Following through on a key element of its 2016 Advance Saratoga priorities, Saratoga Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) has formed an Advance Saratoga Startup Advisory Team to mentor early-stage businesses.
Officials said it supports SEDC’s mission to promote, retain and grow talent, investment and job opportunities.
Local entrepreneur networks like Sharatoga Tech Talks and similar regional tech executive meet ups revealed a desire among Saratoga area entrepreneurs for access to professional expertise to help overcome challenges to business growth, said Dennis Brobston, president of SEDC.
Clarkson University’s Shipley Center for Innovation operates six business incubators and has agreed to provide support services to new entrepreneurs and early-stage project teams and companies for the Advance Saratoga startup platform.
“Talent begets talent,” said Brobston. “Inspiring, mentoring and accelerating growth companies to do business here will be enhanced by facilitating access to the world-class talent and reach of our member investors and other area experts.”
He added, “A byproduct of our successful record of economic growth has been Saratoga being an even more desirable area to live, work and play. Now we need to listen to and support area entrepreneurs while attracting more innovators so the next generation of opportunities happen here.”
The SEDC Advisory Team network, in conjunction with the Shipley Center leadership, will facilitate consultation with entrepreneurs to help them through growth challenges, be better prepared for the marketplace and to explore pathways to business expansion or investment.
“Our experience shows that inspiring more interested entrepreneurs to evaluate their business concepts reveals strategic vision and desirable capabilities to drive projects forward,” said Matt Draper, executive director of the Shipley Center at Clarkson. “One of the most rewarding elements of serving entrepreneurs is helping early stage project teams recognize how to think about their business opportunity, to prepare for relevant help, and to benefit from pursuing ideas that didn’t work.
“We have to remove the scarlet letter of failure. The experience of pursuing your own business with support of others who have struggled through it helps a region recycle incredible talent back into its workforce. That’s been a hallmark of Silicon Valley’s success. We are excited to support SEDC and the broader community to realize these benefits for new and existing business teams.”
“We’re thankful to SEDC for making this happen and we’re excited about being involved,” said Brian Corrigan, founder of MadGlory in Saratoga Springs.
The team at MadGlory has been creating game services since the first console game came online. They have launch experience on almost every major gaming console, PC and mobile device.
“Those of us who have been through the start-up peaks and valleys know how important access to experienced support networks can be to our success” said Corrigan.
SEDC will work through area entrepreneur networks and student organizations in the coming weeks to develop an official name for the initiative.
Brobston said the Advance Saratoga Startup Platform was shaped over the course of 2016, culminating in an initial teaming agreement with Clarkson’s Shipley Center. With the announcement of the professional team, SEDC is taking the next step toward launching its initial virtual platform to grow new businesses.
The official premier of its web-based portal and acceptance of entrepreneur applicants will occur in March.
The initial members of the Advance Saratoga Startup Advisory Team are: Jeff Schwartz, partner, Phillips Lytle; Christopher Thompson, founder, WorkOrder.es; Corrigan; Clarke Foley, director of operations, MadGlory; Michael Relyea, managing partner, Amanus Group Consulting; Jason Kuruzovich, director of the Severino Center for Technological Entrepreneurship and associate professor of business analytics at RPI; Angela Beddoe, publisher and editor-in-chief, HerLife magazine and partner, G-Force Consulting; Bill Teator, managing partner, G-Force Consulting; Beth Moeller, president, Interactive Media Consulting LLC.
Nasir Ali, co-founder and CEO, Upstate Venture Connect; John Cococcia, vice president, strategic marketing and investor relations, Plug Power and venture partner, Armory Square Ventures; Mary Ellen O’Loughlin, regional project director, Regional Alliance for a Creative Economy; Dr. Kenneth Rotondo, president, Mind Genomics Advisors; Matthew Draper, executive director, Shipley Center for Innovation, Clarkson University; Richard Ferguson, senior vice president and corporate secretary, Saratoga National Bank & Trust Co.; Joseph P. Dragone, Ph.D., superintendent of schools, Ballston Spa Central School District.
Scott Erickson, CEO, Manufaktur; Thomas Niles, first vice president/wealth management, Janney Montgomery Scott LLC; Colin and Christel MacLean, founders, Curved Line Living and Saratoga Juice Bar LLC; Kristine Duffy, Ed.D., president, SUNY Adirondack; John Jablonski, vice president for academic affairs, SUNY Adirondack; Catherine Hill, F. William Harder chair of management and business, Skidmore College; and Matthew Scarchilli, CEO/owner, Sandler Training.
Interested mentors should contact Ryan Van Amburgh firstname.lastname@example.org.
SEDC is a fully private investor-led, non-profit consulting firm established in 1978 that works to retain existing businesses, while stimulating new investment to create more jobs in Saratoga County and the Capital Region of New York.
SEDC has worked to bring over 17,500 jobs to Saratoga County and over $14 billion in capital investment, according to agency officials. In 2016, SEDC has helped stimulate over $50M in new investment creating over 426 jobs, retaining 201 jobs and generating over $23 million in local employee wages per year, the group said.