NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS) Commissioner, Jonnel Doris has announced the appointment of Kenneth Ebie as the inaugural executive director and chief development officer of Black Entrepreneurs NYC (BE NYC).
In this role, Doris said Ebie will work to advance Black entrepreneurship by increasing the number of Black-owned businesses in New York City and supporting their growth through development, management and fundraising of key BE NYC programs and partnerships.
“Ebie’s role will also ensure Black businesses mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 as they recover from the pandemic,” Doris said.
An entrepreneur himself, Ebie is 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.
With prior experience in law, politics, city government and public affairs, Doris said Ebie brings a track record of success in driving innovative social impact initiatives at the highest levels of government, entertainment, and philanthropy.
“Black and minority-owned businesses are the backbone of NYC’s economy and are the future of this nation’s economic landscape,” said Doris. “Ensuring that these business owners have a constant support mechanism is my highest priority. Having Ken join our team will not only give NYC’s Black-owned businesses the resources they need, but it will also allow us to think more creatively and uniquely to address their concerns.”
“This crisis has revealed the need for a new vision to address the broader struggle for racial justice,” said J. Phillip Thompson, deputy mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives and co-chair of the Racial Inclusion and Equity Taskforce. “We look forward to Ken’s leadership at BE NYC, as he begins the critical work of ensuring that the Black business community receives the relief they need to grow and thrive.”
Ebie said he was “excited to return to city government under the leadership of Commissioner Doris to connect entrepreneurs with the information and resources they need to survive and thrive.
“By supporting economic mobility and self-sufficiency in the Black community, we will help drive the economic recovery of our great city,” he added.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, SBS said Black-owned businesses closed twice as frequently as their white counterparts.
To help address these concerns, the city announced new commitments in August, which aim to increase the number of Black-owned businesses in all five boroughs.
The commitments were released in conjunction with SBS’ landmark report, Advancing Black Entrepreneurship in New York City, which acts as a blueprint for advancing Black entrepreneurship and highlights the challenges this community faces when starting and growing their businesses.
Ebie previously worked as a director at The Raben Group, a national strategic communications and public affairs firm.
Prior to that, he served in New York city government as deputy general counsel and director of External Affairs at the NYC Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME), directing legislative affairs and establishing strategic partnerships, and previously as special counsel at the NYC Department of Consumer and Worker Protection.
Prior to government, Ebie served as the campaign manager for the late Brooklyn District Attorney, Ken Thompson’s successful 2013 campaign.
Ebie holds a B.A. from Harvard College and a J.D. from Yale Law School.
“As a former investment banker and founder of the WOCstar Fund, a venture capital firm, I know the importance of collaboration and capital to help build and grow successful companies. I am thrilled that Ken will be joining as the BE NYC executive director to rebuild and unlock the potential of thousands of black business owners,” said Gayle Jennings-O’Byrne, founder of WOCstar Fund and BE NYC Cabinet Member.