CapNY Entrepreneur Resources

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The Capital Region is rich with resources for today’s budding entrepreneurs and business owners. 

There are so many potential resources that it can feel tricky knowing where to start.  As an ever-growing millennial business owner, I am interested and search for the same value you are. When I put together this list, I wanted to ensure that each and every one of the resources I’ve put together was responsive and actionable. 

Whether you’re looking to join the local community of business owners or kickstart your own project, these CapNY entrepreneur resources are a perfect way to start. Each organization included on this list responded to inquiries in a timely and friendly manner. You should have a similar experience. 

1. One Million Cups: Albany County

What do they do?

The national organization of One Million Cups is based on the idea that support, encouragement, and feedback over a cup of coffee is what most young entrepreneurs need. There are chapters that host these events all over the country. The Albany chapter hosts networking events on selected Wednesdays at 9am on Zoom and Facebook Live. These meetings include a presentation by a selected speaker, a discussion and Q&A. These will remain remote until further notice due to COVID-19. 

How can you work with them?

There are two ways to work with the local chapter. Besides attending the local meeting, the chapter also offers coaching to its presenters.

What free and paid services do they offer?

All of the services offered by One Million Cups are free. These include the meetings and coaching participants might see. 

Do they work with Millennials and Gen Z? What do they do to help? 

Yes, and the primary contact for the organization, Dave MacDonald, says that the organization is looking to include more millennials. There are a couple of millennials currently in the organization. 

Examples of companies/entrepreneurs they’ve worked with

Richard Lin is a millennial who is part of the local 1 Million Cups leadership team. He also recruits and coaches presenters, runs the weekly meetings, provides feedback and connects individuals within the meetup. 

Visit their website and Facebook for more.

2. Business Improvement Districts (BID): Albany, Rensselaer, Warren Counties

What do they do?

Business improvement districts are organizations that aid businesses by offering a variety of support services. While the original idea of BIDs was likely centered on brick and mortar business, today’s BIDs are integrated with incubators, coworking spaces, mentoring and more for today’s HQ-less solopreneurs.  

During the events of 2020, the ways these organizations aided businesses changed in many ways. For example, the Central Ave BID repaired over 30 storefronts on Central Ave after more than 40 storefronts were damaged in June.

How can someone work with them?

If you’re looking for extra support for either a brick and mortar business, or another business, try your local BID. They are loaded with support mechanisms and community connections to help young entrepreneurs get what they need.  

What free and paid services do they offer? 

When I asked one board member what services the BID offered, he told me, “Whatever is necessary.” Here some of the resources offered by the local BIDs:  

  • 7 day a week cleaning services for properties in that area 
  • Designated ServSafe training 
  • Accounting and booking lessons 
  • Mentor pool 
  • Cohorts 
  • Customized training for main street businesses  
  • Trade training  
  • Scholarships 
  • University incubator programs
Do they work with Millennials and Gen Z? What do they do to help?  

Yes! Local BIDs work with all generations, including those that come from local colleges and universities. I reached out to most of the Capital Region’s BIDs when working on this article and I found most highly responsive and helpful.  

Director of the Central Ave BID Anthony Capece says the organizations want to “help entrepreneurs before they get in over their head.”  We all know that can happen fast, so don’t wait to reach out.

Who is the main contact for entrepreneurs?  What is the best way to reach them?  

It depends on which BID you’re attempting to reach. Here are some of the local BIDs that were responsive to my inquiries: 

In addition, here are the links to the Downtown Troy BID (Rensselaer County) and Downtown Glens Falls BID (Warren County)

3. Capital Region Chamber: Albany, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady Counties

What do they do?

The Capital Region Chamber provides leadership and resources to help grow member businesses and the local economy. They also encourage a strong community by connecting members to people, businesses, and issues important for business success. 

What free and paid services do they offer? 

There’s a membership fee associated with joining. The organization’s rates aren’t listed on its website, so I asked about them. Taryn Farewell, Marketing Manager at the Capital Region Chamber responded, “We don’t publish rates on our website because there are multiple variables in determining one’s membership investment (i.e. if it’s a restaurant it’s based upon the number of seats).” You can fill out this form to learn more.  

There are a number of complementary and paid programs for members. There are also some programs for non-members. Some of the programs include: 

  • Entrepreneur Boot Camp 
  • BusinessU professional development programs 
  • Tech Valley Young Professionals Network  
  • Webinars – these were paid but are currently free due to COVID-19
Do they work with Millennials and Gen Z? What do they do to help? 

Yes. Anyone is welcome to join the Capital Region Chamber. 

The Entrepreneur Boot Camp program is designed to assist younger entrepreneurs on the path toward running their own businesses. Registration opened for that program on February 3, 2021.  Tuition for the program cis $550 and there are scholarships available for veterans.

More than 50 different instructors teach in this program. Students a have the opportunity to win more than $3k in grants for their business. 

Interested? Email Laura Mann or call 518-431-1430 for more information.

Written by: Acadia Otlowski