Up Start is a collaborative business development program that connects local, service based businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs to the tools and networks that help them thrive. Up Start offers introductory classes on business plan creation, business structure and assistance with launch – specifically focused on the needs of disadvantaged entrepreneurs. High-performing program participants located in our target neighborhoods in the Northside and Southside of Syracuse may be eligible for additional technical assistance and coaching.

Up Start brings together the collective resources of existing business organizations and community partners to support entrepreneurs. Each Up Start entrepreneur and business owner works with a program adviser to build a personalized path to successful business ownership and expansion.


Training: Start It! Business Basics Class

Up Start’s 12-session training program, the Start It! Business Basics Class, helps entrepreneurs build skills and accumulate the tools they need to draft a comprehensive business plan that serves as the road map for launching their own business or refining their business model. Our core curriculum is supplemented by sessions with subject matter experts in the fields of legal assistance, finance and credit, operations, and marketing. By the conclusion of the class, participants have the knowledge and tools necessary to craft actionable plans to support the launch and growth of their business.

Please click the button to check eligibility, and a member of our staff will be in touch.


Technical Assistance

High-performing program participants gain access to technical assistance and professional service providers through Up Start’s Resource Pool, a group ranging from graphic designers, accountants, interior designers and product manufacturers, to any other resource the entrepreneur identifies in their action plans as needed to advance their business. Up Start also leverages CenterState CEO business membership to connect entrepreneurs and business owners in the program to mentors from within their industry or to provide particular subject matter expertise.


Program participants engaged in Technical Assistance with our staff may be eligible for various loan funds that cater to the needs of small business owners. These include CenterState CEO’s Growth + Equity Fund, the Up Start Loan Fund at Cooperative Federal Credit Union, low-interest loans through the Syracuse Economic Development Corporation, and other loan products available through reputable and mission-aligned lenders in our community. While the terms and criteria will vary depending on the business and the capital source, we work with the entrepreneur to ensure that pre- and post-loan Technical Assistance helps to mitigate risk factors and provide a solid financial foundation for the business’ growth.

Real Estate

Our staff works with community partners located in the Northside and Southside neighborhoods of Syracuse to identify key properties and develop a property inventory for entrepreneur placement. Based on the business plan developed in the program, entrepreneurs select the appropriate space and location to best reach their market. CenterState CEO staff can help mobilize resources and supports to move entrepreneurs in to those key properties, secure funds to develop and design the space, negotiate a benevolent lease or purchase contract, and provide the follow-on technical assistance to market the new business to customers.


For more information contact:


Andrew Obernesser

Director of Community Investment

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Erik Jankowski

Small Business Manager

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