Businesses in Central NY
Start-Up NY helps budding entrepreneurs with diverse disabilities launch and grow successful ventures.
Armed with the knowledge and skills she acquired through Start-Up NY and a range of entrepreneurship resources she received as part of Syracuse University’s Inclusive Entrepreneurship™ initiative, Della Brown has transformed her business ideas into reality.
“Starting my own eatery would not have been possible if it were not for the Start-Up NY program,” noted Brown, who recently opened Tacolicious in downtown Syracuse. “It has given me not only invaluable skills but also the opportunity to improve the quality of my life.”
Start-Up NY participants gather for a luncheon information session. Mirza Tihic, program manager, leads the discussion.
Brown isn’t alone in achieving her dream. Start-Up NY—a partnership of the Burton Blatt Institute (BBI) at Syracuse University, the Whitman School of Management through its South Side Innovation Center (SSIC), and Onondaga County—has helped dozens of budding entrepreneurs with diverse disabilities in Onondaga County gain access to business development resources to help them launch and grow successful ventures.
Since 2007, the program has served more than 200 people with disabilities, resulting in 48 of the entrepreneurs starting businesses—from a car repair garage to a dog grooming and day-care service. Over the past three years, Start-Up NY has expanded to become a model for Inclusive Entrepreneurship that works with partners to leverage financial resources and access to financial literacy and benefits planning. The model also includes teaching and guiding college students who work with entrepreneurs with disabilities as business development consultants, a component of a new jointly-taught Whitman School and BBI course.
BBI managed the design and implementation of Start-Up NY on behalf of Onondaga County, led by the County Department of Social Services.
Thomas Kruczek, who oversees the project, says, “We work with everyone who has an interest and a passion, and we have special programs targeted to their needs. Our purpose and our core belief is that entrepreneurship affirms dignity and establishes the ability of any person to attain economic control over his or her life.”
Start-Up NY gives participants business-plan development and review, benefits planning assistance, financing consultation, and training programs, among other resources.
“One of the most beneficial aspects of the program,” says Brown, “was having a business navigator coach, someone who worked with me one-on-one throughout the process.”
The program has been so successful BBI is now working with its community partners to replicate the model in other locations throughout New York state.
Businesses in Central NY
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