”

“We want women to thrive professionally at all stages of life in New York City, but our research finds that we have more to do to ensure women are supported through their entire careers,” said NYCEDC President and CEO James Patchett. “For women over 50 who want to join the entrepreneurship wave we are seeing in the city, NewVenture 50+ will provide the tools they need to get started.”

“Entrepreneurship is tough to begin at any stage and we are proud to give women over 50 the resources they need to enter this field,” said Gregg Bishop, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services. “NewVenture 50+ will help women explore a new career journey and support them on this next step in their lives.”

“Older women face multifaceted barriers in the workforce, including ageism, gender-discrimination, underemployment, and a widening wage gap. By providing business training and employment opportunities to older women, this program challenges stereotypes and helps foster underrepresented talent, grit, and wisdom,” said NYC Department for the Aging Commissioner Lorraine Cortés-Vázquez. “In partnership with women.nyc, NYCEDC, and SBS, we will ensure that older women are equipped with the tools and opportunities to compete in New York City’s vibrant entrepreneurial arena.”

“Our message to New York women is this: midlife can be an amazing time to start a business because you’ve got a wealth of knowledge, experience, skills and networks,” said Faye Penn, Executive Director, women.nyc. “New York City is the best place to do it because we offer unparalleled resources for women entrepreneurs. Participants in NewVenture 50+ will go from idea to action in five weeks – we can’t wait to see what they come up with.”

“With nearly 1 in 5 women over 50 currently living below the poverty level in New York City, I am proud that women.nyc is taking a bold step towards empowering them by launching their own businesses with NewVenture 50+,” said Council Member Carlina Rivera who sits on the Council for Gender Equity. “Women over 50 face unique challenges in the labor force as they age and face a widening gender pay gap while often taking on caretaking responsibilities. A key to our City’s success is ensuring that everyone, including older adult women, has the tools they need to thrive as entrepreneurs.”

NewVenture 50+ will run three cohorts in 2020, the first cohort will be held at the NY Genome Center beginning March 19, 2020. Applications for the program are currently open from now until February 26, 2020. The twice weekly sessions, led by president of Ventureneer, Geri Stengel, will teach participants the fundamental skills to launch a business. The sessions will also feature guest speakers who will share their insights on starting an enterprise. Women over 50 interested in the bootcamp can learn more and apply here.

The Women 50+ in the NYC Workforce: Tackling Economic Vulnerability report also found that:

  • Women over 50 are more likely than men over 50 to work part-time, and are therefore less likely to receive benefits
  • The gender wage gap has widened for women over 50, increasing by five percent
  • After age 55, the number of women participating in the workforce relative to their male counterparts, decreases with age
  • Women over 50 are less likely to be prepared for retirement:
  • 46 percent of women aren’t confident in their ability to retire, compared to 31 percent of men
  • Women typically have lower IRA balances at every age compared to men—starting at 50, women only have saved 76% of a male's IRA balance
  • According to Payscale, women tend to reach peak earnings at age 44 with an average salary of $66,700, while men reach peak earnings at 55 with an average salary of $101,200

Entrepreneurship has been a self-driven solution for women who face these challenges with their businesses generating $50 billion in sales. The City is committed to helping them get their businesses off the ground.

About women.nyc
When women succeed, the greatest city in the world becomes even better. women.nyc is a groundbreaking initiative that both inspires women to advance their careers and provides them with the real tools they need for success. From free, expert legal advice, to networking and mentorship, to financial assistance, women.nyc offers a growing portfolio of resources for working women.

About WE NYC
WE NYC, announced by the NYC Department of Small Business Services in 2015, delivers tailored, research-based programs for women entrepreneurs to better connect them to the resources, education, and community they need to flourish. WE NYC services are free and open to all women throughout the five boroughs. Since its launch, WE NYC has served more than 9,500 women entrepreneurs and provided over 12,000 services in NYC. For more information, visit we.nyc.

About the Department of Small Business Services
SBS helps unlock economic potential and create economic security for all New Yorkers by connecting New Yorkers to good jobs, creating stronger businesses, and building vibrant neighborhoods across the five boroughs. For more information on all SBS services, visit nyc.gov/sbs, call 311, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

About NYCEDC
New York City Economic Development Corporation creates shared prosperity across New York City’s five boroughs by strengthening neighborhoods and creating good jobs. NYCEDC works with and for communities to provide them with the resources they need to thrive, and we invest in projects that increase sustainability, support job growth, develop talent, and spark innovation to strengthen the City’s competitive advantage. To learn more about our work and initiatives, please visit us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.