City partners with CUNY to help international entrepreneurs grow businesses in NYC – Metro US

City partners with CUNY to help international entrepreneurs grow businesses in NYC

City partners with CUNY to help international entrepreneurs grow businesses
Mark Litwa

Entrepreneurs from around the world that are looking to bring their businesses to the United States are getting a helping hand from a city which continues to thrive from its diversity.

The New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and City University of New York (CUNY) have partnered up to launch the International Innovators Initiative (IN2NYC) — the nation’s first city-run program created to help international business men and women access visas to create jobs in the United States.

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Through the program, 80 selected entrepreneurs will get the chance to come to New York City to grow their business at CUNY incubators and help bring over 700 jobs for New Yorkers in just the first three years.

“This is a win for our universities, our working people and our city’s ability to compete on a global stage,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said. “We are making sure New York City remains a magnet for the world’s top talent and putting New Yorkers to work at the technology and engineering firms of tomorrow.”

Although IN2NYC is the first municipal program in the nation to help such entrepreneurs secure visas, similar programs have been implemented in Massachusetts and Colorado.

IN2NYC — which was developed in partnership with Immigration Solutions Group, PLLC — looks to specifically seek foreign nationals who are believed to be able to offer contributions to the United States through work with institutions of higher education and also help build advanced ecosystems.

Each of the selected entrepreneurs will be partnered with one of the seven participating CUNY institutions, which include Baruch College, City College of New York, LaGuardia Community College, Lehman College, Medgar Evers College, Queens College, and the College of Staten Island.

“The success of our innovation ecosystem is rooted in the diversity and the talent of our people, said Maria Torres-Springer, NYCEDC president. “For too long, we would graduate some of the world’s smartest entrepreneur, only to send them packing as soon as they got their degree. This ends today.”

These individuals would be required to base their business at their partner school’s incubator, which in turn would bring new services, revenue streams and employment opportunities to surrounding neighborhoods.

The businessmen and women must also commit to support the mission of the school by providing academic research, developing curricula, offering students internship and employment opportunities, or also serving as mentors.

“Successful entrepreneurship program require attracting local and national talent as well as international expertise to be competitive in today’s market place,” said Monica Dean, administrative director of the Lawrence N. Field Programs in Entrepreneurship at Baruch College. “We believe that our participation in the IN2NYC program will enrich our offering and enable us to further expand out global reach.”

According to officials, New York City attracts the most international students of any metropolitan area in the nation with 52,270 students hosted in the city in the 2013-2014 school year.

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Through the program, entrepreneurs will be given access to the H-1B visa, which are normally given to recipients that are chosen based on a random selection or lottery system — which usually grant only about a quarter of the applications received.

NYCEDC will begin accepting applications for IN2NYC in the spring and the first group of entrepreneurs are expected to be in place by the fall. For more information, visit www.in2.nyc.

“No matter our national origins, we’ve got to be One New York, innovating together,” Torres-Springer said.