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Incubator receives Oishei Foundation Grant
Monday, November 03, 2014

Incubator receives Oishei Foundation Grant

The John R. Oishei Foundation of Buffalo has awarded a grant to the Fredonia Technology Incubator (FTI) to support its mission of creating jobs and cultivating entrepreneurial opportunities in the region. The $300,000 award — the second Oishei grant provided to the incubator since its inception — will provide expanded services and resources that promote the interaction of technology and the arts. The grant was jointly developed by Fredonia’s Division of Engagement and Economic Development and the Fredonia College Foundation.

“I'm grateful to the John R. Oishei Foundation for its support of the incubator,” said Fredonia President Virginia Horvath. “As a regional public university, Fredonia remains committed to partnering with businesses and spurring economic development in Chautauqua County, and this grant allows us to expand the kinds of support we can offer entrepreneurs.”

Interim Incubator Director Chuck Cornell indicted this funding will allow the incubator to better fulfill its mission of supporting start-up businesses that create jobs in the community. “In addition, it will allow us to work in the creative sector and take advantage of innovation that occurs at the intersection of technology and the arts,” he added. “The support of the John R. Oishei Foundation expands our capacity to facilitate job growth in the region.”

An unprecedented level of support is now available in the state for new business development through New York State tax incentives such as StartUP NY and the Western New York Innovation Hot Spot, and an increased level of local and regional collaboration on the development of targeted business clusters.

“Together these factors provide a fertile environment for a level of future growth and economic development that has not been available in this area for decades,” said Fredonia College Foundation Executive Director David Tiffany.

Fredonia’s academic excellence in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) disciplines, combined with the support of the Oishei Foundation, will allow the incubator to focus on both technology- and arts-based startup companies.

“Oishei Foundation funding will allow us to expand our programs and services, and attract incubator tenants,” explained Fredonia Vice President for Engagement and Economic Development Kevin Kearns. “The grant will also expand opportunities for Fredonia students and faculty.”

According to Dr. Kearns, Fredonia faculty members Susan McNamara, Peter Tucker and Alberto Rey have been instrumental in developing projects and funding proposals that support entrepreneurship in the arts and technology sectors. “We are fortunate to have faculty who go above and beyond to foster creativity and entrepreneurship on campus and in the community,” he added.

The funding will be distributed in equal sums of $100,000 in 2015, 2016 and 2017, with the latter two years requiring a dollar-for-dollar match. The incubator, through the Fredonia College Foundation, was awarded a three-year, $300,000 Oishei grant in 2009, when the incubator was under construction to support operations during its critical early stage.

“The John R. Oishei Foundation board has been impressed with the incubator’s progress made to date and the opportunity to continue to benefit the region and the university through an expanded STEAM-focused incubator,” said Oishei Foundation President Robert Gioia.

The John R. Oishei Foundation strives to be a catalyst for change to enhance economic vitality and quality of life for the Buffalo Niagara region through grantmaking, leadership and network building. The foundation was established in 1940 by John R. Oishei, founder of Trico Products Corporation.

The incubator will host an Open House on Thursday, Nov. 6 from 4 to 7 p.m. All business, campus and community members are invited to attend this event, which is free and open to the public. The open house will feature some of the current incubator businesses, university officials, and local economic development and business leaders. Tours of the building will be offered. 

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