Digna Cueto enrolled into the Fall 2018 cohort of the Entrepreneurial Assistance Program, a 60-hour business training and plan writing course, with hopes to open her own tax preparation office in Queens. She wanted her business to be different from the other tax offices; she wanted her service to fulfill the needs of the Latino community in Queens. Digna felt that Hispanics in her Queens neighborhood needed help with the tax code to claim the necessary deductions and plan for the future adequately. Spanish-speaking residents were frequently getting inferior service due to language barriers and they frequently became victim to fraudulent practices. Digna wanted to change that by helping those same people take control of their financial lives.
Powering through the 60 hours of vigorous training with her determination, we are happy to announce that Digna hosted the grand opening of her tax preparation office in Woodside, Queens on Sunday, January 20th, 2019.
She is even coming back to work with QEDC’s Women Business Center to host a thorough workshop on declaring taxes for your business, the current tax code, IRS requirements and audit preparation.
You can find her information by visiting her website here.
In the summer of 2017, owner Movitzsa Simmons developed the idea for a line of wholesome ice pops made with whole fruit, water, and cane sugar when after searching the market for a healthy ice pop for her 6-month old son. After proving the products feasibility, she found QEDC and worked with our EAP and StartUP! programs, developing her business plan and winning $10,000 in funding. Through the EAP program, Movitzsa was connected to a distributor, where she was able to get 20 stores interested in her product. Movitzsa is ecstatic that she won the competition and she is looking forward to joining a production facility so that she can start her business.
Movitzsa’s long term plans are to expand her flavor assortment to include wellness blends, chocolate blends, and spiked blends, and to also be a staple for every fun occasion, summer treat, and childhood/adulthood memory.
Owner Amin Soriano was a real estate consultant who lost his job and house during the recession. Noticing all the scaffolding appearing in New York City, Amin researched and learned that scaffolding is a recession proof business due to the scaffold law and the need for safety. After working for different companies he decided to start his own. When he landed an opportunity reserved only for a Minority Business Enterprise (MBE), he attended our programs to help him get certified. With the our help, he was able to become certified quickly and obtain the $705,000 contract. According to Amin, “Anyone who wants to become MBE certified should come to the seminar.”
LUV Michael was formed around a 17-year old man diagnosed with Autism who had a passion for cooking. All LUV Michael products are made by individuals with Autism from start to finish. Luv Michael has developed a food-based curriculum, which breaks down all the processes and procedures so that all of their employees can work efficiently in the kitchen in order to produce a quality product that they are proud of.
Luv Michael is committed to creating and providing meaningful culinary jobs to the Autistic population. The profits from Luv Michael aid in the growth of our business and allow us to develop new training modules for our employees. Your purchase will allow us to train, educate and employ more individuals on the Autism spectrum.
With the help of the Entrepreneur Space, LUV Michael is the chosen winner of The Blue Bud Program run by Jet Blue to help small companies build their dream company.
All LUV Michael products are made at The Entrepreneur Space along with many culinary training sessions to those on the Autism spectrum.
Nadira el Khang
Nadira El Khang of NadiraBag has been a QEDC client for seven years. She has received approximately 30 hours of technical assistance in developing her business model, writing her business plan, working on her marketing strategy, and much more.
In 2017, she started to sell her bags on Amazon.com and sell wholesale to Etsy.com. She also hired two part time employees and increased sales 20% from the year before. In 2018, Nadira wants to sell her custom made handbags at airports, a proud moment for her business that creates its bags locally in Queens, New York. She would like to create her own foundation for women with cancer to which she would donate 10% of her sales.
Laura O’Brien, owner of Josephine’s Feast, has been a QEDC client for nine years. She came to us in 2009 to rent out commercial kitchen space from the Entrepreneur Space, a kitchen incubator managed jointly by QEDC and Commercial Kitchen Assistant Kathrine Gregory. She has received countless hours of assistance from the Entrepreneur Space’ food counselors in marketing, production and management issues. In the past three years, her jams and spices has been featured in Oprah’s O Magazine, with her latest mention being the January 2018 issue. She has had a editorials written on her seasonal products in the New York Times and Martha Stewart, and her products have received two good food awards. During the last few months of last year, she secured and renovated a new kitchen and office space in the Pfizer Building, enabling her to have control over her production schedule. You can learn more about Laura and her business at http://josephinesfeast.com/.