Small Business Person of the Year - Trent Griffin-Braaf
Trent Griffin-Braaf is the founder and president of Tech Valley Hospitality Shuttle. He is recognized as the 2023 SBA Upstate New York Small Business Person of the Year for creatively pivoting his business during the pandemic and in 2022, increasing revenue 100 percent and adding seven employees. He also provides mentorship to minority entrepreneurs and free rides for people who are unhoused, veterans, and transporting people to and from rehab and correctional facilities. Since its founding, the company has grown from a small office to a 1,500 square foot space with a parking lot.
Trent is distinguished by his ability to identify, leverage, and develop businesses. Throughout his career, he has helped managers and owners increase company morale and bottom line by addressing team issues, offering leadership, team development, marketing and budgeting. He has a contagious enthusiasm and passionate belief in people that inspires them to become prouder, stronger, and more valuable contributors to their organizations and our local communities. The Schenectady High Alum was a part of the state champion “Patriots” basketball organization.
After serving a 4-12-year prison sentence he decided to change his life for the better. While indulging himself in his career and business, and forming two successful companies, he has been striving to be the best spouse, son, brother, friend, and father.
Trent Griffin-Braaf is a member of many boards and organizations in his community. He serves as vice president of the Community Fathers Board in Schenectady, and is on the boards of The Salvation Army, the Community Loan Fund of the Capital Region, the Capital Region Food Program, the Capital Region Chamber and the Trinity Alliance of the Capital Region. He serves on the Capital District Transportation Committee and committees for an ex-offender job fair in the Capital Region and the Albany DA that looks at cases and provides alternatives for jail or prison.
Tech Valley Hospitality Shuttle received an SBA Microloan in 2020 from Pursuit to refinance existing debt and fund working capital, helping the business retain employees.