BY CATHERINE VENTURA
On November 10, Business Center for New Americans, a leading CDFI and SBA lender, announced it was rebranding as Accompany Capital. The nonprofit has offices in Jackson Heights and Manhattan, and is an active community presence in Queens.
The new name reflects Accompany Capital’s evolution and broad commitment to support clients not only with affordable capital, but also with ongoing access to business training, one-on-one counseling, and technical assistance Along with the new name and brand, executive director Yanki Tshering unveiled a new logo and new website with a streamlined online loan application process.
“The new name allows us to emphasize that we do more than just provide affordable capital, we partner with our clients and accompany them every step of the way on their entrepreneurial journeys,” said Tshering. “While our name has changed, our mission has not.
“Events like the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, as well as past challenges like Hurricane Sandy and the 2008 financial crisis, have only reinforced our commitment to our mission, determining how best to support our clients through changing economic environments and staying relevant and responsive,” she added.
To date, Accompany Capital has made $34 million in loans to micro and small business in New York City, $8 million of which were made to over 1,000 businesses in Queens. Because of the significant number of clients in Queens who own restaurants, Accompany Capital has mobilized to help them meet the challenges of social-distancing mandates.
First by providing low-cost emergency loans to help weather the storm then, more recently, by supporting clients as they build outdoor seating areas through a collaboration with the 82nd Street Partnership and the Urban Design Forum, as well as curating takeout offerings and menus and advising on ways to build a greater digital presence on social media.
Other Queens clients have turned to Accompany Capital for support in optimizing their websites for greater online sales, or pivoting to stock up on inventory like PPE equipment or produce high-demand plexiglass and plastic barriers.
“We have a strong commitment in continuing to support these businesses both during this current crisis and in the future,” explained Accompany Capital senior loan officer and Queens resident Vish Dasma.
He noted that many of the businesses are in neighborhoods whose residents rely on them for the jobs they create and the meeting places they provide, contributing to the cultural and economic fabric of the borough and the city.
“As an ‘economic first responder,’ we are proud of our efforts in supporting our clients with emergency financial and technical support at time of their greatest need,” said Accompany Capital Board chair Kwame Marfo. “Rebranding will allow us to better position the organization for an accelerated growth phase as we expand our offerings in our ever-expanding quest to empower entrepreneurial dreams, create jobs, and revitalize communities.”
Accompany Capital worked for several months with Brenda Smith and Associates, a top branding consultant, to choose a name that not only reflected the mission but also had positive associations in all of the languages spoken in Queens.
The name change will be reflected in such initiatives as the annual Immigrant Heritage Week Awards event, which will be held virtually later this year, and the Speakers Bureau, which makes available dynamic women entrepreneurs with exciting success stories to tell.
The new Accompany Capital logo will also be prominent in Queens events the organization helps sponsor, such as the annual Momo Crawl, workshops at the Queens Library, and initiatives with the community board and other local organizations.
“As BCNA, we were a very familiar face at many Queens events,” said Tshering Gurung, manager of Business Development & Training Coordinator, who works in the Queens Office. “Now we look forward to reintroducing ourselves in the upcoming months so that businesses in Queens recognize the name Accompany Capital as a welcome neighbor as well.”