Black Woman-Owned Firm Selected To Develop And Operate New York City’s $25 Million Business Hub

by Gee NY
Francilia Wilkins Rahim. Image Credit: Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield

The New York City Mayor, Eric Adams, has recently unveiled an ambitious plan to address the racial inequities within the health and beauty industry with a groundbreaking $25 million investment.

The initiative, named AYO Labs, aims to establish a business hub that will empower Black and minority-owned businesses to thrive and scale in an industry where they have long been underrepresented.

Leading the charge in developing and operating this transformative project is R.F. Wilkins Consultants, Inc., a distinguished firm founded and led by Francilia Wilkins Rahim.

With a proven track record of excellence and a deep commitment to diversity and inclusion, R.F. Wilkins Consultants is poised to drive positive change in the health and beauty sector.

The decision to entrust the development and operation of AYO Labs to R.F. Wilkins Consultants underscores the firm’s outstanding reputation and expertise in the field.

As one of the top 2% of women-owned firms and 0.1% of African American women-owned firms in the nation, R.F. Wilkins Consultants brings a wealth of experience and a strong dedication to advancing minority-owned businesses.

AYO Labs, situated at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, will serve as a dynamic ecosystem providing comprehensive resources, mentorship, and physical infrastructure tailored specifically for Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC), and women-owned companies.

By offering access to manufacturing and packaging resources, as well as mentorship and support services, AYO Labs will empower BIPOC entrepreneurs to develop and expand their businesses within the health and beauty industry.

CEO Francilia Wilkins Rahim’s unwavering commitment to diversity and inclusion is evident in her numerous accolades and recognitions, including being named a Next Generation Builder by the Women’s Builder’s Council and receiving the WMBE Executive of the Year award from the NY Tri-State Chapter of the National Association of Minority Contractors.

Her leadership will be instrumental in driving the success of AYO Labs and fostering a thriving ecosystem for minority-owned businesses in New York City.

The project will be implemented in two phases, with completion expected in 2025 and 2026 respectively. Once fully operational, AYO Labs will stand as a beacon of empowerment and opportunity, serving as one of the country’s largest Black woman-owned contract manufacturing facilities anchored within a business incubator and accelerator.

This transformative initiative reflects Francilia Wilkins Rahim’s mantra that “small businesses are the lifeline of New York City” and underscores her commitment to driving meaningful change in the health and beauty industry.

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