New York, October 7, 2009 – NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS) Commissioner Robert W. Walsh today announced that the FastTrac GrowthVenture program is helping more New Yorkers review and reshape their business models in order to meet the current economic challenges. Since the program began in April, nearly 70 small businesses have graduated from the Fasttrac Growthventure program and more than two dozen alumni recently showcased their companies at the FastTrac NYC Business Expo. The City is offering Fasttrac Growthventure courses through February 2010 and applications for participation in the program are currently being accepted. Making it easier for small businesses to launch and grow in New York City is part of the Bloomberg Administration’s Five Borough Economic Opportunity Plan.
“Our City is renowned for its unique and innovative businesses and we are working even harder to ensure that these companies remain vital in this ever-changing economy,” said Commissioner Walsh. “I encourage more businesses to take advantage of the many programs, such as FastTrac, being offered by the City.”
On Saturday, October 3, more than two dozen FastTrac GrowthVenture alumni showcased their businesses at the expo held at The Neil D. Levin Graduate Institute, 116 East 55th Street. More than 100 people, including small business owners, lending institutions and business consultants, attended the event which was sponsored by the Business Advantage Group and Northwestern Mutual Financial Network.
“Many small and growing NYC businesses are facing challenges as their markets shift, shrink or evaporate as a result of the recession,” said Lynne Rosansky, PhD, Vice President for Academic Affairs, The Levin Graduate Institute. “The FastTrac programs provide entrepreneurs and business owners with the tools and techniques to help them adjust to these challenges.”
Since the FastTrac GrowthVenture program began in April, 68 small business owners have completed the eight-session classroom training course being held at The Levin Institute. The types of businesses participating in the program include electronic equipment rental, wholesale food, baby apparel, digital media technology products and services, real estate brokerage, financial advisory service, health insurance consulting and IT consulting for financial services.
“The expo was not only a chance for me to present my company to the public, but a chance to network and partner with other businesses,” said Amy DeGiulio, owner of Sugar Flower Shop, who completed the FastTrac GrowthVenture program. Ms. DeGiulio’s company designs custom-made sugar flowers in her New York City cake boutique. As a result of the FastTrac program, Ms. DeGiulio branched out her business and now sells her product in different venues. She said the program helped her open the doors in emerging markets, such as market of the “do-it-yourself, budget conscience brides” who want to transform basic cakes into unique works of art.
FastTrac GrowthVenture graduate, Jennifer Wallace, is the co-founder and director of Art at nAscent Art New York. She created this innovative NYC art company that strives to break down the barriers of the traditional art market. As a result of the FastTrac program, Jennifer restructured her company to focus on team building and planning in order to drive their initiatives forward. In the one month since completing the program, nAscent developed numerous new partners and clients.
Another FastTrac GrowthVenture graduate Mary Ann Malone, is the owner of Metrotots, a company that produces baby stroller storage units. As a result of her participation in the FastTrac program, Ms. Malone revamped her marketing direction by exploring new advertising opportunities and reaching out to several stroller-related exercise groups in order to expand her business.
FastTrac GrowthVenture classes are staffed by entrepreneurs who contribute to the classes as program facilitators, business coaches and guest speakers. The sessions include topics such as sizing up your business and exploring growth opportunities, making strategic decisions & using financial tools, strengthening the product/service, among others.
By the end of the course, participants can expect to have updated their business plans for strategic growth and connected to services offered by the City that will help them operate and expand their businesses, such as NYC Business Solutions and NYC Business Express.
NYC Business Solutions provides business courses, assistance with legal matters, navigating government, financing, recruiting, minority and women-owned business enterprise certification, employee training, and accessing incentives. NYC Business Express is a one-stop online tool that has all the license, permit and tax information and applications needed to do business in the city.
SBS is partnering with the Kauffman Foundation, a philanthropic organization that works to advance entrepreneurship around the world, to bring the FastTrac programs to New York City for the first time. The program offers two courses: The FastTrac GrowthVenture and FastTrac NewVenture, an intensive boot camp designed to help aspiring entrepreneurs launch a new business, including how identify and reach a target market, set financial goals and build an effective team. To date, 255 FastTrac NewVenture graduates and have completed eleven courses
Applications are being accepted for participation in both FastTrac programs. For more information visit www.nyc.gov/FastTrac or call 311 and ask for FastTrac.
About the Five Borough Economic Opportunity Plan
The Five Borough Economic Opportunity Plan is a comprehensive strategy to bring New York City through the current economic downturn as fast as possible. It focuses on three major areas: creating jobs for New Yorkers today, implementing a long-term vision for growing the city's economy, and building affordable, attractive neighborhoods in every borough. Taken together, the initiatives that the City has launched to achieve these goals will generate thousands of jobs and put New York City on a path to economic recovery and growth.
About The Department of Small Business Services
The Department of Small Business Services (SBS) makes it easier for businesses in New York City to form, do business, and grow by providing direct assistance to business owners, fostering neighborhood development in commercial districts, and linking employers to a skilled and qualified workforce. NYC Workforce1 Career Centers offer services to meet the needs of all jobseekers, including one-on-one job and career counseling, technical and educational services, workshops, and referrals to training providers. For more information go to www.nyc.gov/sbs.
About The Levin Institute
The Levin Institute is a new 21st Century academic model and enterprise that addresses key aspects and issues of globalization. Through developing new learning models, research and public engagement, The Levin Institute prepares individuals and institutions to learn, work and communicate across borders and cultures. As a free standing, system wide institute within the State University of New York (SUNY), the Levin Institute melds management school curricula with that of schools of international relations. For more information go to www.levininstitute.org.