ALBANY, N.Y. — Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (pictured above) last week launched the Immigrant Entrepreneurship Training Series to help immigrants across New York State start and grow businesses.

More than 100 immigrant entrepreneurship seminars will be held throughout New York State in the coming year, with the first series beginning this month.

“This training program will help immigrants throughout the State open and lead thriving businesses that in turn create jobs,” Cuomo said.

“Immigrants have long been the backbone of New York’s economic success, and today we stand proud to lend a hand to those working to improve their communities and build a better life for their families.”

The training series is run jointly by the New York State Office for New Americans, Empire State Development (ESD) and the New York State Small Business Development Centers (SBDC).

These unique “on-ramping” courses will provide budding and current immigrant entrepreneurs an overview of starting, running and growing a business.

Participants will be assessed as to their level of business knowledge at the end of the seminar.

Based on their knowledge, experience and standing in the business start-up and growth process, participants are offered follow-up one-on-one business coaching sessions or a more intensive multi-week course.

At the end of either track, individuals will have completed a business plan or portfolio and gain access to various federal, state and private small business loan programs.

The first round of these trainings begins this month and requires pre-registration.

Seminar dates will be posted on the New York State Office for New Americans website.

Immigrants are vital contributors to New York State’s economy.

According to the Immigration Policy Center, in 2010, 31.2 percent of all business owners in New York State were foreign-born.

That number rises to 36 percent in the New York City metropolitan area.

These businesses had a total net business income of $12.6 billion, representing 22.6 percent of all net business income in the state.

New York’s immigrants are responsible for $229 billion in annual economic output.

“New York State has always been a magnet for talented and hardworking individuals in search of prosperity,” said New York Secretary of State Cesar A. Perales.

“By providing New Americans with the tools and guidance they need to start their own businesses, we are investing in a group of entrepreneurs who will make vital economic contributions to our state.”

Cuomo established the New York State Office for New Americans to assist newcomers in the state who are eager to contribute to our economy and become part of the family of New York.

The cornerstone of the Office is the creation of a network of 27 neighborhood-based Opportunity Centers throughout the state to support New Americans to learn English, become naturalized U.S. citizens, receive Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, and receive free legal advice and other opportunities.

More than 34,000 immigrants were assisted by the Office for New Americans during its first year of operations.

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