Apex is an entrepreneurship training program offered at New York University for veterans, military spouses, service members and Defense Department employees. The year-long program includes mentoring and networking opportunities, free office space and free housing.
While free housing at nearby Army base Fort Hamilton does not include family members, it is considered an added perk to allow veteran entrepreneurs from other parts of the country to participate in the program.
Interested veteran entrepreneurs may now apply for the next batch of Apex that will run from July to the following summer. The program was launched in 2017 with the average age of its 22 startups being 18 months.
Terry Kim, a Marine Corps veteran, said Apex had provided critical support to Heleot, his web platform company. Kim said that the free office space provided him not only with a distraction-free environment but also the motivation to work harder from working with fellow entrepreneurs.
Kim also got pro bono legal help from the Orrick law firm, accounting help from PwC, Amazon Web Services credits and other professional services.
Kurt Becker, the vice dean for research, innovation and entrepreneurship of New York University Tandon School of Engineering shared that Apex grew out of a 12-week training program for veteran entrepreneurs in 2015 until it became a longer “incubator” program designed for entrepreneurs who had put their business ideas and training on hold while serving in the military.
He said that while the veterans learned discipline, integrity and a “never quit ethos” from the military, they may have lost out on certain things such as access to the right network and the education and training to be a master or expert of the products or services their businesses provide.
Kurt Becker said that the Apex program exists to close the gap in the veteran’s skills to run a business. And free housing will definitely benefit veteran entrepreneurs who want to start their own businesses, but who don’t live in New York and don’t know about Apex.