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SARATOGA COUNTY — The Saratoga County Board of Supervisors voted to grant $150,000 in funding to the Saratoga Economic Development Corporation last week. This award marks the new start of a relationship between the SEDC and the county, after the county cut off all funding to the SEDC six years ago after a 35-year relationship. The county then formed the Saratoga County Prosperity Partnership to compete with the SEDC.
This funding also marks a new beginning of economic development reform for the county. “We’ve made tremendous progress, but we need to keep moving forward,” said Phil Barrett, chair of the county’s economic development committee. Barrett added that part of the new public service contract with the SEDC would include monthly meetings, full transparency, full budget and financial statements, a compensation schedule for employees, and a sheet to identify how and where county funds are being spent.
The Prosperity Partnership will still receive funding from the county, but it will decrease from around $775,000 to about $500,000. The SEDC will continue the progress that they’ve made in the county’s economic development. “The organization [SEDC] has a successful history of 40 years; it was successful with a contract with the county, and continued to post results in this period without a contract,” said Barrett.
BALLSTON SPA - The Saratoga Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) and the Saratoga County Industrial Development Agency (IDA) is helping Core Tech Industrial Corp. plan for a proposed expansion that would cost $2 Million. Core Tech is seeking $418,000 in tax breaks through the IDA, according to SEDC president Denis Brobston. The SEDC is assisting Core Tech through the application process in Ballston.
Core Tech, located at 2 McCrea Hill Rd. in Ballston Spa, is a manufacturing business that develops and engineers parts for the power market. They have built gas-fired, solar and wind turbines for General Electric and others.
Core Tech is planning to build a 30,000 square-foot detached manufacturing facility in Corporate Tech Park, in the lot adjacent to Core Tech’s current site.
“So this is a retention of the existing company because if they don’t keep investing here then they invest somewhere else,” said Brobston. He adds that Core Tech has been approached aggressively from states throughout the country pitching to have expansion done in a new location.
Core Tech currently leases out one-fourth of its existing facility to another company. The lease is for 10 years.
“The way that their growth has taken place they need 30,000 square feet of manufacturing space and there’s a lot right next to them that they were able to get control of,” said Brobston.
The expansion would bring Core Tech’s current employment from 48 to 68. According to Brobston these are in the $70,000
[Graphic provided by Ryan Van Amburgh.]
SARATOGA SPRINGS – The Saratoga-Warren-Washington Workforce Development Board, in conjunction with The Washington-Saratoga-Warren-Hamilton-Essex (WSWHE) BOCES and the Saratoga County Economic Development Corporation (SEDC), are presenting the region’s inaugural Career Jam on Wednesday, Oct. 25.
“Career Jam is a one-day hands-on career exploration event for eighth and ninth grade in our area,” according to the SEDC statement.
These Clusters are: Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources; Architecture and Construction; Arts, A/V Technology and Communications; Business, Management, and Administration; Education and Training; Finance; Government and Public Administration; Health Sciences; Hospitality and Tourism; Human Services; Information Technology; Law, Public Safety, Corrections, and Security; Manufacturing; Marketing; Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics; Transportation, Distribution, and Logistics.
A contact at Clarkson University reached out to SEDC and introduced them to the Jefferson-Lewis Workforce Development Board (WDB) who has been hosting this event for the past three years through the Jefferson-Lewis BOCES in Watertown, New York.
This will be the first time Career Jam is taking place locally. The closest it has taken place previously is in the Finger Lakes Region and Watertown Region.
Ryan Van Amburgh, Economic Development Specialist for SEDC, said “our main goal for the event is to highlight local job options to young students.”
Approximately 500 kids will be attending from school districts around the region.
“We are working with The Clean Tech ECHS junior and seniors as our volunteers and Joseph Dragone, Superintendent from Ballston Spa Central School and Joseph Greco, Director of K-!2 Math, Science, and Technology Integration, from Saratoga Springs Schools as our volunteers,” Van Amburgh said.
“We are most excited about showcasing the business community and all the opportunities locally for students,” Van Amburgh stated.
“Local businesses from each Career Cluster will be present with hands-on activities that will engage and encourage students to look at the many career opportunities and areas of study that are relevant to our local area. We want to provide our youth with this valuable information as they decide what careers and education to pursue in their futures,” the statement declared.
“Our objective is to expose students early on to the careers that are available right here in their own region as well as the opportunity to be educated for them in that region and provide well paying jobs and it’s not really too early for them to start considering what that looks like. So we have some great business partners throughout that come and help us with our curriculum so we thought it would be a great idea to offer an opportunity for all these students to come in and see what’s there. The thing that we wanted to make sure that it was not just one of those career fairs where you get a brochure and you hear about the company but you don’t actually do anything. So, the intent is to have each business partner have a hands-on event, so students get to do some hands-on experiments,” said Kim Wegner, Coordinator of Enrichment S.T.E.M. and Career Connections at BOCES.
This event will take place in the TEC-SMART building, which is on Hermes Road in Malta.
If you are a business or students interested in learning more about Career Jam, visit www.Career-Jam.com.
SEDC to Launch Innovative Incubator
SARATOGA COUNTY – Polish up those ideas because, come Spring, the Saratoga Economic Development Agency (SEDC) is launching an incubator that models innovative entrepreneurial support systems straight out of Silicon Valley, partly by looking at failure and eligibility a little differently than most.
