(Clinton Foundation) The Clinton Foundation developed the Harlem Restaurant Program at the suggestion of the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone, an initiative that seeks to revitalize distressed communities in the area by using geographically targeted public funds and tax incentives as catalysts for private investment.
Clinton Foundation Announces Harlem Restaurant Program
DECEMBER 17, 2008Clinton Foundation Building on their long-term commitment to economic advancement, President Clinton and the William J. Clinton Foundation announced the kick-off of the Harlem Restaurant Program at Sylvia's Restaurant, highlighted by renowned chef Marcus Samuelsson, in October.
The Harlem Restaurant Program - a program of the Clinton Foundation's Economic Opportunity Initiative (CEO) - is the latest effort between the William J. Clinton Foundation, Booz & Company, and NYU Stern School of Business. CEO is working to help people and communities in the United States achieve greater levels of progress and prosperity. CEO's entrepreneurship efforts promote economic growth in economically distressed and emerging communities by enlisting Americans with business expertise to help local entrepreneurs compete and succeed.
The Harlem Restaurant Program will last eight months and will provide professional development opportunities to established restaurateurs in Harlem, better enabling them to deliver improved products and services to their customers. Through speakers and discussions focused on the four critical components of leading a restaurant: sales & marketing, finance, operations, and general management, the Harlem Restaurant Program will allow restaurateurs to: better understand their industry and keep up with industry trends; better address the specific issues and challenges they face daily; become better leaders within their company; and to connect with local restaurateurs in the Harlem community.
"Restaurants are an essential part of Harlem's heritage and a critical driver of economic activity in the community," said former President Clinton. "I am pleased that my Foundation is building on its work supporting Harlem's small business community by focusing on the restaurant sector. Thriving restaurants will help Harlem attract more tourism, preserve existing and create new jobs, and improve the quality of life for its residents."
The Clinton Foundation developed the Harlem Restaurant Program at the suggestion of the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone, an initiative that seeks to revitalize distressed communities in the area by using geographically targeted public funds and tax incentives as catalysts for private investment. Over the past several months, Clinton Foundation staff, Booz & Company consultants, and NYU business school students have conducted an in-depth assessment of the Harlem restaurant sector, analyzed regional and national industry trends and best practice, and developed a number of business improvement tools for program participants.
"Booz & Company is proud to continue our longstanding partnership with President Clinton and his Foundation to assist small businesses in Harlem through the Harlem Restaurant Program. By providing world class consulting resources on a pro bono basis to help develop this exciting new initiative, we expect to have a substantial positive impact on the Harlem restaurant community," said Karl Kellner, Vice President of Booz & Company.
"In addition to many well-known soul food restaurants, Harlem offers a wide variety of other establishments that cater to the diverse tastes of residents and visitors, alike," said Hope Knight, Chief Operating Officer of the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone Corp. (UMEZ), which over the past 12 years has provided over $2.5 million in loans to restaurants in Harlem. "That's why it's important that the owners of these businesses have access to the necessary training to meet the needs of patrons, as well as to be successful in their efforts. The Harlem Restaurant Program will be a win-win situation for everyone - - the owners, their customers and the economy."
At the age of 37, Marcus Samuelsson has received more accolades than many chefs receive in a lifetime. A graduate of the Culinary Institute in Gothenburg, Samuelsson apprenticed in Switzerland, Austria, France and the U.S. In 1995 he was hired as Aquavit's Executive Chef. Just 3 months later, Aquavit received a three-star review from The New York Times. Samuelsson was honored with the James Beard Foundation Award for ‘Rising Star Chef' in 1999 and ‘Best Chef, New York' in 2003. He was also celebrated as one of "The Great Chefs of America" by The Culinary Institute of America. Samuelsson currently resides in Harlem.