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Tech Incubator continues momentum with $125K grant from Chautauqua Seed Fund
Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Area officials gathered Tuesday afternoon at the site of the new SUNY Fredonia Technology Incubator in downtown Dunkirk to announce the establishment of a new “Chautauqua Seed Fund.” This $125,000 fund, designed for early-stage technology businesses that will be based in the facility currently under construction at 214 Central Avenue, will provide these entities with greater access to capital during their start-up stages.

The Incubator is receiving $125,000 in funding, thanks to a new economic development grant from the CCIDA. Pictured from left inside the still-under-construction facility are Dunkirk Mayor Richard Frey, SUNY Fredonia Associate Vice President of Graduate Studies and Research Kevin Kearns, SUNY Fredonia President Dennis Hefner, Chautauqua County Executive Greg Edwards, and CCIDA Director of CEO William Daley.

Chautauqua County Executive Greg Edwards, who conceived the idea, said, “Since taking office three years ago, a key initiative of my administration has been fostering entrepreneurship and small business. My team understands that early-stage entrepreneurs need funding for growth and development of their products, services and technologies, but they are often too new or considered too risky to qualify for traditional bank financing. At the same time, entrepreneur capital needs are too small to attract venture capital and, in some cases, even angel funding. Recognizing the gap in funding availability, we created the 'Chautauqua Seed Fund' with an economic development grant from the County of Chautauqua Industrial Development Agency (CCIDA).”

The Chautauqua Seed Fund is a collaboration between County Executive Edwards, the Chautauqua Region Industrial Development Corporation (CRIDC), the SUNY Fredonia Technology Incubator and the City of Dunkirk. This collaboration will provide early-stage capital investments from CRIDC with strategic guidance from the incubator’s management to its entrepreneurial clients.

“We are delighted to be working with these various entities,” SUNY Fredonia President Dennis Hefner added. “This collaboration is once again showing the great progress that can be made and the high-caliber achievements that can be reached when the public and private sectors work together in pursuit of a common goal. We’re very appreciative to receive and become stewards of these funds.”

A committee comprised of representatives from each entity will choose companies to receive the funds. Investments made will be between $15,000 and $30,000. A minimum 30% equity investment will be required of the business. In most cases the investment will take the form of a convertible note that converts into stock, usually at the time of the next round of funding. The SUNY Fredonia Incubator will provide assistance to businesses completing funding applications. Those interested may contact Incubator Director Jeffrey Corcoran at (716) 363-6430.

The Chautauqua Region Industrial Development Corporation is a 501(c)3 organization and an economic development arm of the CCIDA with the same officers and Board of Directors as the CCIDA.

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