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Syracuse University Institute for Veterans & Military Families & Rochester Economic Development Corporation Each Selected As 1 Of 51 Community Navigator Hubs Across The Nation


Funding Will Help Ensure Historically Underserved & Veteran-Owned Businesses Get Better Access To Federal, State, And Local Resources


Senators: Syracuse & Rochester Will Be A Hub To Help Disadvantaged Businesses Grow and Recover From Economic Impacts Of COVID-19


U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced the Syracuse University Institute for Veterans & Military Families (IVMF) and the Rochester Economic Development Corporation (REDCO) were each selected as Community Navigator Hubs as a part of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s?(SBA) American Rescue Plan initiative to aid small businesses.  Syracuse University’s IVMF was selected as a Tier 1 partner and will be awarded $5 million over two years, and the REDCO was selected as a Tier 3 partner and will be awarded $1 million. The senators said the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have hit small businesses hard over the last year, especially veteran, rural, minority-owned, and small mom and pop shops that may not have the same resources as larger well-connected businesses. They explained the Community Navigator Program is designed to address these concerns by helping reduce barriers to government programs for underserved entrepreneurs to help jump-start recovery and growth.

 “To help our Upstate NY small businesses fully recover from the devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic you have to ensure they all have a fair shot at support. Too often our historically underserved and veteran-owned businesses face additional barriers or challenges accessing critical capital, technical assistance, contracts, and other opportunities,” said Senator Schumer. “As Majority Leader, I am proud to help deliver funding through the American Rescue Plan for Syracuse University & the Rochester Economic Development Corporation to help level the playing field and supercharge our small business recovery efforts in New York.”

 “The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on the small businesses that form the backbone of New York’s economy,” said Senator Gillibrand. “This federal funding will help ensure that small businesses, particularly those in disadvantaged and historically underserved communities, get connected with the resources they need to recover and thrive. I will continue fighting for investments that create economic opportunity in Rochester, Syracuse and throughout New York State.”

 “The Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University is honored to be selected as a Tier 1 partner in the innovative Community Navigator Pilot Program,” says Mike Haynie, Ph.D., Syracuse University Vice Chancellor and IVMF Founder and Executive Director. “We are grateful for the steadfast support of Senator Schumer and the U.S. Small Business Administration over many years, and for their collaborative efforts to make the Community Navigator Pilot Program a reality. The IVMF team is excited about the opportunity to leverage our experience, relationships, and passion for serving veterans and their families, to help America’s veteran-owned businesses grow, thrive, and prosper.”

Baye Muhammad, CEO of REDCO said, “I’d like to thank Senate Majority Leader Schumer, Senator Gillibrand, and SBA Administrator Guzman for this opportunity to continue to serve Rochester’s Entrepreneur Support Organizations (ESOs) and strengthen our community start-ups and small businesses. This will go a long way to improve equitable neighborhood wealth.”

Funding for the Community Navigator Pilot Program is administered through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Community Navigator Pilot Program hubs will serve as centralized, lead organizations, and leverage partnerships with community-based organizations to help small businesses navigate government resources and tap into critical resources to recover and grow.  Specifically, REDCO will use this grant to continue improving Rochester’s entrepreneurial ecosystem through its innovative Resource Partner Enhancement Program (RPEP). RPEP is a peer-learning cohort program that bolsters local Economic Support Organizations (ESOs) which provide collaboration services and resources to entrepreneurs and small businesses. This enables these ESOs to better support the Rochester business community. Syracuse University’s IVMF hub is responsible for coordinating community-based, economic recovery for veteran-owned small businesses. The grant will allow the IVMF to support veteran and military spouse businesses with entrepreneurship training, small business technical assistance, loan preparation, capital readiness, corporate and federal contracting, and networking.

Nationwide, the Community Navigator Pilot Program will provide $100 million in funding to 51 organizations to connect America’s entrepreneurs to government resources so they can recover and thrive.