SUNY Fredonia President Dennis L. Hefner (pictured below) gave the campus and Dunkirk-Fredonia communities their first glimpse of the highly anticipated SUNY Fredonia Technology Incubator on Thursday, Jan. 31.
At a presentation held in the Williams Center, he enthusiastically reviewed several design boards for the first of potentially three buildings, developed by project designer JCJ Architects of Hartford, Conn., for the planned 21,000-square-foot, two-story facility.
The Incubator, to be located on a vacant parcel of land at 214 Central Avenue in the City of Dunkirk, will be able to support up to 31 start-up companies.
Visit incubator website.
Visit photo gallery of presentation.
An architectural image of campus
President Hefner said he expects construction to begin this summer, with a completion date targeted for sometime in 2009. “The architects went to great lengths to design a building that will be highly functional and efficient for its tenants,” President Hefner said. “But at our urging, they incorporated many of the architectural characteristics of our campus as well, including a mix of brick work and pre-cast concrete, along with glass features to enhance its entrance. After all, this is a true extension of our main campus, and although it is two miles down the road, we want to make that connection very clear.”
Space for start-up companies
The project will offer start-up companies within technology sectors assistance and access to a wide range of services, including technology-oriented infrastructure, business planning, legal, marketing, finance and accounting consulting, mentoring, conference room access and other shared services. Its goal is to help entrepreneurs start successful technology-based businesses with strong growth potential that are committed to remaining in Western New York.
President Hefner also hopes to underscore this expansion with new signage on the New York State Thruway as well as enhanced signage at the intersection of Vineyard Drive and Central Avenue, to better highlight both the main and incubator campuses.
“This is an unprecedented opportunity for heightened economic development within our region,” President Hefner added, “and we are absolutely delighted to play such a pivotal role in this influential project.” A recent study by Inc. Magazine showed that only 20 percent of start-up companies survived their first five years in existence. However, when affiliated with a university incubator, their survival rate vaults to 87 percent. “Whenever you have the ability to literally turn a ratio like that on its head,” he continued, “you have an extremely effective tool that can make a tremendous impact within the community.”
There will also be opportunities for the SUNY Fredonia community to contribute to the incubator’s tenants, ranging from faculty-sponsored research and collaboration to student internships.
No alumni status is needed for tenant consideration, as the project is a partnership between SUNY Fredonia, the City of Dunkirk, Chautauqua County and the State of New York.
Financing for the construction of the new facility was arranged for by State Senator Cathy Young and State Assemblyman Bill Parment.
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