Pioneering VET Program Salutes a Class of Entrepreneurial Military Veterans in New York
The First Cohort of the Veteran Entrepreneurship Training Program that Graduates from its New Headquarters at NYU Tandon’s Veterans Future Lab Will Bring Business Skills to Civilian World
BROOKLYN, New York, Thursday, August 2, 2018 – On Wednesday evening, August 8, 2018, a class of 17 military veterans will graduate from a pioneering, intensive 12-week training series that prepares them to pursue business ventures and learn entrepreneurial skills.
Almost 50 percent of World War II veterans and 40 percent of Korean War veterans owned or operated their own companies. Today, just 4.5 percent of the more than 3.6 million men and women who have served in the U.S. armed forces since September 11, 2001, have launched their own businesses.
The Veterans Entrepreneurship Training (VET) program aims to help reverse that trend. As part of the NYU Tandon School of Engineering Future Labs, an entrepreneurship hub designed to support early-stage companies, VET provides the hands-on experiential learning, mentorship, and the basic skills needed to start a company. The free educational program is intended for active military personnel, veterans, and their spouses. It includes training and mentoring from leaders in New York’s entrepreneurial and technology ecosystem — notably including successful veterans who participated in various NYU Tandon programs and share experiences unique to those transitioning from military service.
“NYU Tandon takes pride in sharing with veterans the knowledge that we have developed since 2015 as our Future Labs incubated and supported hundreds of startup companies in New York,” said Dean Katepalli R. Sreenivasan. “I look forward to congratulating those who are concluding VET on August 8, and I hope they will continue to pursue successful ventures that will strengthen themselves, their families, and our city.”
The graduation ceremony will showcase a variety of significant speakers, including state and city representatives, as well as veterans pitching their business ideas.
George Baez, the student keynote speaker from this year’s class, will share his personal journey to the NYU Tandon VET program.
“After my service as an assistant submarine navigator in the Navy, I worked in the IT field for over 30 years and I developed many ideas for business pursuits, but I lacked direction on how to start them,” Baez said. “After my last civilian job, I found the VET program, which has proven invaluable. Its comprehensive curriculum gave me exactly what I need to begin my drone company.”
Baez’s Hermes Drone Services LLC is one of the many great ideas from this year’s VET graduates. The company will inspect rooftops using drone technology, eliminating many risks to inspectors and reducing costs for consumers.
Loree Sutton, MD, Brigadier General (ret.), Commissioner of the New York City Department of Veterans’ Services, will be the keynote speaker at the ceremony. “When veterans see a problem, they find a way to solve it. The Veterans Entrepreneurship Training (VET) program at NYU Tandon’s Veterans Future Lab provides the ideal space for veterans and their spouses to refine their skills and learn new ways to make their visions into reality. As I’ve always said, veterans and their families are New York City’s leading natural renewable resource. I am thrilled and honored to spend the evening recognizing our City’s future business leaders, and I look forward to seeing their innovative contributions in New York City and beyond.”
New York State Assemblyman Joseph R. Lentol (D-North Brooklyn), who secured state funding to launch the first VET cohort in 2015 with help from the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, will be among the featured speakers. “Tapping into the capabilities of our veterans is smart, sound business thinking. This is a workforce of individuals already trained in many important skills, particularly reliability and perseverance. The NYU Tandon VET program is adding to these skills, creating workers that will be the best New York has to offer. I commend the NYU Tandon VET Program and its graduates. A bright and successful future lies ahead for them.”
Adam Yarnold, managing director of Barclays and a former U.S. Army sergeant, will join those publicly congratulating the new class. “Barclays is proud to support the Veterans Future Lab and extend our congratulations to the VET graduates. Barclays has a rich tradition of supporting military veterans, and we are excited to see these veterans hone their skills as entrepreneurs and develop their business ideas.”
James Hendon, the new director of NYU Tandon Veterans Future Lab (VFL) and lead instructor at VET, will emcee the event. Hendon, New York City lead for the U.S. Army Reserve's 75th Innovation Command, brings the voice of an experienced New York entrepreneur to VET.
The graduation will be held at the Industry City complex in the Sunset Park neighborhood of Brooklyn, N.Y. Industry City is home to the VFL, New York’s first business incubator for military veterans. The VFL launched last year with support from Barclays. The VFL also receives support from the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce; Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC); Orrick, Herrington, Sutcliffe, LLP, and the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Upon graduation, students will be awarded a VET certificate from the Future Labs. This session focused on ideation, offering participants direction and tools to hone their business focus. Subsequent VET programs will address operational skills and scaling. For more information or to join the mailing list for the next VET cohort this winter, visit futurelabs.nyc/programs/veterans-entrepreneurship-training or email Tandon.VFL@nyu.edu.
The graduation ceremony is open to the public.
About the New York University Tandon School of Engineering
The NYU Tandon School of Engineering dates to 1854, the founding date for both the New York University School of Civil Engineering and Architecture and the Brooklyn Collegiate and Polytechnic Institute (widely known as Brooklyn Poly). A January 2014 merger created a comprehensive school of education and research in engineering and applied sciences, rooted in a tradition of invention and entrepreneurship and dedicated to furthering technology in service to society. In addition to its main location in Brooklyn, NYU Tandon collaborates with other schools within NYU, one of the country’s foremost private research universities, and is closely connected to engineering programs at NYU Abu Dhabi and NYU Shanghai. It operates Future Labs focused on start-up businesses in downtown Manhattan and Brooklyn and an award-winning online graduate program. For more information, visit engineering.nyu.edu.
About the NYU Tandon Future Labs
The Veterans Future Lab is a part of the NYU Tandon Future Labs, a network of innovation spaces and programs that support the early stage startups of tomorrow through personalized and curated support services, mentorships, and resources. Operated by the NYU Tandon School of Engineering, the companies work at the intersection of a leading academic institution and the City of New York. For more information, visit futurelabs.nyc.