The new program provides students with new internship opportunities as well as part-time and full-time jobs through the center’s longtime partnership with the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, and several of the 22,000 small businesses located throughout the borough.
Dennis Anderson, chair of the Department of Business Management and Information Technology and executive chair of the new center, said he hopes to be the “clearing house” for small and medium businesses in the borough.
“Anyone looking to start a business or who already has one will be able to come to us to get the tools they need to be successful,” Anderson said. “They’ll learn things like which banks provide funding and who to contact, where to get legal advice, and how to take advantage of pro-bono services.”
In the future, coursework in the new center is expected to cover legal issues, finance, human resources, marketing and social media, and provide a platform for a number of networking functions.
“External relationships are key,” said Mary Gelormino, the new center’s executive in residence. “By bringing in professionals, we give students the value of meeting people who are successful in unique areas.”
Classes quickly filled to capacity at the start of the fall semester this year, and Gelormino expects the spring session will be just as much of a success.
“There was a huge demand for the first class,” she said. “Our students know that a program like this is not limited to business majors. We want to teach the skills of creativity and inspire people to follow purpose and passion. It can be taught to anyone.”
Management professor Patrice Perry-Rivers, assistant director of the center, said it is key to the fabric of the Brooklyn community.
“The importance of entrepreneurship is particularly apparent in a market like New York, where immigrant and minority entrepreneurship drive job creation and community economic vitality at a rate higher than most other cities,” Perry-Rivers said. “Our center is poised to help fuel the economic vitality created by our region’s melting pot of entrepreneurs by training and educating future entrepreneurship leaders.”