Street Vendor Entrepreneurship Accelerator

Year: 2023
Country: United States
Project Status: Funded
Impact Sector: Economic Opportunity
Project Investment: $25,000.00

Project Launch: 3-6-23

The Street Vendor Project (SVP) is a membership-based organization of over 2,800 street vendors working to defend the rights and improve the working conditions of the approximately 20,000 people who sell food and merchandise on the streets of New York City. This population is primarily new immigrants who rely on vending to provide for themselves and their families. Vendors come from some of the most marginalized communities, specifically immigrant communities of color, and low-income households. SVP currently provides small business consultation services to vendors in all five boroughs, with a particular focus and investment in female vendors, who made up 59% of the vendors served by our Small Business Empowerment Program in the past year. Women compose a significant portion of the vendor population, a shift in what was previously a male-dominated profession within the five boroughs. Many women turned to vending during the pandemic, as it is a flexible job that allows for their disproportionate family and domestic responsibilities. Most female vendors are the sole breadwinners of their families and SVP strives to promote their economic wellbeing and independence through our small business services.

Building on the success of their Small Business Empowerment Program, with support from World Connect, SVP will launch the Street Vendor Entrepreneurship Accelerator which will be a first of its kind training and mentorship program that will equip a cohort of New York City street vendors with the tools, resources, and skills needed to strengthen their businesses - while building camaraderie with fellow program participants.  Vendors will apply to participate, and 12 vendors will be selected to participate, ensuring that at least 70% of the participants are women. Over the course of a week, participants will attend a 20-hour paid training by SVP staff who hold language capacity in Spanish, Arabic, and Mandarin. As with all SVP’s work, language accessibility will be integral to the program’s success. After the one-week intensive program, SVP's small business staff members will facilitate monthly group and one on one check-ins with the participants for one year, where they will provide additional training and ongoing support.

SVP hopes to make this pilot project a signature program and work with many more cohorts over the years. Through the success of this unique and tailored approach to empowering New York City’s vendors, they hope to demonstrate the value of investing in street vendors and serve as a model to other small business service providers to make their services accessible to street vendors and other marginalized workers in New York City and beyond. Street vendors are central to our city’s culture and economy. Through this program, SVP aims to bring our city’s smallest business owners out of the shadows and integrate them into the formal economy, empowering them to thrive.

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