Harlem And Manhattan Small Business Leaders Honored At Five Borough MWBE Awards 

January 11, 2024

Today, two Manhattan small businesses were honored by the Five Chamber Alliance and TD Bank at a ceremony recognizing outstanding Minority and Women Owned-Business Leaders.

Arnaldo Silva, owner of Sweet Isla Bakery, and Harlem’s Evetta Petty, owner of Harlem’s Heaven Hats, each received a Five Borough MWBE Award from the five boroughwide chambers of commerce for their contributions to New York City’s small business community. 

“Businesses owned by women, minorities and immigrants often face unique challenges,” said Jessica Walker, President and CEO of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce. “In the wake of the pandemic we have been working overtime to support these businesses as they fight to keep their doors open and also to champion the wave of new businesses that have recently launched. Today is about celebrating their achievements and the importance of what they do every day.”

The event, hosted at One Vanderbilt in Midtown Manhattan, also highlighted the importance of the Small Business Resource Network and its commitment to supporting MWBEs, which represent 76% of the businesses it serves. SBRN is a comprehensive approach to small business resiliency that offers free, personalized guidance and support to help businesses grow and thrive. Originally launched as a pandemic recovery effort, the SBRN continues to support small businesses via a collaborative partnership between the five boroughwide chambers of commerce, with generous support from the City of New York. 

“Today we recognize the extraordinary achievements of 10 businesses and entrepreneurs that not only contribute to the economic vibrancy of New York City but also embody the spirit of equity and diversity,” said U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand in a recorded statement. “I also want to recognize the importance and success of the Small Business Resource Network. This collaboration of public and private partners provides key financial and entrepreneurial assistance to the over 230,000 small businesses in New York City.”


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“NYCEDC is proud to congratulate the 10 exceptional businesses that have been recognized for their outstanding Minority and Women Owned-Businesses Leaders and their contributions to New York City’s economy,” said New York City Economic Development Corporation President & CEO Andrew Kimball. “Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises are essential to ensuring that we are building a vibrant and inclusive economy for all New Yorkers, and we are proud to support the NYC Small Business Resource Network in providing small businesses across all boroughs with the tools and resources they need to succeed.”

“Congratulations to this year’s honorees at the annual Five Borough M/WBE Awards,” said New York City Department of Small Business Services Commissioner Kevin D. Kim. “These businesses reflect the diversity and excellence in entrepreneurship that make New York City’s commercial corridors the best in the world. It is their hard work and dedication that are the essence of what it means to be the City of Yes.”

“Receiving this award is an honor and is very encouraging for the dreams that I had when starting this home-based bakery.  It shows that diversity matters in the entrepreneurial world, especially in Minority owned and LGBTQ+ small businesses like mine.  I know that this is an opportunity to open new doors and showcase how my Puerto Rican culture adapts and evolves in the melting pot of New York City,” said Arnaldo Silva, owner of Sweet Isla Bakery.

“…It feels great to be recognized for over 30 years of hard work…”

“I’m honored to receive this MWBE award,” said Evetta Petty, owner of Harlem’s Heaven Hats in Harlem. “It feels great to be recognized for over 30 years of hard work in this very challenging fashion industry.”

The winners of the 2024 Five Borough MWBE Awards are:

The Manhattan Chamber of Commerce

The Manhattan Chamber of Commerce is the convener, voice and advocate of the 128,000+ businesses across the borough of Manhattan, which boasts a GDP of $650 billion and is home to the largest central business district in the world. We’re focused on advancing the economic vitality of our region by building a strong and thriving climate for the broad business community, including small businesses, startups, mid-market firms and large companies. Since 1920, the Chamber’s mission has been to empower businesses by providing technical assistance to make businesses more innovative and profitable, fostering “game-changing” connections for them, and working with government to improve the local business climate.

The NYC Small Business Resource Network

The NYC Small Business Resource Network (SBRN) is a comprehensive approach to small business resiliency that offers free, personalized guidance and support to help businesses grow and thrive. Originally launched as a pandemic recovery effort, the SBRN continues to support small businesses today via a collaborative partnership between the five borough chambers of commerce, with generous support from the City of New York. Our unique service-delivery model places Business Support Specialists on the ground in neighborhoods across the city, helping businesses get connected to free resources offered by both the public and private sectors. https://www.nycsmallbusinessresourcenetwork.org 

Photo credit: 1) Melba Wilson. 2) Evetta Petty. 3) All winners and Melba Wilson.

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