Ascendus in New York will host 6th annual access to opportunity awards luncheon

NEW YORK CITY – May 6, 2019 – On May 16th, Ascendus will host its 6th Annual Access to Opportunity Awards Luncheon at the Bryant Park Grill to recognize the visionary small business owners and dedicated partners who are revitalizing neighborhoods, breaking barriers, and helping to further economic justice for all.

“This event is a great opportunity to celebrate the individuals at the forefront of changing our economic landscape by championing small business ownership,” says Paul Quintero, CEO of Ascendus in New York. Honorees include the Clark Foundation, who will be receiving the Award for Dedication. Doug Bauer, Executive Director, will accept on their behalf. The Clark Foundation will be recognized for their deep commitment to creating an economically and financially inclusive city for every New Yorker and for their century-long support of Ascendus in empowering entrepreneurs with the resources they need to build prosperous lives for themselves, their families, and their neighborhoods.

Ascendus will also honor two remarkable small business owners who are helping to shape their communities and inspiring others with their compelling stories of success.

Alice Weise, founder and owner of Nubian Hair Studio, a full-service natural hair salon in the Bronx, will be recognized with the Award for Passion. Passionate about haircare since the age of 14, Alice chose to open the salon in the same neighborhood she had lived in for decades, as she knew there was a strong need in that area for the kind of services her salon offered, and she wanted to provide for a community she knew well and loved deeply.

Azra Kazim Kermali, CEO of Plaques by Azra, which offers custom made plaques, banners, and signage, will be recognized with the Award for Integrity. After taking over her family business more than two decades ago, Azra has participated in and shared her success story at numerous business mentoring opportunities, both to become a better small business owner herself and to inspire others to follow in her entrepreneurial footsteps.

This event was made possible by the generous sponsorship support from Premier Sponsor JPMorgan Chase & Co.; Job Creator Sponsors TD Bank and Citi; Family Builder Sponsor TIAA Bank, Samuel Adams, City National Bank, Wells Fargo, and Santander; Entrepreneur Sponsors BTQ Financial and HSBC; and Start-up Sponsors BNB Bank, Goldman Sachs, Metropolitan Commercial Bank, and Ponce Bank.

Click here to learn more about the luncheon and purchase tickets to attend.

About Ascendus

Ascendus is a nonprofit small business lender working to create economic opportunity by providing entrepreneurs with access to the capital and the business support they need to create and grow healthy enterprises and contribute to thriving local economies. Since 1991, Ascendus has provided more than $200 million to 25,000 small businesses owners across the country. For more information, visit

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