Brooklyn Boro

New program helping Brooklyn veterans become entrepreneurs wins SBA award

Created by Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce and NYU Tandon

September 22, 2016 By Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Veteran Bill Bildheiser, of Palo Alto, PA., hangs an American flag outside his home. AP photo by David McKeown
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A new initiative that will help Brooklyn military veterans launch and grow their own businesses has just received a $50,000 boost from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

The program will combine services from New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering in Brooklyn and the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce to provide a full menu of services to entrepreneurial vets.

Participants will receive education and technical support from NYU faculty and mentors and access to technology, service providers, customers and potential investors. From the Chamber, entrepreneurs will receive business development services, along with mentorships and other networking opportunities.

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The program will build on NYU Tandon’s existing support for veterans, called the Veteran Entrepreneur Training (VET) program, which includes an incubator called Bunker Labs NY. It will initially operate from pilot veteran incubator facilities within NYU Tandon’s Digital Future Lab in DUMBO.

“Our experience demonstrates that military veterans share many of the attributes of successful entrepreneurs, including the ability to find innovative solutions to overcome obstacles and the commitment, persistence and dedication necessary to build thriving businesses,” Kurt Becker, NYU Tandon’s vice dean for research, innovation and entrepreneurship, said in a release.

“Brooklyn’s innovation corridor is thriving, and I have no doubt that our new veteran-owned businesses will take it to even greater heights,” said Carlo Scissura, president and CEO of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce.

NYU Tandon began formally supporting veterans’ entrepreneurial needs in 2015, when New York Assemblymember Joseph Lentol secured funding for a dedicated entrepreneurial training program.

NYU says its three incubators have an exceptional success rate — nearly 90 percent of clients are thriving businesses (or successful acquisitions) two years after graduation, versus the normal failure rate of 80 percent for new businesses.

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