Entrepreneurial Assistance Program
The Entrepreneurial Assistance Program (EAP) establishes Entrepreneurial Assistance Centers in local communities to provide instruction, training, technical assistance and support services to individuals who have recently started their own business or are interested in starting a business.
Through EAP Centers located strategically throughout New York State, the Entrepreneurial Assistance Program assists new and aspiring entrepreneurs in developing basic business management skills, refining business concepts, devising early-stage marketing plans, and obtaining business financing.
A typical EAP center provides the following in-depth services, including counseling and assistance on:
- The feasibility of starting a business
- Refining a business concept and business plan
- Completing MWBE Certification Applications
- Business Mentor NY, a web-based volunteer mentor platform
- Established management principles and practices
- Product development and marketing
- Exporting, contract procurement and licensing
- Identifying and accessing capital and credit
- Access to business support networks
- Ongoing and continued technical assistance to program graduates including linkages to other small business services
EAP centers have the following effects on their communities:
- Increase in business ownership among minorities and women
- Minority and women-owned start-ups transitioning to small-growth companies
- Increased access to financing and expanded sales by minority and women-owned firms
- Creation of private-sector jobs.
An EAP center must provide the following program services:
- Enterprise Formation Assistance: One 60-hour entrepreneurship course supplemented by a minimum of 15 hours of intensive technical assistance to help new entrepreneurs complete business plans and to help them develop a viable business. Technical assistance should encompass refinement of business concept, break-even analysis and financial management, and marketing plans and market development.
- Enterprise Expansion Assistance: Centers shall maintain ongoing relationships with clients who have taken the entrepreneurship course in order to assist those new businesses to become small-growth companies. Enterprise expansion technical assistance shall include the following:
- Working capital and cash flow management
- General management skills
- New market development
- Hiring and managing employees
- Managing growth
- Accessing credit and capital
The following types of organizations are eligible to apply:
- A not-for-profit corporation, operated by a board of directors representing community leaders in business, education, finance and government
- A community college
- A Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES)
In addition, the applicant organization must be located in an area accessible to minority group members, women and other target populations.
How to Apply
- To apply, contact the Program Administrator at (212) 803-3234 or email EAP@esd.ny.gov
- Contracts for the creation or continued operation of an Entrepreneurial Assistance Center are awarded on a competitive basis for a 12-month period and awardees are required to provide a minimum of 1:1 matching funds either in cash or through in-kind contributions.
- Request for Proposals (RFPs) are issued and teams are assembled to review the applications based on the guidelines outlined in the RFP, as well as the applicants' experience, capacity, staffing, past performance in other programs like EAP, as well as the organization’s ability to provide financing assistance to small business owners.
- Once awarded, the centers are evaluated annually based on specific performance objectives regarding business creation and expansion, increased sales, job creation and business financing. A center’s eligibility for reimbursement of expenses and continued funding are contingent on the center achieving quarterly and annual performance objectives, along with other contractual obligations.