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Mayor Bloomberg Announces Veterans Entrepreneurship Program to Help Veterans Start and Grow a Business

November 11, 2013

Veterans Entrepreneurship Program Expands the City’s Initiatives to Help Increase Employment Among the Veteran Community in New York City

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Small Business Services Commissioner Robert W. Walsh in partnership with the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University, today announced the Veterans Entrepreneurship Program, a training program that will provide veterans with the tools they need to start and grow a business. Veterans are at least 45 percent more likely to be self-employed and typically outpace their non-military peers in startup rates and profits. Veterans are uniquely positioned for entrepreneurship as their training, experience, and leadership skills gained in the military are provide key skills needed to successfully start a business. The Veterans Entrepreneurship Program expands upon the City’s Veterans Employment Initiative, which was launched in July, 2012 in partnership with the Robin Hood Foundation to help increase employment among New York City’s veteran community. The Mayor made the announcement at a breakfast in honor of Veterans Day at Gracie Mansion where they were joined by Congressman Charles Rangel as well as veterans and service members including Mayor’s Office of Veterans Affairs Commissioner Terrance Holliday, U.S. Army Chief of Staff General Raymond R. Odierno, U.S. Army Colonel Joyce Junior, U.S. Army Chaplain Jacob Goldstein, and Vince McGowan President of the United War Veterans Council.

“In our most difficult times, the men and women of our armed forces have bravely stepped up to confront new threats and ensure our safety, and it’s because of them that our city and nation is safer and stronger than it’s ever been,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “We can never repay our veterans the debt we owe them, but we can do everything possible to support those who have served by improving services that can help their transition to civilian life. Veterans have just the kind of leadership, discipline, and work ethic you need to launch a successful business and create jobs and we’re determined to help more veterans succeed.”

“We have been working since 2009 with Kauffman FastTrac to help more than 2,500 entrepreneurs start or grow a business in NYC, and partnering with the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University will help us apply this expertise directly to the veteran community,” said Rob Walsh, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services. “In the past year, our Workforce1 Career Centers have helped place nearly 1,200 veterans and their spouses in jobs, and this program will help us take a step further towards helping veterans in NYC.”

“New York City is home to approximately 215,000 veterans serving in the military since the eras of World War II through the Global War on Terror,” said Veterans Affairs Commissioner Holliday. “Mayor Bloomberg has provided support for veterans as they hang up their uniforms and reintegrate into civilian life. Working with our city agencies, we are working hard to connect all of our returning warriors with employment assistance, medical and mental healthcare treatment, housing and much more. We have more work to do but our veterans can rest assured that they will have the full support of New York City as they reclaim their roles as civilians.”

“We are excited to partner with the NYC Department of Small Business Services on this important program. With the right tools and training, our nation’s veteran small business owners will have a huge part in growing our economy,” said Mike Haynie, Executive Director of the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University.

The Veterans Entrepreneurship Program will launch in February 2014 with a cohort of 25 veterans. The program leverages the expertise of two leading training partners in the field of entrepreneurship. The Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University will introduce the program with an interactive, two-day session covering topics such as the roles and responsibilities of a business owner, the assessment of business ideas, the multiple pathways to entrepreneurship, and local, veteran-specific resources and case studies. Following this introduction, the SUNY Levin Institute will lead a four-week FastTrac NewVenture for the Veteran Entrepreneur course on everything needed to create and open up a business, such as business planning, marketing, and financing. The program will specifically address the veteran entrepreneur community, and connect participants with local, veteran-owned business owners who will serve as mentors. The program is free and will take place at the SUNY Levin Institute in Midtown, Manhattan.

The Veterans Entrepreneurship Program is the newest City initiative designed to support the veteran community and help increase employment. Since launching in July, 2012, the Workforce1 Veterans Employment Initiative has provided career services to 6,000 veterans and their spouses, and has helped connect nearly 1,200 to jobs. As part of the initiative, Dedicated Veteran Specialists are available at seven Workforce1 Career Centers across all five boroughs, providing priority services to veterans including one-on-one assistance with career development, training, and job placement services. Since the program began, there has been a 50 percent increase in the number of veterans placed in jobs through the City’s Workforce1 system.

Additionally, any entrepreneur or business owner in New York City, including veterans, can access free business services offered through the City’s NYC Business Solutions Centers. Services include business courses, pro-bono legal assistance, access to financing, city, state, and federal incentives, help navigating government regulations, recruiting and training staff, and more. NYC Business Solutions Centers are located in all five boroughs and help businesses in New York City start, operate, and grow. Applications will be available starting Monday, November 18.

Following the breakfast, the Mayor marched in this year’s Veterans Day Parade, now known as “America’s Parade, which honors veterans from all branches of the military, as well as the veterans’ community that provides assistance to veterans. Produced by the United War Veterans Council, America’s Parade is the largest event in the nation honoring those who have defended our freedoms. Mayor Bloomberg also attended the Veterans Day wreath laying ceremony at the Eternal Light Monument in Madison Square Park, which commemorates the historic signing of the Armistice on November 11, 1918 that officially ended World War I. Mayor Bloomberg placed a wreath at the base of the monument, which was followed by a 21-gun salute and the playing of Taps. The ceremony honored veterans who gave their lives in support of the nation.

Contact: Marc La Vorgna/Evelyn Erskine (212) 788-2958

Merideth Weber (SBS) (212) 618-8971