Former American Entrepreneurship Award in the Bronx expands its business plan competition with interest-free funding opportunities for diverse early-stage entrepreneurs in all of New York City
Washington, D.C. – July 2, 2018: Envolve Entrepreneurship, a 501(c)(3) entrepreneurship organization, announces the Envolve Award USA (formerly the American Entrepreneurship Award), a regionally-focused business plan competition that recognizes the best examples of entrepreneurship among diverse and underserved entrepreneurs, is open to experienced and budding entrepreneurs in demonstrably underserved communities across the nation. This year the application is open to the entire New York City metropolitan area. the Envolve Award USA aims to embolden early-stage businesses by providing diverse entrepreneurs with easy access to capital, knowledge, and resources via its secure website – www.EnvolveGlobal.org.
The application is very straightforward via Envolve’s website, and winners will receive funding, mentorship, and a range of business support services. Interested small business owners complete a simple online registration form to generate a user profile and submit their application. The competition is open to entrants from American Entrepreneurship Award legacy locations Miami-Dade County, Florida and the Bronx. Additionally, the 2018 competition expands to applicants from Washington DC, Baltimore, Atlanta, Charleston, Detroit and Flint. Registration commenced on Wednesday, June 27, 2018, and winners will be declared in late fall of 2018.
The launch marks the third annual cycle of entrepreneurship award programming for the newly rebranded organization. Envolve hopes that its expansion to new cities will increase awareness around the importance of supporting underserved entrepreneurs and how the provision of education and resources can serve as an impetus for success.
To leverage its award programming and connect with underserved entrepreneurs in a meaningful way, Envolve is partnering with like-minded organizations in each award location in order to contribute to the support of applicants and winners.
Commenting on the 2018 USA award launch, Christopher Upperman, CEO of Envolve stated: “Time and time again resources, capital, and startup funding is almost non-existent, or simply not reaching the hands of diverse and underserved entrepreneurs. At Envolve we are doing our part to sustain those left out. With our 2018 award season, it’s our hope that diverse and multicultural residents throughout New York City are encouraged to apply. Working alongside city leaders and officials such as Commissioner Gregg Bishop and Assemblyman Michael Blake we aim to support worthy entrepreneurs through financial assistance, workshops, and other provisions. We are proud of our partners who are as committed to inclusive entrepreneurship as we are, and look forward to working together to make dreams become a reality.”
“New York City’s strengths are its diversity and range of opportunities. We are committed to connecting the two and helping all New Yorkers to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams,” said Gregg Bishop, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Small Business Services. “I applaud Envolve’s efforts to promote diversity and I encourage small businesses across the five boroughs to apply for this opportunity.”
2016 winners WATT + FLUX, a woman-founded LED lighting conversion company from the Bronx has since secured several New York City contracts, while Ginjan Bros have brought their organic ginger-based beverage from Guinea to market in Whole Foods across the Greater New York area. Meanwhile, winners from the 2017 Bronx cohort are gaining traction in numerous markets, such as beauty and skincare (Spadét), food and beverage (Sustainable Snacks), and food waste conversion (Re-Nuble).
“I am grateful to Envolve for its continued efforts to foster entrepreneurship in The Bronx and across New York City to create economic opportunities for diverse and underserved communities. Through our planned multi-year collaboration between Envolve, my office and the New York City Department of Small Business Services, eight entrepreneurs in The Bronx have had access to $175,000 in funding and valuable mentorship opportunities that have been critical to realizing their dreams and aspirations. I am thrilled that Envolve will expand its programs to the rest of New York City in 2018, and, I look forward to helping more minority and women entrepreneurs build businesses and create new jobs in the years ahead. Through greater access to capital, counseling and contracting opportunities facilitated by the leadership of Envolve and its CEO Chris Upperman, we are #BuildingABetterBronx and a fairer New York City,” stated Assembly Member Michael A. Blake.
Envolve has pledged financial support of up to $250,000 in interest-free and no-equity business start-up and scale-up funding to be disbursed potentially among multiple award winners in each region. Each winning entrepreneur has an opportunity to be eligible for up to $25,000.
In 2018, the social responsibility division of global conglomerate, the Libra Group created Envolve. Envolve leverages the success of two entrepreneurship award programs: The Hellenic Entrepreneurship Award (HEA) and the American Entrepreneurship Award (AEA), founded by the Libra Group to stimulate economic growth, innovation, and social change. The awards have declared 35 winners across Greece and the USA since 2012, supporting job creation and economic growth. Envolve will continue this commitment to serve and develop individual entrepreneurs, along with cultivating ecosystems domestically and abroad.
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About Envolve Entrepreneurship (Envolve)
To learn more about Envolve Entrepreneurship, please visit www.envolveglobal.org. Envolve is a 501(c)(3) organization that strives for a global society where all business owners can prosper and grow. The organization is committed to developing and cultivating entrepreneurial ecosystems, by ensuring business support services are more readily available to diverse entrepreneurs. To learn more about the Libra Group, please visit www.libra.com.
About the Department of Small Business Services (SBS)
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 a fairer economy in neighborhoods across the five boroughs. For more information on all SBS services, go to nyc.gov/sbs, call 311, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
About Assembly Member & DNC Vice Chair Michael Alexander Blake
Michael A. Blake is an Assembly Member in the New York State Assembly representing the 79th District in The Bronx, New York. Blake was first elected to the Assembly in 2014 and has continued his work in the community, fighting for issues such as Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs), education, community learning, building sustainable communities, equality for all and empowering young men of color. He also serves as Vice Chair of the Democratic National Committee. Blake previously worked in the White House during the Obama Administration as the Associate Director of Public Engagement and Deputy Associate Director of the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. For more information on the Assemblyman, please visit http://nyassembly.gov/mem/Michael-Blake/.