Two women-owned businesses recognized by borough-wide award

Ten small business owners across the five boroughs were recognized for their leadership and community contributions with a MWBE Award.
Photo by Ron Foster

Two Queens small business owners were recognized as outstanding leaders at the Five Borough Minority and Women-Owned Business Leaders Award ceremony on Thursday.

The MWBE Award is organized by TD Bank and the five chambers of commerce in each borough. To be considered for the award, businesses must have proven that they increased sales, profits or employees over the past three years and have demonstrated efforts to advance the minority business community, among other qualifications.

The ten awardees from across the city run a range of businesses from restaurants to consulting firms. Some entered the small business scene just a few years ago, while others have been a staple in their communities for decades. 

Elena Barcenes, the owner of Rincon Salvadoreno – the city’s first Ecuadorian restaurant established in Jamaica in 1980 – was one of the awardees. The restaurant has an expansive menu of Salvadoran staples served in a tropical cozy atmosphere.  

Elena Barcenes, the owner of Rincon Salvadoreno with Tom Grech, President and CEO of the Queens Chamber of Commerce. Photo by Ron Foster

Another Queens award recipient was The Broadway Silk Store, located on Broadway in Astoria. It is an eclectic shop that has been selling fabric prints and costume jewelry for the better half of the century. 

“Now in our 4th generation, our 85-year old woman-owned business is honored to be recognized by the Five Chamber Alliance,” said Sarah-Beth White, who runs the fabric shop. “The Queens Chamber provided incredible support during the pandemic and we were able to take advantage of its many valuable resources and work with really caring, knowledgeable professionals.”

Elanna White, the daughter of the owner of The Broadway Silk Store with Tom Grech, President and CEO of the Queens Chamber of Commerce. Photo by Ron Foster

The award ceremony was held at One Vanderbilt in Midtown Manhattan. Attendees recognized the importance of the Small Business Resource Network, which was initiated during the pandemic, but has continued to offer free support and guidance for small business owners. Over three quarters of the businesses that the network serves are minority or women-owned. 

The two recognized businesses are represented by the Queens Chamber of Commerce, the oldest and largest business association in the borough. The group represents over 1,400 businesses with the goal of providing education and fostering connections to set owners up for success.

“Their dedication, resilience, and contributions exemplify the spirit of entrepreneurship thriving in our borough. We’re immensely proud to support these remarkable small business leaders and salute their commitment to both their enterprises and our community,” said Tom Grech, President and CEO of the Queens Chamber of Commerce, regarding the Queens winners. “This recognition not only honors them but also highlights the pivotal role played by minority and women-owned enterprises in our local economy.”