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Alumni surveyed for business start-ups in high-tech incubator
Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Roughly 7,000 alumni of the State University of New York at Fredonia are being polled to determine their interest in starting businesses in the High Tech Incubator slated for construction in the city of Dunkirk.

The Alumni Affairs Office sent the 10-question survey to graduates of its programs in business, economics, computer science, biology, chemistry, physics, geosciences, media arts, graphic arts, communication and sound recording technology. The survey went to 2,500 people who live outside New York State.


Take the survey now!

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SUNY Fredonia alumni are among those eligible to use the $3-million facility for entrepreneurial activities in such areas as software development, biotechnology studies, environmental technologies, and research and development.

“The focus of the incubator will initially be on computer science and media arts, but also may include tech-focused applications from business, communication, the natural sciences and other majors that have high-tech applications,” said Dr. Leonard Faulk, director of the SUNY Fredonia Center for Rural Regional Development and Governance. “When we think of the future of our local economy, we need to start blending the manufacturing base with more high-tech businesses. There are some now, but we need more of this sort of development. We want to assist the process, and grow that sector of the economy.”

Construction is expected to begin this year on the two-story structure, which will be situated in Dunkirk’s Empire Zone. A suitable site is currently being sought. Businesses in one of New York State’s 72 Empire Zones are eligible for a range of tax benefits, including tax reduction credits, real property tax credits, sales tax exemptions, wage tax credits, and utility rate reductions, among others. The tax benefits can reduce a company's tax liability to as little as zero

The SUNY Fredonia Center for Rural Regional Development and Governance hatched its plan for a high-tech business incubator in 2003 and recently received $3 million in funding from the New York State Legislature to pursue a site in the Dunkirk waterfront district. The location will be announced once it passes state review.

The incubator will create entrepreneurial, employment and internship opportunities for SUNY Fredonia graduates and students, while simultaneously fostering job creation and new business formation in Chautauqua County. All entrepreneur applicants will be considered.

“We will welcome all alumni or local residents with business plans in the high-tech sector,” Dr. Faulk said. “We can combine the resources of the university, its students and its faculty with our ability to give assistance throughout the entrepreneurial process. The incubator will provide services essential to successful business development in the high-tech market.”

The survey is available online and can be answered by any local entrepreneurs who may be interested in starting a high-tech business in Chautauqua County.

Similar business incubators have proven to be worthwhile investments throughout the United States. According to recent statistics, 87 percent of all firms that graduate from an incubator remain in business today, compared to over 50 percent of other startups that fail in the first five years. Each dollar invested in an incubator has the potential to create $30 in local tax revenue, and 84 percent of individuals who grow their business through the incubator stay in the same community.

“This is an exciting opportunity for the region,” said Dr. Faulk. “We look forward to the success of this project.”

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State University of New York at Fredonia