FastTrac Leading to Start-ups and Job Creation Across the Nation
Kauffman FastTrac programs in New York and Michigan are leading to new business starts – and the jobs that come along with them. Following an intense entrepreneurial education program initiated by Mayor Michael Bloomberg in March 2009, 1,000 NYC entrepreneurs have graduated the program. According to SUNY’s Levin Institute, those graduates have created 300 new jobs.
Among New York City’s FastTrac NewVenture alumni, 33 percent launched their business within six months of completing the program. More than 88 percent of alumni are continuing to pursue their business ideas. Among the FastTrac GrowthVenture alumni, 54 percent grew their business within six months of completing the program, and 92 percent continue working to grow their businesses.
“New York City’s economic recovery and sustainable growth largely depends on the success of small businesses. Providing the FastTrac program, through our partnership with the Kauffman Foundation and Levin Institute, has proved immensely helpful to New Yorkers looking to either start or expand their business,” said Robert Walsh, Commissioner of the Department of Small Business Services. “When we launched FastTrac in New York, our goal was to give 1,000 aspiring and existing New York entrepreneurs the tools and skills to start and expand their businesses, and today we’re proud to be celebrating this milestone. This program has proven results, and we look forward to seeing its continued success.”
“For more than 17 years, FastTrac courseware has helped more than 300,000 entrepreneurs nationwide to start and grow companies,” said Alana Muller, president, Kauffman FastTrac. “We welcome the 1,000+ graduates of the NYC SBS/Levin Institute program into our entrepreneurial ecosystem. These FastTrac alumni join a powerful network of entrepreneurs, innovators, investors, researchers and others who, together, are ensuring the long-term success and economic viability of our country.”
In addition to the success seen in New York City, other cities and states also offered the Kauffman FastTrac program to promote the start-up of new businesses and job creation in the midst of the recession. In 2009, Michigan launched a statewide initiative in which the FastTrac program was offered by the Michigan Small Business and Technology Development Centers (SBTDC). The program was designed for workers who had lost their jobs or entrepreneurs whose small businesses were challenged by the downturn in the economy. The FastTrac NewVenture program made a positive impact in Michigan throughout 2010: Michigan SBTDC trained 827 FastTrac NewVenture participants and helped to start more than 560 businesses -- a large percentage were FastTrac NewVenture participants. Michigan SBTDC FastTrac NewVenture participants created 242 jobs and retained 143 jobs. Michigan SBTDC helped raise $3,088,387 capital for FastTrac NewVenture participants.
“Michigan’s entrepreneurs and small business owners are key factors to having thriving entrepreneurial activity in Michigan’s economic recovery statewide,” said Carol Lopucki, Michigan’s SBTDC state director. “As one critical step to help encourage new business start-ups, the MI-SBTDC developed the first statewide effort in 2009 to advance entrepreneurship, create new businesses and new jobs through FastTrac NewVenture.”
In Charlotte, NC -- another state hard hit by the recession -- the NC Commission on Workforce Development, the Community College Small Business Center Network and SBTDC offered the FastTrac programs for displaced workers who wanted to start their own business. In 2009, 176 unemployed or underemployed residents participated in the program, and 86 percent of those participating completed FastTrac NewVenture. Six months after the programs ended, a survey of respondents indicated that 31 percent reported being in business. Another 16 percent had completed some sales and were still pursuing their business plans, and 36 percent had not yet achieved sales, but were still working to get their business started. Employment was the primary goal of this initiative, and nearly half were working more than 20 hours a week in their business. Another 20 percent reported hiring other workers, most often on a part-time basis. Hiring part-time help, even on a contract basis, is often considered a leading indicator of future employment tendencies. Some 32 percent also anticipated hiring more staff, at least on a part-time basis, within the next 12 months.
According to Kauffman Foundation research, from 1980-2004, firms less than five years old accounted for all net job growth in the United States. Understanding that job growth comes from new firms, rather than older companies, points to the importance of programs like FastTrac, which help emerging and existing entrepreneurs get the skills and education they need to launch and grow a business successfully. Kauffman research also indicates that more than half of the companies on the 2009 Fortune 500 List were launched during a recession or bear market, along with nearly half of the firms on the 2008 Inc. list of America’s fastest growing companies.