Dominican University New York, M&T Bank, and BRIDGES Collaborate to Drive Entrepreneurship and Economic Growth in the Lower Hudson Valley

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Education, Banking and Nonprofit Team Up To Create An Incubator To Invest In Future Entrepreneurs


Dominican University New York, M&T Bank, and BRIDGES have joined forces to prepare aspiring entrepreneurs with a three-part initiative that provides tools and resources to thrive in today’s competitive business landscape.

“We are thrilled to partner with M&T and Dominican University to bring a strong small business development curriculum to a broad group of aspiring entrepreneurs, and specifically to those representing populations that would benefit most from mentorship and compassionate counsel,” said Carlos Martinez, CEO of BRIDGES. BRIDGES provides resources for people with a variety of disabilities and works to overcome barriers, stigma, indifference, and the quiet prejudice of low expectations.

Part One: “Unlocking Small Business Potential” Seminar

Kicking off the initiative is an informative half-day seminar “Unlocking Small Business Potential” that will be held at Dominican University on Friday, September 8. It is designed to equip individuals with the essential knowledge, skills, and strategies to launch and grow a successful small business. Participants will learn from industry experts, successful entrepreneurs, and experienced business mentors who will share invaluable insights, practical advice, and real-world examples.

Topics will include business planning, marketing strategies, financial management, and navigating regulatory challenges. Individuals who have a disability, as well as minority, veteran, and formerly-incarcerated business owners, and those interested in starting a business are encouraged to register for this informative session, which will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Part Two: Small Business Incubator and Case Competition

Participants in the “Unlocking Small Business Potential” seminar will have the opportunity to enroll in a six-week accelerated incubator and competition. This intensive program will provide hands-on guidance and mentorship to refine their business concepts, develop business plans, and gain a deeper understanding of market dynamics. Throughout the incubator, participants will engage in a case competition, showcasing their solutions to a panel of judges consisting of industry experts and community-based investors. The competition will provide invaluable feedback; it will offer participants the opportunity to secure seed funding and other essential resources to launch their ventures.

The course will be held on Wednesday evenings (6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.) on Dominican University’s campus. Enrollment will begin in August and is limited to 40 participants, all of whom will earn credit toward an undergraduate or graduate degree. Further details are available from DUNY faculty member Matt Schiering, at

“We believe that investing in the next generation of business leaders right here in our community is a smart business decision; one that supports our mantra of ‘Doing Business Right,’” said Ivan Rudolph-Shabinsky, Director of Dominican University’s Division of Business.

Part Three: Enrollment in Dominican University’s MBA or MSOLC programs.

The initiative offers participants the opportunity to enroll in Dominican University’s prestigious AACSB accredited Master of Business Administration (MBA) or M.S. in Organizational Leadership & Communication (MSOLC) programs. These programs equip students with the advanced business knowledge, leadership skills, and global perspectives required to excel in today’s complex business environment. Through this partnership, aspiring entrepreneurs can benefit from a comprehensive academic foundation while accessing valuable networking opportunities and mentorship from industry leaders.

“M&T is committed to investing in the growth and development of emerging leaders in our community and we are proud to be able to support this program,” said Tyre Robinson, M&T Bank’s Tarrytown Regional President.

Registration for the “Unlocking Small Business Potential” seminar is open and will be capped at 100 participants. Interested individuals can visit to secure a spot. Registration is $98, with waivers for those with economic hardships and/or disabilities handled upon request.  For more information about enrolling in Dominican University’s MBA program, please visit