AAFE-affiliate Renaissance Economic Development Corporation has been announced by Empire State Development (ESD) as one of seven Entrepreneurial Assistance Programs (EAP) statewide to have been selected to develop Veteran Business Assistance Centers. Each center will receive a grant of up to $42,000 to fund the current program year and enable the EAP centers to assist veterans with starting a new businesses, or to train veterans in the practices of entrepreneurship to prepare them to pursue self-employment opportunities.

“We are grateful to our veterans for the sacrifices they’ve made and we believe the skills they’ve acquired through their military service will enable them to become successful New York State business owners,” said ESD President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky. “The new VBACs will provide opportunities for veterans to learn the fundamentals of starting a business and allow them to pursue self-employment and support job creation statewide.”

In the 2015-2016 State Budget, Governor Cuomo committed $350,000 to invest in the development of EAP Veteran Business Assistance Centers (VBACs). Applications were received from nine of the 22 existing EAPs throughout the state, of which seven have been selected to receive $294,000 to fund VBACs. The remaining funds will be used to provide guidance to VBAC employees about working with veterans, as well as counseling individual EAP staff, training sessions and more.

Renaissance’s involvement in the initiative will dovetail with the organization’s two existing loan programs for veterans. The first, the Veteran Small Business Loan, offers loans of up to $30,000 at 4% interest with terms of up to 36 months. The second, the Veteran Mini Microloan for Street Vendors, is aimed at veterans who wish to obtain a New York City General Vendor license in order to establish a street vending operation and offers loans of $5,000-$8,000 at 4% interest with terms of up to 24 months. Each loan application is evaluated on a case-by-case basis, and higher loan amounts may be offered to businesses that demonstrate adequate repayment ability.

Since the launch of its loan programs for veterans, Renaissance has provided funding to a variety of veteran-operated businesses, most recently Three Bros. Deli and Grocery, a Staten Island-based enterprise co-owned by two veterans. The startup business is due to open its doors in early August and, with the help of Renaissance’s funding, has hired four full-time employees.

Due to the high volume of demand for its programs for veterans, Renaissance recently expanded service area to include Suffolk County, Nassau County, and Westchester County (traditionally only clients located within the five boroughs of New York City are eligible for loans).

For more details on Renaissance’s loan programs for veterans, click here.

Learn more about Chris Nolte, the first recipient of a small business loan for veterans, here.