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LIU Post gets $5 million gift to expand business incubator

Kevin Schiesz, CEO of uniform company eParel, shows

Kevin Schiesz, CEO of uniform company eParel, shows samples to billionaire T. Denny Sanford and LIU president Kimberly R. Cline at a campus business incubator named for Sanford on Friday, May 5, 2017. Credit: Steve Pfost

LIU Post will quadruple the size of its incubator for technology startups with help from a billionaire and New York State, officials announced yesterday.

The incubator, located in a former Gold Coast mansion on the Brookville campus, will be expanded by 12,000 square feet. It currently is about 4,000 square feet and is part of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s Start-Up NY tax-free zones program.

The expansion is being aided by a $5 million gift from billionaire T. Denny Sanford of South Dakota, who owns First Premier Bank, an issuer of credit cards for high-risk borrowers, and is a donor to many educational and health care causes.

Empire State Development, the state’s primary business-aid agency, is providing $500,000 for the expanded incubator, which is in Bush-Brown Hall.

LIU president Kimberly R. Cline said yesterday the incubator will be a place of “experiential learning for students beyond what we teach them in the classroom. . . . They will be better prepared for their next step, whether it’s working for a company or starting their own business.”

She also said LIU hopes to expand its Start-Up NY space within the incubator. Participants in Start-Up NY do not pay state and local taxes for up to 10 years, and their new employees pay no state income tax for as long as 10 years.

Two of the four current incubator tenants, including employee uniforms supplier eParel LLC, are in Start-Up NY.

The incubator was renamed the T. Denny Sanford Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute.

Sanford spoke to about a dozen aspiring student entrepreneurs, telling them the key to success “is not how smart you are, it’s how smart you hire.”

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