The Entrepreneur’s Entrepreneur

The global COVID-19 pandemic exposed a number of vulnerabilities for the United States. One of the hardest hit sectors, however, was that of small businesses, with Black businesses disproportionately feeling the impacts of those vulnerabilities.

“There is such a tremendous need [for Black businesses] and we absolutely have to deliver. BE NYC is here to listen, support, deliver, and provide resources,” said Lab alumnus Kenneth Ebie, ’97, when interviewed by the Amsterdam News shortly after taking on his new role as the inaugural Executive Director and Chief Development Officer of Black Entrepreneurs NYC (BE NYC). “We are listening, we understand, we are here to help, [and] to do everything in our power to deliver support.”

Spearheaded by the New York City Department of Small Business Services, in September 2019, prior to the pandemic, BE NYC was, at that time, a first-of-its-kind initiative in any major American city to address the racial wealth gap by empowering Black entrepreneurs.

Under Ebie’s leadership, BE NYC established five public-private partnerships and launched five programs and initiatives in its first year, providing over 1,500 entrepreneurs with mentorship, business education, and community support.

Ebie is also the founder and principal of Ebie Strategies LLC, a boutique social impact and public affairs firm that advises corporate, non-profit, and individual clients on human capital, social impact, and public-private partnerships.

Drawing on the resilience from his roots as the son of Cameroonian parents who moved to Chicago to raise their family, Ebie is passionate about racial, social, and economic justice. This year he was recognized as a 2022 “Trailblazer” by the NYC Commission on Human Rights and in 2017 he was recognized as one of Brooklyn Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in Brooklyn Culture”.

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