WHIDC was organized in 1978 to serve the residents and businesses in Northern Manhattan. We are tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the IRS code. WHIDC is a United States Treasury Department Certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI).
WHIDC's activities include the operation of a micro-business development program, the B
ystem. BO$$ has assisted in the creation of over 500 micro enterprises in our community since 1992. BO$$ provides one-on-one assistance to micro-businesses and entrepreneurs. BO$$ services are aimed at assisting entrepreneurs with limited educational, attainment or English language or business management expertise. They include street vendors, storefront and in-home businesses. BO$$ assisted over 250 entrepreneurs in 2010. WHIDC was selected by New York State of NY to operate the Upper Manhattan Entrepreneurial Assistance Center
In May of 2011 we implemented a Legal Assistance component for neighborhood businessess in conjuction with the law firm of Clifford Chance, LLP and the NYU School of Law.
The BO$$ Micro Business Loan Program has made 369 loans totaling over $5,6000,000 since the loan program's inception in 1995. BO$$ loans range from $100 to $50,000. Two thirds of these loans have gone to small storefront businesses with the balance going to street vendors, and in-home businesses. A third of our loans go to start-up businesses. Of the loans to individuals, 96% have gone to minority- and over 40% went to women-owned businesses. These loans have created over 414 full-time jobs and 128 new businesses in our community. We are one of the most active and successful micro business lenders in New York City.
WHIDC loan recipient Ducat Media LLC used a loan from the Washington Heights Inwood Development Corporation's BO$$ Loan Program to produce a film about Harlemite architect, Robert Arthur King, who is an avid photographer of the stone details on New York City buildings, besides being a beloved professor, an expert at brownstone restoration and an author of two books of his photography. The film premiered last spring at the Sarasota International Film Festival, at the Martha's Vineyard African American Film Festival and is also scheduled for the Chesapeake Film Festival in Easton, Maryland. On Sunday September 23, at 4pm it will play at the Maysles Cinema at 343 Malcolm X Boulevard (Lenox Avenue) as part of the 2012 Harlem International Film Festival.
Childcare is a major growth industry in our community. Despite the need for such services, most childcare providers fail due to their lack of business skills. To address this, we provide business development services to home- and center-based providers in Upper Manhattan. The program includes a 22-session Spanish-language classroom training seminar that assists enrollees with marketing skills, accounting systems, finance, taxes, contracts, liability issues and success planning. Upon graduation, participants receive one-on-one business counseling and assistance in securing grants and BO$$ loans. The program has completed 16 cycles, graduating 251 providers, who
have opened 165 new childcare businesses, and created 148 new jobs and 653 new childcare slots in our community. Their average incomes have risen from a rate of just over $18,000/yr to over $34,000 within one year of graduation. During 2011, alone, Program graduates started 18 new businesses and created 21 new full-time jobs and 125 new childcare slots in our community. Our seventeenth cycle of training will be completed in April 2012.
WHIDC recently won a THRIVE competition award to expand the existing program and develop a similar program for English and French speaking immigrants starting in March 2012.
WHIDC researches business development potential within the community and has just completed a comprehensive study of all properties in central Washington Heightsand Inwood, including existing land use, unused F.A.R., store vacancies, ownership, recent sales, assessed/market values, and more. All information is mapped and is available on our website at www.WHIDC.org
La Plaza de las Americas
WHIDC administrates the year-round La Plaza De Las Americas street vendors market on West 175th Street between Wadsworth and Broadway. La Plaza serves as a micro business "incubator" for between 20 and 50 individuals (depending on the season). Last year, WHIDC secured a "Plaza NYC" award under which the City will permanently close off the stree to vehicular traffic and convert it into a park-like plaza that can accommodate the vendors, provide a water fountain, trees, and public toilet. Construction is slated to begin in the Fall of 2012.
WHIDC has produced the annual Medieval Festival at Fort Tryon Park since 1983. This one-day festival attracts visitors from throughout the tri-state region to see that our community is a nice place to visit and a great place to invest, live and conduct business in. The event features jousting knights on horseback, falconers, Medival-style entertainment, educational events and over 100 performers in period costumes. Admissions is free. Close to 70,000 attended the 2011 festival. It has grown over the years to be the largest scheduled event in all NYC Parks.
The 2014 Festival will be held on Sunday September 28th.