Bay Ridge

NYU teaches veterans how to start a business

Scissura says program can boost Brooklyn’s economic growth

August 4, 2016 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis (third from left) met with VET representative Craig Wilson and VET participants Chris Shaw and Nina Vizcarrondo, (l. to r.) to discuss the training program. Photo courtesy of Malliotakis’s office
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Military veterans are getting valuable tips on how to start their own businesses as part of a unique program offered by New York University (NYU) that is being championed by the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce and lawmakers like state Assemblymembers Joe Lentol and Nicole Malliotakis.

Malliotakis (R-C-Bay Ridge-Staten Island) recently met in Albany with representatives of NYU’s Veteran Entrepreneur Training (VET) program to talk about ways to expand the program to help more veterans.

“Our veterans sacrifice so much in their service to our country and, through their training, acquire many of the skills necessary for entrepreneurship — patience, discipline, creative thinking. The VET program has proven that it can build on those foundational skills and provide the additional knowledge and mentorship for students to carry their ideas into reality, and eventual success upon returning to civilian life,” Malliotakis said in a statement.

The program was developed by NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering with support from the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce and with funding secured by the New York State Assembly.

“With nearly a quarter of a million veterans who call New York City home, it is crucial that we do everything we can to support the veteran community, not only to assist those who have bravely defended our country, but to further our borough’s economic growth as well,” Chamber President and CEO Carlo Scissura told the Brooklyn Eagle via email.

“The Brooklyn Chamber is proud support the VET program, and will continue our efforts to improve the lives of veterans through our Veterans Business Council. I applaud NYU, Assemblyman Joseph Lentol, Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis and everyone who helped launch and promote this program, and I look forward to seeing the incredible work that comes from it,” Scissura said.

The VET program, which operates through the Tandon School in partnership with Bunker Labs, is currently accepting applications. The application process is open until Aug. 18.

The program combines academic and real-world lessons and offers veterans a technology and business curriculum, as well as mentoring, to help them transition into the technology industry to launch potential ventures and careers.

The free, 14-week course starts with four days of intensive classes followed by weekly classes and presentations. Classes and guest lectures cover a range of topics including: prototyping, revenue models, accounting, marketing and fundraising. The program concludes with two showcases: an internal presentation to local technology business leaders, corporate partners and investors and a public session. 

Veterans accepted into the program work alongside startup companies at the school’s incubators during the entire 14 weeks and receive a portfolio of resources to supplement the classes. Mentors and guest lecturers support class participants as they develop their ideas into business ventures. 

“NYU Tandon is excited to offer a program that will bring more participants into the innovation economy,” said Kurt Becker, vice dean for Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship at NYU Tandon. “Veterans have the skills necessary to succeed in the entrepreneurial world and we are proud to support them after all of the service they have provided to each of us.”

“The VET Program at NYU Tandon was an amazing experience because being taught by some of the most talented entrepreneurs in NYC gave me the skills and confidence I needed to succeed in the civilian world without affecting my 9/11 G.I. Bill education benefits,” said Nina Vizcarrondo, a veteran who completed the program and opened her own craft beer company.


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