New York's Best Kept Secret for Entrepreneurs

By Stephen Robert Morse  |  Sep 18, 2012

New York City's Field Center for Entrepreneurship enables entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs from all walks of life to have access to amazing resources.

Within the publicly funded City University of New York's (CUNY) Baruch College is one of New York's best kept secrets: The Lawrence N. Field Center for Entrepreneurship, along with its Small Business Development Center (SBDC).

Since it was founded in 1993 as the "Small Business Lab," with a grant from the CUNY Workforce Development Initiative, the Field Center has served New Yorkers by providing a myriad of resources for aspiring and existing entrepreneurs. The Field Center and SBDC have served more than 16,000 businesses with advice, mentoring, and other related services. Its work has resulted in more than $110 million invested into the local economy. Additionally, the Field Center and SBDC boasts that they have created or saved more than 5,500 jobs.

"Anyone can use the Center: students, entrepreneurs, anyone thinking about starting a business," said Monica Dean, Field Center administrative director. "We provide one-on-one counseling and loan packaging. We offer weekly workshops on topics such as business plan basics, marketing, financing. For students we provide access to internships, we host competitions, panel discussions and other special events."

One special program run by the Field Center is the Minority Business Research Group (MBRG), where researchers from across CUNY affiliated colleges and other institutions examine large data sets gathered from many channels. The first priority of the MBRG is to "analyze and disseminate" data gathered over many years and from many regions across America about minority entrepreneurship in the United States. This research has provided significant insights into minority-owned business trends, needs, practices, and shortcomings.

Another unique body of research created at the Field Center focuses on entrepreneurship trends and issues for those over the age of 50. The Field Center partnered with AARP in 2006 to create a symposium that focused on issues related to older entrepreneurs, a population that typically gets overlooked.

One recent small business trend that Dean noted is an increase in owner-occupied commercial real estate.

"Not necessarily because of the all-time low interest rates," she said, "but because business owners are getting the sense that property values are on the move upward and they see the value in building such an asset."

STEPHEN ROBERT MORSE - Stephen Robert Morse is a writer, multimedia journalist, producer, digital strategist, and entrepreneur, currently based in New York City.

This article originally appeared on The Atlantic Online as part of the Investing In A Better Tomorrow program.

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