The Business Council of Westchester’s Westchester Innovation Network marked an important milestone on Monday when Iona College students delivered business-support recommendations to Mount Vernon officials.
Students at Iona College’s Hynes Institute for Entrepreneurship & Innovation reported on how the City of Mount Vernon can improve its support minority- and women-owned businesses. The students’ recommendations to Mount Vernon officials included appointing a small-business ambassador; organizing more workshops on how to bid for government contracts; and creating a database of all minority- and women-owned businesses in the city.
“You’ve started something new in Mount Vernon,” Mayor Shawyn Patterson Howard told the students. “In order to partner with someone who’s offering you a service, we really need to know and understand what we need, and you are helping us to answer those questions.”
The Iona-Mount Vernon collaboration is the second phase of WIN, which is propelling innovation as the underpinning for the future economic growth of Westchester. WIN’s Practical Innovation Project spotlights a host community and teams that municipality with individuals focused on identifying projects to assist in delivering immediate economic benefit to that community and its residents through innovation.
Iona College president Seamus Carey told the students that Mount Vernon has unlimited potential.
“We as a college are so proud and so privileged to work in support of fostering success both for the business community of Mount Vernon, and also for the city itself,” Carey said. “This work stems from the core of our mission at Iona.”
WIN’s Practical Innovation Project began on April 4 in Mount Vernon, where the Iona students met with owners of minority- and women-owned businesses. The entrepreneurs explained their struggles finding government requests for proposals, bidding on government contracts and tolerating government contracts’ payment schedules.
“The students’ recommendations are just the beginning of our Practical Innovation Project,” said Dr. Marsha Gordon, president and CEO of the BCW. “I look forward to what the students and Mount Vernon officials can accomplish later this year as they move to implement some of their ideas.”