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The Tech Garden

Up Start Kicks Off Relaunch With New Training Program

Up Start, CenterState CEO’s unique business and neighborhood development program to empower urban and minority entrepreneurs to start businesses, has adapted a national model to scale its pilot. The program brings together new collaborators and more comprehensive and innovative components to serve a greater number of aspiring and existing business owners.

The relaunched Up Start program includes a new training component, Start It!, which began in April welcoming 15 aspiring entrepreneurs to The Tech Garden for 12 weekly sessions. Participants will learn the essentials of starting a business such as creating a business plan, learning operations and accounting skills, marketing and customer acquisitions.

Up Start helps develop businesses within low-income neighborhoods and underrepresented communities, and brings together the collective resources of existing business organizations and community partners, including the Upstate Minority Economic Alliance, Cooperative Federal Credit Union, Home HeadQuarters and others. It also bridges the work of CenterState CEO’s Economic Inclusion and Innovation and Entrepreneurship portfolios to reach an even broader group of entrepreneurs.

Up Start helped establish 13 businesses in its pilot phase, including Aloha Japanese Bento Express restaurant and That’s What’s Up food truck, both based in Syracuse. Up Start is poised for further expansion in 2016, and is supported by the Onondaga Civic Development Corporation, Bank of America and the City of Syracuse.

To learn more about Up Start, contact Dan Cowen, at dcowen@centerstateceo.com.

Entrepreneur Curtis Washington successfully completed the Up Start pilot program to launch his That’s What’s Up food truck and catering business. Look for his “comfort food with a twist” around Syracuse this summer.

Zaw Thin Nyein (third from right) opened Aloha Japanese Bento Express restaurant in downtown Syracuse in 2015, after having received support, training and mentorship through Up Start.