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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, March 23, 2009


MAYOR BLOOMBERG AND KAUFFMAN FOUNDATION WELCOME FIRST PARTICIPANTS OF FASTTRAC PROGRAM SUPPORTING NEW YORK CITY’S FUTURE ENTREPRENEURS

‘Boot-Camp’ is One of City’s Initiatives to Support the Economy and Promote Business Innovation through Entrepreneurial Activity

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert C. Lieber and Department of Small Business Services (SBS) Commissioner Robert W. Walsh today welcomed some of New York City’s future entrepreneurs enrolled in the first FastTrac NewVenture program being offered by the City of New York. The business training program will help emerging entrepreneurs, including those displaced from the financial services sector, start new businesses and help existing entrepreneurial business owners run their businesses. The first class begins today with 28 participants, and it is estimated that up to 1,000 people in New York City will be able to take advantage of Kauffman FastTrac programs over the next year. Kauffman Foundation FastTrac Program Director Monica Doss and SUNY Levin Institute President Garrick Utley joined the Mayor at the Levin Institute in Manhattan to welcome the program’s first participants.

“New York City’s workforce is the hardest-working and most talented in the nation, and that’s an asset we cannot afford to squander,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “In February, we announced 11 initiatives to promote business innovation through entrepreneurial activity, and today we are launching one of the most important – the FastTrac NewVenture – to help foster New York City’s future entrepreneurs. Increasing the number of entrepreneurs will not only create new jobs, it will help create the companies that – when the good times return – will be ready to capitalize on new opportunities.”

“We can’t say for sure what the next big ideas will be or where they will come from, but we can take steps to help make sure that they happen in New York City,” said Deputy Mayor Lieber. “One way we’re doing it is by giving New York City’s budding entrepreneurs the skills, resources and office space to start and build new businesses.”

The Department of Small Business Services is partnering with the Kauffman Foundation, a philanthropic organization that works to advance entrepreneurship around the world, to bring Kauffman FastTrac programs to New York City. The program consists of two courses: The FastTrac NewVenture program, which started today, is a business-training program to help emerging entrepreneurs. The FastTrac GrowthVenture program, which will begin in mid-April, will teach existing businesses how to reshape their business models in order to meet the current economic challenges.

“The City has a special edge because of entrepreneurs with smart and innovative ideas,” said Commissioner Walsh. “We need to do everything possible, especially during these times, to keep this entrepreneurial spirit alive. Our partnership with The Kauffman Foundation enables us to further the Mayor’s initiatives to support the City’s economy.”

“New Yorkers are known for their drive to succeed and reinvent,” said Kauffman Foundation CEO Carl Schramm. “We are honored by the opportunity to help this city’s next generation of entrepreneurs obtain the skills they will need to form tomorrow’s successful businesses and help this great city rise to economic recovery.”

FastTrac NewVenture, a six-day intensive boot camp (2 full days a week, over 3 weeks), is designed to help aspiring entrepreneurs launch a new business, including how to identify and reach a target market, set financial goals and build an effective team. A NewVenture participant must be a New York City resident and have a well thought out idea for a new business model that is feasible. In addition, the participant must have at least two years of work experience, access to a computer to complete assignments, and a commitment to attend all sessions (approximately 40 classroom hours) and complete prep work. At the end of the program participants will have a fully developed business plan.

The 28 professionals in this first NewVenture course represent the diversity of the city’s business sectors, having backgrounds in architecture, education, media and publishing, nonprofits, the arts, and food services. Two thirds of the class participants have worked in the financial services sector. Selected business concepts for the first class represent cutting edge ideas including sustainability related services, educational game development, investment and risk management services, retail sales, among others.

FastTrac GrowthVenture is an eight-session course beginning in mid-April that will teach existing companies how to review and reshape their business models in order to meet the current economic challenges. Participants will be selected based on the needs of their existing businesses.

To learn more or apply to FastTrac, call 311 or go to www.nyc.gov.



  Contact: Stu Loeser / Andrew Brent (212) 788-2958
Laura Postiglione (SBS) (212) 618-6716
David Vermillion (Kauffman) (212) 704-4576
 

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