Piloted in 1989, and expanded citywide in 1992, the Business Outreach Center (BOC) Network is a multi-community coalition dedicated to community capacity-building and small business development in some of New York City and Newark, New Jersey's, most ethnically diverse and isolated neighborhoods. It was instituted in response to the growing awareness that thousands of enterprises across New York City were being handicapped by their limited access to credit and technical-assistance services. The problem was especially acute for the BOC Network’s target client base: minority, immigrant, and female entrepreneurs, who often operate in isolation from mainstream markets, and whose businesses are located in low- to moderate-income communities. Importantly, these businesses are often key sources of jobs for the residents of the neighborhoods they are in or they serve. The BOC Network initiative was conceived as a way to break through their isolation and to close the technical-assistance gap limiting their prosperity and growth, one of the benefits of which would be the stabilization of local economies.
In January 1996, the Business Outreach Center Network incorporated independently as a not-for-profit, § 501(c)(3) organization. Since then, BOC Network staff have worked closely with community development organizations (CDC’s and others) on local BOC development, client services, staff development, and cross-community collaborative efforts. BOC Network staff also pilot initiatives on behalf of the Network as a whole, including specialized business outreach and business-to-business networking, as well overall capacity-building and the development of a shared database and communications system.