Project organizers see the START-UP Genesee seminar series as a necessary starting point for prospective entrepreneurs to navigate what could become a complicated road to success.
But, ultimately, it is the funding component of this partnership among local and state agencies that will generate the fuel to enable new businesses to survive and thrive.
As reported on Tuesday in The Batavian, START-UP Genesee has been formed to assist all types of businesses from early stage planning to site selection, access to capital and product development or diversification.
The initiative will kick off with an open house at 3:30 p.m. Aug. 31 at the Harvester Center, 22 Masse Place, Batavia, and continue with six programs for entrepreneurs every other month starting in November.
The Batavia Development Corp. and the Genesee County Economic Development Center are two of the eight agencies that have come together to set START-UP Genesee in motion.
BDC Coordinator Julie Pacatte and GCEDC Marketing Director Rachael Tabelski believe the effort will produce results largely due to the current funding streams available to entrepreneurs.
“At the BDC, we primarily work with microenterprise – start-ups with five or fewer employees -- and we have had a lot of success with the 'Get Underway' grant program,” Pacatte said, noting that numerous start-ups have taken advantage of City of Batavia microenterprise grants.
Pacatte added that BDC directors are exploring programs that provide more programming, including mentorship and ongoing improvement strategies.
Tabelski touts the GCEDC’s commitment to entrepreneurship, calling it one of her employer’s three pillars of economic development, and she dismisses suggestions that the agency only doles out tax breaks to businesses.
“We administer loan funds, and can point someone in the direction of the Batavia Development Corporation or the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce for smaller ‘micro’ loans,” she said.
Both Pacatte and Tabelski have high praise for the START-UP NY program offered through Genesee Community College.
“As far as tax incentives, START-UP NY is basically a feeder program that helps (entrepreneurs) move in the right direction,” Pacatte said. “It’s a key component in Genesee County, thanks to the efforts of William Emm, (executive vice president of planning and institutional effectiveness), who is the architect of the GCC START-UP NY plan.”
Tabelski said that “entrepreneurship is the key to employing more people and a way to get tax incentives through START-UP NY at GCC.”
“The idea of START-UP Genesee is to find out if someone has an idea that could turn into a viable business plan and be eligible for space."
START-UP NY offers new and expanding businesses the opportunity to operate tax-free for 10 years on or near eligible university or college campuses in New York State. GCC has designated 50.6 acres of vacant land at the Batavia campus as well as 19,678 square feet of vacant space at the Dansville campus.
The college targets businesses in agribusiness, advanced manufacturing, technology, energy development (bio-digesters and advanced energy management systems) and agricultural research. For further information on the qualifications for the START-UP NY program and the application process, go to: http://startup-ny.com/
Additional grant funding is available through New York State’s Consolidated Funding Application and Empire State Development, and through programs such as 43 North in Buffalo and Hi-Tech Rochester’s Venture Challenge.
Tabelski said that Batavian Georgeann Carrubba, who came up with an invention to help those with ostomy bags, was “shepherded” by the GCEDC’s Innovation Zone, which provides access to “venture capital folks and enables businesses to scale up more quickly.”
In related developments:
Pacatte said that her agency has submitted grant requests to ESD for Ellicott Station remedial work, and received CFA funding last year to study the feasibility of subdividing the 20-acre core Harvester Park, encompassing parts of Harvester Avenue, Masse Place and Swan Street.
She said that Samuel Savarino, developer of Ellicott Station, is closing in on a couple of tenants – one to operate an entertainment/retail destination and the other two to lease office space.
The Harvester Park plan will be revealed in the next 30 days, she said, adding that owners of the land on Swan Street that has been considered as a possible site for a new City of Batavia police headquarters, had been talking about developing the parcel “before the police conversation came up.”