The Kauffman Foundation offers an entrepreneurial training program for workers who have lost their jobs.
It's hard to find an upside of losing your job, but Daniel Kivatinos seems to have done just that. In the aftermath of his lay-off from a small telecom company, Kivatinos started a business with his former college roommate, Michael Nusimow. Their start-up, Dr. Chrono, is a web-based medical scheduling and marketing system geared towards private health professionals.
While the friends knew that they could get along, they weren't so sure that they were cut out to be business partners. So, last fall, they signed up together for the FastTrac training program – classes sponsored by The Kauffman Foundation to help entrepreneurs navigate the process of starting-up.
FastTrac's LaunchPad programs are specifically designed to offer business development training in communities hardest hit by layoffs and the recession, like New York City. Through the classes, Kivatinos and Nusimow learned about all aspects of business-building from basic accounting rules and legal issues to staffing. When they finished the course, they were pumped up.
"The class gave me the confidence to resign from my job," says Nusimov, who was previously working at a software engineering company. "It pushed us to take the idea to the next level," he says.
Dr. Chrono has already released their first product-- a digital appointment book-- and they're working on an electronic billing feature to be rolled out in upcoming months.
Sometimes a lay-off is the impetus to get a new venture going, says Monica Doss, FastTrac program director.
"These are folks who are creative, and they've got ideas," she says. "Sometimes they just need that little bit of motivation."