The New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) recently introduced its International Innovators Initiative (IN2NYC), the first municipally-led program in the nation designed to connect international entrepreneurs with the partners and resources necessary to help them qualify for an H-1B visa (a special skilled-work visa exempt from quotas), thereby enabling them to found businesses in the city.
80 entrepreneurs will be chosen through a highly selective process and subsequently matched with one of seven partner City University of New York (CUNY) schools, according to the New York Times. Through these symbiotic partnerships, entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to qualify for visas and lease co-working spaces from the schools, while in exchange lending their expertise as advisors to professors and students.
Maria Torres-Springer, the president of the development corporation, touts the virtues of the program: “entrepreneurs who want to relocate in the city now have a pathway to do that, as opposed to navigating what is currently a complex system.” This program could also reap major rewards for the city’s economy; NYCEDC projects that IN2NYC could help create more than 700 jobs in its first three years alone, as Next City explains.
International entrepreneurs who have started a business overseas but are looking to relocate to NYC; those who are based in the U.S. but whose immigration status is expiring; and international student-entrepreneurs graduating from American universities are all eligible to apply. Applications open in late spring, with the program scheduled to start in autumn.
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