PHOTO: Two borough schools, including Queens College, are part of the City’s new International Innovators Initiative. Photo courtesy of Flickr/atmzeal
By Forum Staff
New York City Economic Development Corporation, in partnership with the City University of New York, last week announced the launch of the International Innovators Initiative, the first municipal program in the nation designed to help international entrepreneurs access visas so they can create jobs in the United States. IN2NYC will help up to 80 selected entrepreneurs gain access to the visas they need to grow their businesses in New York City, and is projected to create more than 700 jobs for New Yorkers in the first three years alone.
IN2NYC partners selected entrepreneurs with one of seven participating CUNY institutions, two of which are in Queens: Baruch College, City College of New York, LaGuardia Community College, Lehman College, Medgar Evers College, Queens College, and the College of Staten Island. Entrepreneurs will be required to base their businesses in their partner school’s incubator, bringing new services, revenue streams, and employment opportunities to neighborhoods and strengthening their innovation ecosystems. Entrepreneurs must also commit to support the mission of the partner school by contributing to academic research, developing curricula, providing students with internship and employment opportunities, or serving as mentors.
“This is a win for our universities, our working people and our city’s ability to compete on the global stage. 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,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.
While IN2NYC is the first municipal program in the nation to help international entrepreneurs secure visas, related programs have been implemented in Massachusetts and Colorado. A key benefit of this program is that the CUNY institutions do not need to expend funds to directly hire entrepreneurs, and therefore the program requires minimal resources from the City or CUNY.
The program is designed to foster innovation ecosystems and diversify the economy by retaining international talent that has been educated locally, and attract entrepreneurs from abroad who have skills and knowledge that would benefit CUNY students and educators. NYCEDC will begin accepting applications for IN2NYC this spring, with the first group of entrepreneurs expected to be in place by the fall. For more information, go to www.in2.nyc.