Entrepreneur of the Year
Ms. Quenia Abreu is the President and CEO of the New York Women’s Chamber of Commerce, a not-for-profit membership organization dedicated to empowering and fostering the economic development of women and minorities through business ownership, microenterprise and self-employment.
Ms. Abreu, together with a group of business women and community leaders, founded the
New York Women’s Chamber of Commerce (NYWCC) in 2002. Inspired by women entrepreneurs who wanted more than just networking from a membership organization, the NYWCC became the first and only women’s chamber of commerce in the City and State of New York. Today, with a membership of more than 2,000 and growing, the NYWCC has provided technical assistance, guidance, and training to more than 10,000 individuals, assisted with the creation of more than 3,500 new businesses and aided entrepreneurs in accessing $15 million in capital and $30 millions in procurement contracts. The organization has also assisted more than 300 entrepreneurs in applying for M/WBE certification. Ms. Abreu spearheaded the creation of the first Women and Minority Business Development Center in Upper Manhattan. The center, which opened its doors in the summer of 2006, provides business development assistance, primarily to women of color in Harlem, Washington Heights and Inwood.
A dynamic young Latino woman, born in the Dominican Republic and raised in New York City, Ms. Abreu has always championed the professional and business development of women and minorities. She believes that, if provided with the opportunities, resources and support necessary, those who have been labeled socially and economically disadvantaged will become economically self-sufficient and take their rightful place in our society. She also believes that employment and entrepreneurial development are key elements to ending many of the social and economic problems that permeate many of our neighborhoods.
Ms. Abreu previously held the position of Director at the Queens Economic Development Corporation and the Hunts Point Economic Development Women’s Business Centers funded by the US Small Business Administration (SBA). She managed the overall operations and day-to-day activities, and developed and executed initiatives to encourage women’s economic development in the South Bronx and Washington Heights. Under her leadership and guidance, both centers became a haven for women entrepreneurs. Prior to her employment in the area of economic development, Ms. Abreu worked for Columbia University, where she started as an office assistant and later became the Associate Director of Recruiting and Placement, and the youngest Latina female executive in the history of the institution. Furthermore, she diversified her experience by working as a consultant to the Dominican and Puerto Rican Trade Offices promoting and facilitating the exporting of goods and services throughout the world.
A highly respected advocate for equal opportunity for women and minority business owners, Ms. Abreu works closely with elected officials and community leaders to ensure the growth and success of small businesses in the City and State of New York. She has received numerous awards including the 2011 Business Leader Award for creating opportunities for immigrants to become economically empowered individuals given by Mayor Michael Bloomberg. She received the 2005 Entre Nosotras Award, the 2004 Bronx Women Business Advocate of the Year and the Trailblazer Award from the Dominican Times, the Hispanic Chamber Procurement Advocacy Award from the NYS Assembly/Senate Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force, the Business Leadership Award from Las Hermanas Mirabal, the Community Leader Award from the Uptown Dance Academy. She has also received several citations from the NY City Council for her exemplary work on behalf of the small business community.
Ms. Abreu holds a Bachelors of Science Degree in Marketing and International Trade from the Fashion Institute of Technology, State University of New York and is a graduate of the Executive Education Programs at the Chicago Graduate School of Business. She has been happily married for twenty six years to Carlos Fernandez, the most supportive man in the world and has three wonderful sons, Francisco and Gabriel, both in college, and Cristian, a sophomore in high school and in his own words, “Future President of the United States.”