Driving Economic Progress and Empowering Entrepreneurs in Queens

Courtesy QEDC

The Queens Economic Development Corporation (QEDC) is a driving force behind economic progress and community empowerment in Queens.



Within the ever evolving mosaic that is Queens, the Queens Economic Development Corporation (QEDC) emerges as a champion of economic progress and community development. At the center of QEDC lies a bold mission: to create and retain jobs, foster entrepreneurship, and promote community prosperity, with a special focus on supporting individuals of low-to-moderate income, women, minorities, and immigrants. Since its inception in 1977, QEDC has been dedicated to empowering individuals and driving economic growth across Queens.

At the core of QEDC’s mission is a dedication to helping individuals from diverse backgrounds navigate the intricacies of entrepreneurship. Through an array of programs and initiatives, the organization provides invaluable support to aspiring business owners, equipping them with the tools and resources needed to thrive in the competitive landscape of small business.

Seth Bornstein, Executive Director of QEDC for the past 15 years has seen the borough’s landscape change in front of his very eyes and has shifted the organization to continually adapt to neighborhood and resident’s needs.

“Our mission is to help people start with a small business. We do that through a variety of programs that focus on people of middle income, lower income women, minorities, Bornstein said. “There’s a huge amount of people coming here who want to become entrepreneurs, we strive to help them.”

Indeed, QEDC’s impact spans a wide spectrum of activities, from business counseling sessions tailored to the needs of individual entrepreneurs to educational classes that cover essential topics ranging from marketing strategies to financial planning. These services, made possible through public grants and foundation support, are offered free of charge, democratizing access to valuable resources and fostering a culture of entrepreneurship.

One of QEDC’s flagship initiatives is its Kitchen Incubator, a hub for culinary innovation where aspiring food entrepreneurs can bring their culinary visions to life. With state-of-the-art facilities and mentorship opportunities, the Kitchen Incubator serves as a launching pad for culinary ventures, contributing to the vibrant food scene that defines Queens.

The organization also offers the Entrepreneurship Assistance Center (EAC), which is a pioneering initiative catering to entrepreneurs in the New York City area since 1992. Offering comprehensive training and personalized coaching, the EAC equips both budding and established business owners with the skills and resources necessary to thrive in today’s competitive market. Under the umbrella of QEDC, the EAC has played a pivotal role in assisting over 700 individuals in launching over 100 businesses and creating 350 jobs, while securing substantial financing and achieving impressive sales figures.

Another feature is the Women’s Business Center (WBC), which is a cornerstone of support for women entrepreneurs, empowering them to thrive in the economy by fostering the growth and success of their businesses. Since its establishment in 2001, the WBC has been a driving force behind the advancement of women business owners, offering a comprehensive suite of services tailored to their unique needs. From one-on-one counseling and training courses to workshops, mentoring, and networking opportunities, the WBC provides a nurturing environment where women can develop their entrepreneurial skills and connect with like-minded peers.

Beyond nurturing individual businesses, QEDC is deeply committed to enhancing the fabric of Queens’ neighborhoods. Through collaborative efforts with local stakeholders and government agencies, the organization spearheads neighborhood development projects aimed at revitalizing commercial corridors, beautifying public spaces, and fostering a sense of community pride.

Recent achievements highlight QEDC’s multifaceted approach to community development. From organizing small business training programs to managing public spaces like Corona Plaza, the organization has demonstrated its unwavering commitment to making Queens a more vibrant and inclusive place for all residents. The organization’s recent efforts include graffiti cleanup as part of a neighborhood development program. They work efficiently with funded council members to identify and remove graffiti, enhancing neighborhood aesthetics and community satisfaction.

“Queens County is made for big businesses, small businesses including those with fewer than five employees, who may lack the resources needed to expand,” Bornstein said. “We provide assistance to help them navigate and grow their businesses, thus supporting the small business community.”

Looking ahead, QEDC remains steadfast in its commitment to driving positive change, exemplified by upcoming events like the Queens Taste fundraiser on May 21. Collaborating with the Queens Tourism Council, QEDC will host Queens Taste 2024 at the New York Hall of Science in Flushing Meadows Corona Park from 6 pm to 9 pm. This celebration and networking event will feature over 50 restaurants and beverage purveyors offering samples to more than 500 attendees, creating a vibrant atmosphere for mingling and enjoying a diverse array of culinary delights while showcasing the borough’s rich cultural tapestry.

Courtesy QEDC

With a rich history since 1977, QEDC offers an array of programs aimed at equipping aspiring entrepreneurs with resources and support to thrive in Queens.

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