Industry City (IC) cut the ribbon to its newest facility, the Veterans Future Lab, a state-of-the-art facility from the NYU Tandon School of Engineering that will provide support to start-up companies founded by United States military veterans.
The space’s opening, which took place on Monday, November 13, at 87 35th Street, featured elected officials, veterans, and IC and NYU representatives, and included a tour of the facility, which features 3D printers and other new materials in the start-up hub.
“This is another piece of building the ecosystem around innovation and manufacturing, and we are delighted to have NYU Tandon embedded in the Industry City campus,” President and CEO of IC Andrew Kimball told this paper, adding that the new facility will benefit many Sunset residents. “The equipment that they have here is not just going to be available to veteran entrepreneurs, but also Industry City tenants to come and use,” he said. “They’re going to run important programming with the local community, particular local schools, in terms of creating access to this equipment as well.”
“This is a great opportunity for the community because veterans in this area will find that they have access to a world-class educational institution, NYU’s School of Engineering, but also access to mentors and people who can help them find capital and ways to commercialize their product and take it to market,” added Lieutenant Governor of New York Kathy Hochul. “Ultimately, when they’re successful they’ll be hiring people, hopefully from this very community. That’s why people should be excited about [this project that’s] not just paying back a debt we owe to our veterans but also is good for the local economy.”
NYU Tandon will offer full scholarships to veterans who enroll in “A Bridge to Tandon,” a program that prepares those with non-engineering degrees for master’s degree in select fields.
“This is a very happy day to be celebrating,” said Andrew Hamilton, president of NYU. “This partnership of an educational institution NYU Tandon School of Engineering, the city of Brooklyn, the state of New York and Barclays, it’s just a very special connection. We all see that when we work together, great things happen and I think for me, being with all of you celebrating the opening of the Veterans Future Lab is a special moment on a special weekend.
“This (lab) is the confluence of an educational influence at NYU which in the business of giving people the foundation of their lives,” he went on. “We teach them to think critically and analytically, whether it is 18-year-old freshmen or whether it is veterans returning from service, then to use that to build their lives and careers. The opportunities we have help them get the foundation and become part of the entrepreneurial energy that is taking place in the city. It is an educational institution but it’s also a commitment to innovation in Brooklyn.”
Barclays will further the Veterans Future Lab by leveraging the skills and expertise of its senior leaders, according to CEO Jes Staley.
“I can’t think of a greater event than bringing together government, education and a bank to do something that is deeply impactful and meaningful to the greatest citizens in our country, those that put their lives at risk, our veterans. Joining this partnership a deep honor,” Staley said. “There is no community that is more deserving of this entrepreneurship. This is the first of its kind in the country and hopefully there will be many more to follow. We have an opportunity to change the lives and give a real direction to our returning veterans.”
Veteran Tim Lawton stressed the benefits to someone like him, who has ventured into entrepreneurship after a stint with the military.
“The more I thought about it, the more I realized how similar my experiences actually were,” he said. “I spent the majority of my five and a half years on duty between Iraq and Afghanistan, on four combat tours.
“Now as a co-founder of Frontier 7 [a tech innovation company], not much has changed,” he went on. “The toughest thing for veterans is the transition of that mindset and skill set and I know that was the toughest thing for me in my journey. Programs and organizations that teach veterans that their experience are transferable, that their mindset and skill set do have applications in a totally different environment where seemingly there is not a lot of overlap, help by answering questions you don’t even know you should be asking. I know it will do that for many veterans.”