Posted November 5th, 2015
Prosper and NYU Tandon School of Engineering today launched a pilot veteran-led business startup incubator, located within NYU Tandon’s existing DUMBO incubator at 20 Jay Street, with support from the United War Veterans Council, Bunker Labs and other businesses and civic and government groups.
Prosper, the first-of-its-kind initiative, supports 200,000 veterans in New York City and the 900,000 veterans in New York State. Prosper and NYU Tandon are incubating veteran-led startups, training aspiring entrepreneurs, and building a 21st century veteran business community. Prosper wants its platform to serve as a national model.
Prosper CEO Brendan Hart notes that the 2.4 million veteran-owned businesses in the nation employ 5 million people and generate $1.2 trillion in annual sales, according to a 2012 U.S. Census Bureau Survey of Business Owners.
The Census Bureau survey says veterans are 45 percent more likely to start their own business than non-veterans.
Prosper and NYU Tandon already have startups in residency and will open a competitive application process for the remaining space. Information is available at prosper.vet.
“The partnership will not only provide the much needed support for veteran start-ups, for which we have a strong existing track record,” said Steven Kuyan, Managing Director of NYU Tandon Incubators and Entrepreneurship, “but through Prosper, will also open often closed doors to the necessary veteran services across the state.”
“People who are serious about veterans’ advocacy understand that men and women who served our country honorably in uniform benefit from support at different ends of the spectrum of needs,” said incoming United War Veterans Council President Dan McSweeney. “This new incubator is a very effective way to ensure that veterans who want to start businesses have a solid foundation, far-reaching network, and precision tools to help them succeed.”
“Prosper is built on the belief that veterans will lead the innovation economy. Our job is to accelerate that process by incubating startups; training entrepreneurs; partnering with world-class organizations, and building a vibrant business community,” said Brendan Hart.
Prosper pays the initial start-up cohort’s rent, with a defined start and end date for their tenure in the incubator. The incubator platform promotes collaboration and allows veterans to operate and socialize in a broader entrepreneurial eco-system leveraging the many services provided by both Prosper and NYU Tandon.
In addition to incubating startups, NYU Tandon and Prosper are running a 10-week VET certificate program for aspiring veteran entrepreneurs. So far, 14 veterans have completed the program, with the next course beginning in January.
Business and civic leaders working with Prosper offered strong endorsements:
“Prosper is an innovative and effective way of supporting veterans and improving New York City’s regional economy,” said Jerry Hultin, principal and co-founder of Global Futures Group, former Under Secretary of the Navy and President emeritus of Polytechnic Institute of New York University, a predecessor to the NYU Tandon School of Engineering .
“Prosper will deliver great results for its members and for New York City,” said Ann Kayman, CEO of New York Grant Company.