For generations, the Statue of Liberty has stood at the entrance to New York Harbor, welcoming people from around the world to the “Golden Door” of New York City. And the great promise it offers remains unchanged after more than 200 years: an equal opportunity to succeed. This enduring tradition has created an engine of economic innovation unlike any the world has ever seen. It has transformed our city from a small trading post at the tip of the Battery into the entrepreneurial capital of the world.
In recent years, we have seen incredible growth in our entrepreneurial economy across a variety of industries—from finance, fashion, and food to marketing, media and high-tech. But while new startups emerge every day, we have not done enough to ensure that thousands of working-class New Yorkers in Brooklyn and other areas have the resources and skills to share in this growth. We have failed to ensure that this robust new economy provides a pipeline to the middle class for all the people of New York.
As my office points out in a new report “Start-Up City: Growing New York’s Entrepreneurial Economy for All,” only one in five startups in New York City is founded by a woman. Only 29 percent of employed Blacks and 20 percent of employed Latinos work in the “creative economies,” including management, business, science and the arts.
Mayor Bloomberg deserves great credit for diversifying the city’s economy. But now we must take the next step and ensure that the benefits of this economic activity reach New Yorkers who have yet to share in them. We need to expand “Silicon Alley”—startups stretching from Soho and Midtown Manhattan all the way up to Washington Heights and Harlem—into “Silicon City,” so entrepreneurs and job seekers in DUMBO, the Flatbush Avenue corridor, Sunset Park and elsewhere can take advantage of this new economy.