BINGHAMTON, NY (WIVT/WBGH) – Representatives from 8 foreign-based companies gathered in Binghamton this week to gain additional insight from Soft Landing New York.

Soft Landing is a program of the Koffman Southern Tier Incubator funded by a $1.6 million grant from the US Economic Development Administration.

Twice a year, it accepts a new cohort of international companies for a remote 3 to 4 month course on how to do business in the US.

The businesses are connected to mentors and also participate in workshops on topics such as the law, banking, intellectual property, marketing and finding partners and customers.

Soft Landing Director Elena Iankova says the hope is that once they’ve completed the program, the companies will choose to establish their American presence in Greater Binghamton.

Iankova says this was the first time the participants met in person.

“They were able to form a bond from the very beginning that they met last week. This is our ultimate goal, to bring people together and they can learn not just from the experts and mentors but also by sharing experiences among themselves.”

Dania Cifuentes is co-CEO of Guatemala-based Tu Consejeria

In 2020, it began offering virtual mental health counseling using telemedicine in Guatemala. Now, it wants to expand its client base to Mexico and Hispanics living in the US.

Cifuentes says, “We have the concern of the whole Latino community living in the U.S. Their immigration status might be regular, but they are not able to find the right emotional support here with the cultural fit that definitely makes a difference in terms of receiving psychological aid.”

So far, 27 companies have gone through the program last fall and this spring and Soft Landing is finishing its recruitment process for the coming fall.