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Technology Incubator welcomes new tenants, new support

 Incubator facadeU.S. Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27) met with new tenants of the SUNY Fredonia Technology Incubator in May as part of an update on one of the most creative economic development initiatives in Western New York. Congressman Higgins also took the opportunity to announce $150,000 in funding for the Incubator, which comes in addition to the $147,500 allocated previously. 

The $6 million facility opened in late 2009, thanks in part to the much-needed federal funds Congressman Higgins helped secure. Less than five months later, it was already making a true impact on the region’s business landscape. 

View photo gallery of Incubator grand opening>>

“Western New York is well positioned to grow jobs that embrace innovation and, with resources like this incubator, we are providing support for tomorrow’s thriving small businesses,” Congressman Higgins said. “After only a few months of full operation, this new facility, through the great collaborative effort of SUNY Fredonia and the City of Dunkirk, is already producing results and providing great hope for our economic future.” 

Two of the latest incubator success stories were introduced as examples of this transformation, including one company that has returned to Western New York to be a part of it. 

More news stories on the Incubator >>

Advanced Conservation Technology (ACT) is a high-tech supplier of environmentally conscious building materials which result in long-term energy savings and other sustainable benefits. Its founders – two brothers who are Dunkirk natives – have relocated their business from Philadelphia. Better still, ACT brings a manufacturing element to the region, which means new potential jobs at a variety of levels. 

The affiliation with SUNY Fredonia is particularly attractive to these expatriates, whose products have been concepted and tested via partnerships with some of the top university research centers in the Northeast. Equally enticing was the Western New York climate – especially the winters, which allow ACT to test the durability extremes of its technological parameters.

Joining ACT was another new tenant, TexTivia, headed by several local entrepreneurs who create marketing, gaming and contest products for the mobile phone industry. The company has launched its first product, making it the first client in the new incubator to take its software release to market. TexTivia distinguished itself with another first: it’s the first incubator tenant to hire an employee outside of its founding members. 

Stories like this are exactly what SUNY Fredonia President Dennis Hefner had in mind when he approached area business leaders and elected officials with this concept several years ago. 

“One of our biggest priorities is making sure our graduates have opportunities and incentives to remain right here in our region and contribute what they’ve learned to the benefit of our society,” Dr. Hefner said. “We are constantly looking for strategies to battle the ‘brain drain’ we’ve seen in recent years. Successes like this are proof that it can be done.” 

The downtown Dunkirk building – the first true extension of the Fredonia campus – is attracting interest from a variety of entrepreneurs, many of which have already signed leases and occupied space in the innovative facility. 

“We’ve already received enough applications to completely fill this place,” said Incubator Director Bob Fritzinger of the facility which can house up to 30 start-up entities. “We have a deep and exciting pipeline of companies to consider, and I’m confident that we will have many new, economically viable companies in place by year end.” 

As part of SUNY Fredonia – the third-largest four-year university in Western New York – the incubator also presents unique opportunities for the campus community as well, including internships and jobs for students, as well as research, teaching and collaboration initiatives for its faculty and staff. 

“It’s very exciting and rewarding to see this project coming to life,” Dr. Hefner added.“So much hard work went into this by so many people throughout the community. We are honored to be able to play such a pivotal role in the resurgence of the economic vitality of the region.”




posted @ Tuesday, August 31, 2010 2:04 PM by Christine Davis Mantai

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