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Business Technology Incubator Receives $300,000 Oishei Foundation Grant

Summer 2009--The SUNY Fredonia Business Technology Incubator, a development project to advance economic growth in Western New York from its base in downtown Dunkirk, has been awarded a $300,000 “challenge grant” from The John R. Oishei Foundation.

“Our mission statement directs the Foundation to be a catalyst for change to enhance the economic vitality for the Buffalo Niagara region,” stated Robert D. Gioia, President of The John R. Oishei Foundation. “The Fredonia Technology Incubator project was made-to-order for our mission and fits it perfectly. We congratulate SUNY Fredonia for taking a leadership role in this project in which we are pleased to be a partner.”

The incubator is slated to receive an annual appropriation of $100,000 for three years from the foundation, based in Buffalo, provided that SUNY Fredonia successfully matches that gift — dollar for dollar — from businesses, alumni and friends in each of the next three years.

The two-story facility is under construction in the heart of Dunkirk’s business district on Central Avenue. Its mission is to facilitate the successful development of technology-based start-up and spin-off companies by providing entrepreneurs with targeted resources and shared, common business functions such as accounting, marketing and legal services. Once economically viable and capable of operating on their own, these companies will create jobs, revitalize neighborhoods and strengthen regional economies. Ground was broken in October 2008 for the $6 million facility that will open this fall. The incubator currently operates in leased space.

“The Oishei grant represents a tremendous opportunity for this project and our campus,” President Dennis Hefner said. “Not only will it supply a critical means of funding, it also provides a vehicle through which we can more effectively reach out to existing businesses and regional leaders, which should enhance our engagement with the Western New York community and increase the awareness of this project and its goals.”

Welcomed by business and community leaders, the incubator has been hailed in the local media as a sign of progress in an era of economic uncertainty.

Operating as a one-stop shop, the incubator will provide business development, mentoring and space for start-up technology companies committed to Western New York. The 21,000-square-foot facility will be able to accommodate up to 30 companies which will utilize services and space for up to three years, and then relocate. Upon graduating from the incubator, these businesses will be guided to permanently settle in Western New York.

As an extension of SUNY Fredonia, the incubator will benefit from the resources, support services and business expertise of the university as well, which already offers strong technology programs in computer science, computer animation, visual arts and new media, communication and the sciences.

onversely, SUNY Fredonia students will gain valuable, real-world experience through internships and research-oriented programs which the incubator will provide. As the first true extension of SUNY Fredonia’s main Central Avenue campus in the village of Fredonia, the incubator represents President Hefner’s strategic vision for civic engagement, underscoring a mission that public universities serve the needs of the region and provide economic development activities.

“With an extensive alumni base of more than 40,000 graduates located around the world, Fredonia has many graduates interested in moving back to the Chautauqua region and taking a leadership role in this community,” Dr. Hefner explained. “A project like this may entice them to make that dream a reality.”
The John R. Oishei Foundation strives to be a catalyst for change to enhance economic vitality and the quality of life for the Buffalo Niagara Region. The foundation was established in 1940 by John R. Oishei, the founder of Trico Products Corporation.

To learn more, visit www.oisheifdt.org.
And to learn more about the incubator, visit www.fredonia.edu/incubator.
 

posted @ Wednesday, August 19, 2009 2:45 PM by Christine Davis Mantai

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