Southside Innovation Center a Host Site for Business Growth Accelerator Program

The Southside Innovation Center, a program of Syracuse University’s Martin J. Whitman School of Management recently announced it is one of three regional centers for the New York State Division of Minority and Women’s Business Development’s Business Growth Accelerator Program (BGA).

Funded by a $150,000 New York State Empire State Development grant over a two-year period, the BGA program’s main goal is to assist businesses that are on a “growth path.”

“To be eligible to participate in the BGA program, a business must be certified as a minority or women’s business and be in business at least two years,” said El-Java Abdul-Qadir, director of the SSIC. “With at least two employees, the start-up must demonstrate annual revenues between $100,000 and $3 million, and be located in our regional area.”

So far, according to Abdul-Qadir, 21 individuals are enrolled in the 18-month training program, which will educate the small businesses on topics, such as marketing, finance, accounting and contracting. The BGA program also will provide intensive one-on-one counseling and support to each participating business.

“It’s a unique program,” said Abdul-Qadir. “Participants will have access to information, capital and networking opportunities to help them with ‘growing pains’ typically experienced within the first few years of a start-up.”

“El-Java’s mentorship and guidance has been invaluable,” said Antwan Lockhart, managing member of AML Trucking Company, LLC, one of the BGA program participants. “The networks and relationships, certifications and licenses we have been able to obtain has strengthened our foundation and we have growth to look forward to.”

The SSIC is part of the Whitman School’s Falcone Center for Entrepreneurship, the cornerstone of Whitman’s top-ranked Entrepreneurship and Emerging Enterprises program, helping to facilitate entrepreneurial activity on campus, as well as across local and regional communities. A recipient of the NASDAQ Center of Entrepreneurial Excellence award, the Falcone Center provides valuable entrepreneurial resources through the Couri Hatchery business incubator, the WISE (Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship) Business Center and veteran’s entrepreneurship training, such as the Barnes Family Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV) program.

Kerri Howell

Kerri is director of communications and media relations for the Whitman School. She is responsible for managing all internal and external communications with students, faculty, staff, alumni, members of the business community and other key stakeholders.After receiving her B.A. from State University of New York at Geneseo, she went on to earn her M.S. in communications management from Syracuse’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, where she has served as an adjunct professor in the public relations department since 2004.