Executive Director of the Clarkson University Shipley Center for Innovation Matt Draper said an entrepreneur who has experienced failure, or an entrepreneur with an idea that would never head to the stock market, is just as eligible for Advance Saratoga Startup as the one who invents the next big tech gadget.
“It’s a huge part of the model,” said Draper. “Everyone points to Silicon Valley and what they are doing, but if you break down what they do better than anybody else, it’s recycle talent. Whether a startup is a success or fails, there is a tremendous amount of experience gained. We want to maintain the investment and engage it in a new way. Rather than making bets on 1 in 10 entrepreneurs, which is the national success average, this model makes sure the other 9 are engaged somehow.”
Dennis Brobston, President of SEDC, agrees. “If you’ve been a good CFO but the startup failed,” said Brobston, “it’s a badge of honor and you always try to hook those people up with people you know because you know their quality. All that talent that they’ve got in their brain combined with what they’ve learned shouldn’t go to waste.”
Brobston added that business networks all know who needs people, and making matches of complementary strengths is a good way to retain talent in Saratoga County, an important component of SEDC’s mission.
Advance Saratoga Startup, (a working title), seeks to accelerate entrepreneurial business growth, and is incorporating prominent members of the business community and local leaders to provide traditional methods of support such as business planning and market research assistance, as well as access to professional expertise to help overcome challenges. SEDC will work through area entrepreneur networks and student organizations in the coming weeks to develop an official name for the initiative.
The incubator was shaped over the course of 2016, culminating in an initial teaming agreement with Clarkson's Shipley Center for Innovation, which operates six business incubators and will provide support services to new entrepreneurs and early stage project teams and companies for Advance Saratoga Startup.
Draper attributes much of the success of the Center and its involvement in this new incubator to the University’s president.
“This all stems from the vision of our president, Tony Collins, who recognizes economic development can’t be successful without a thriving community around it,” said Draper. “Without a president as open as he is to us – none of this could happen. It is very much because of him that we are able to do this.”
Advance Saratoga Startup is set to open its virtual doors sometime in March, and entrepreneurs at any stage of business development are invited to apply.
“One of type of entrepreneur is the gazelle, the traditional high-technology fast-paced startup that we are looking to target with an IPO or acquisition,” said Shipley. “But the second – and often overlooked – is the relevant entrepreneur. These are people who bring value to the region – service providers, people who are one piece of a value chain, maybe a high school student who has an interest in something that sparks an idea. Our model is very much for everyone; we don’t ask people to self-aggregate which type of entrepreneur they are. Too many incubator models focus on one or the other. We are looking for more balance. It’s a really cool ecosystem that builds on itself and supports each other.”
Draper said the key to a successful incubator is not the location, but the programming that attracts and builds entrepreneurs. “The goal is not to duplicate or replicate what already exists. We are filling a niche for something not yet being met, and that makes the entire ecosystem that much stronger.”
Draper explained the entrepreneurial ecosystem is defined as the community or value chain. “Anybody that contributes to the overall success of a startup idea is part of that ecosystem,” said Draper. “It is the teacher that sparks the idea, the web developer that builds the website, the marketing talent that develops the brand working with a graphic artist developing the logo, and the machine shop that builds the first product sample. This model is meant to be inclusive not exclusive. The more we can leverage human capital, the faster we can get up and running.”
According to Brobston, SEDC and its incubator partners have embraced creating this accelerator in part because of the appeal and quality of life that Saratoga County offers. The County is already attracting talent who want to live here; who are seeking to live a quality work-play balance.
“Part of our byline is ‘promote, retain and grow.’ If we have people in Saratoga County working out of their home looking to start a business, we definitely want to work with them,” said Brobston, “but we’ll also be promoting the area to lots of places through our connections to universities and groups outside the area. We want to retain whoever is here, and there is quite a bit of talent here, and grow by providing opportunity for people to consider moving here from somewhere else.”
Dr. Kenneth J. Rotondo, President and Founding Partner of Mind Genomics Advisors said he was very excited when he learned about this project and is delighted to be a part of it. He serves on the Advance Saratoga Startup Advisory Team.
“I think this is definitely needed,” said Rotondo. “From what I’ve gathered living in Saratoga and having an office in Saratoga, I think there is a lot of creativity in a variety of disciplines from the arts and sciences to retail and business development. But there’s not something that allows easy entryway for advice or ideas. It will be very worthwhile and an obvious extension of SEDC’s mission. I turn down more of these things than you can imagine because I want to spend my time on something that has merit and will do some good. I think they are on to something here.”
Brobston recognizes that Advance Saratoga Startup is a startup in and of itself, but demand is high for entrepreneurial support in the region and the level of professional expertise available is an asset ready to give back.
“We’ll keep costs down by leveraging all these assets of staff time and mentors – marketing experts, legal experts – all willing to donate their time,” said Brobston, “as well as operating out of our facilities here in Saratoga Springs. The expertise from Clarkson, which has such a reliable network of undergrads and grads for research and three-D printing, is invaluable. In future, we envision a facility where these people can meet or work out of shared spaces, but much depends on how many applicants there are, their quality, and how quickly we can get them up and running.”