Originally from Washington Heights, Mora received a Bachelor's in Liberal Arts from the University of Vermont, and interned at non-profits throughout college.
He returned to New York in 2006, where he landed a job at Accion New York, now called Accion U USA, the largest nonprofit micro-finance company in the country.
“I was all about working for socially responsible or financially responsible organizations,” Mora said, adding that he “always wanted to do something in business.”
He found his calling at the QEDC, where he runs programs to help entrepreneurs, and a yearly competition that this year is awarding its winners $10,000 each to launch their companies.
His background as a risk-analyst and his experience working as an assistant to an entrepreneur prepared him to design programs to help Queens start-ups gain footing in the business world, he said.
“You basically kind of play the sounding board to start-up businesses,” Mora said. “Start-ups can take months or years, and especially those that take years, that's the most rewarding thing because you've seen your consistent relationship with that client be helpful.”
The QEDC gets most of its funding for its entrepreneurial programs from foundations such as Citi, and the Empire State Development Corporation. The number of start-ups in Queens grows each year, but Mora has to work with the same amount of funding regardless of how many more clients he takes on.
“We've seen high increase in demand from individuals who are looking to start businesses,” he said, but “people don't pay for our services, so it's not like we get more money from them.”
Despite a lack of funding, Mora continues to take on more clients, because he enjoys working with the diverse group of people Queens has to offer.
“You get a mixed bag, a huge range of start-ups, but at the same time it's like a gift,” he said. “You get to meet so many different people and develop a wide knowledge base.”