Archive for August, 2010

Cognition Media, 4e Productions join the Accelerator as newest associate clients

August 30, 2010

We’re proud to announce that Cognition Media and 4e Productions have signed on as the latest associate clients at Orange County Business Accelerator, bringing the total to six associate memberships in just three months since the program’s inception.

Joined by me and our enthusiastic Enterprise Development Director Peter Gregory, Cognition Media CEO Kristen Said officially signed the agreement linking them to the Accelerator a week ago today. Both Said and President of Technology Joseph Casabona are graduates of Goshen-based John S. Burke High School, proof that more and more Orange County youth are returning home after college to take advantage of its employment and entrepreneurial opportunities.

Cognition Media CEO Kristin Said signs on with the Accelerator.

Cognition Media is a company dedicated to creating software for education. It was started with the philosophy that schools need software that will make them more productive, more efficient, and save them time. One of their taglines, “We focus on what’s best for teachers and administrators so they can focus on what’s best for their students,” is most appropriate in this age of technology in education.

4e Productions, which signed on a few days before Cognition Media, is a multi-media production company that balances entertainment with education. Its name is short for “Enlighten, Empower, Enrich Everyone,” a mission statement of sorts that mirrors its goals of addressing universal social issues, to teach values, build character and encourage healthy life choices.

Within just three months of introducing the Associate Client Program, the Accelerator has grown it to six clients, who now have access to all of the benefits of the Accelerator, without the need to lease space. Its competitive advantage offers a state-of-the-art conference room with integrated A/V system and videoconferencing capabilities, a printing center, a cooperative room where all of our clients are able to work with each other to soar to new heights.

After all, that’s what the Accelerator is all about- working with others to grow entrepreneurship and business in Orange County.

The Intersection of Capital, Talent…and Innovation is busier than ever.

Integrated marketing/public relations key to success at the Accelerator

August 23, 2010

Even before the Accelerator opened, we were placing ads and getting acquainted with local reporters and editors covering the business beat. We announced our grand opening weeks ahead of time through a press release and placed print and electronic ads with similar messaging.

Throughout our first ten months of operations, we have maintained that philosophy of integrated marketing and public relations, a strategy by which both techniques are leveraged with streamlined messaging with a “steady drumbeat.”

A collage of stories and print ads crowd a corkboard at the Accelerator, showing the impact advertising and public relations has had on the Accelerator’s success.

When the Accelerator was looking to attract and grow its client base early in 2010, we placed print and online advertisements touting the benefits of working with the Accelerator. We’ve also maintained open lines of communication with local and regional reporters to help spread our message, whether it’s the announcement of a new client that is in one of our target workforce clusters, or a new program or product we are launching.

As a result of this strategy, the Accelerator filled Phase I within three months, spawning the construction on Phase II, an additional 4,000 square feet of office and innovation suites, as well as 2,600 square feet across the road at 33 Airport Center Drive at New York International Plaza. We also continue to grow our Associate Client program, which now has several new clients – Orange County Snowboards, Cognition Media, Daubman Corporate Interiors, and 4e Productions.

This integrated marketing/PR strategy has worked wonders for the Accelerator. As I write today, we have 12 early-stage innovators at the Accelerator. We all inspire to grow and prosper together at the Intersection of Capital, Talent… and Innovation!

More green jobs coming soon to Orange County

August 16, 2010

Taylor Biomass Energy, of Montgomery, N.Y., is planning to develop an energy gasification plant in Orange County that will turn waste into energy for his site and nearly 20,000 homes. Owner Jim Taylor got one step closer this past week when Senator Charles Schumer, Congressman Maurice Hinchey, with the help of Senator William Larkin, Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther and County Executive Edward Diana, announced that a $100 million loan guarantee for the project is in its final approval stages.

Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which focuses on preserving and creating well-paying jobs. Taylor’s proposed biomass gasification facility enjoys strong support from the community, including from Orange County, which has committed to direct its solid waste to the facility.

Taylor Biomass Energy owner Jim Taylor talks to reporters and public officials regarding the proposed gasification plant and job growth projections.

This means great things for the Orange County workforce. This means more alternative and renewable energy jobs, as the project will create 400 local jobs in the construction phase and an additional 80 full-time positions in Orange County once the plant is in operation.

Taylor visited the Accelerator recently to discuss the project with our business development team, and we expressed our great support. Part of our mission is to foster entrepreneurship in the alternative and renewable energy sectors and Jim Taylor is a great example of an innovator who has had the vision to grow his recycling business and create more green jobs in Orange County.

This project represents a great public-private partnership, in a time when many businesses are downsizing or closing and government is stepping in to fill in the gaps. Our hats are off to Jim Taylor and our distinguished public officials for working to bring real jobs, real close to home in Orange County!

Daily progress at the Accelerator: Reaching the 9-month mark

August 9, 2010

Good morning, everyone! Enterprise Development Director Peter Gregory stepping in today to talk about some Accelerator business…

 The Accelerator is shifting into its high gears these months, as the one-year anniversary approaches 27 October. I’m writing today to show you just a bit about how everyday activity makes up the fabric of our vision at the Accelerator. A look into “a day-in-the life” can show the great value the Accelerator is bringing to fledgling businesses that we serve. 

 A typical day, last week, for the Enterprise Development Director at the Accelerator:

8:03 a.m.

Fresh in the door with great expectations for the day, Client “A” accosts me with a plea for computer help. Ah, the day begins. A collective cry to other budding CEOs gets three minds together to discover another Windows 7 idiosyncrasy. Note to self – consider going “Mac.” 

I am reminded of Accelerator Benefit 1 – the strong community – the CEO Water-Cooler effect – for timely technical support from your peers– and  much more.

8:32 a.m.

Follow-up call with our presenter for the November Entrepreneur Knowledge Series (EKS) event – topic: “Company Formation” – the perennial “should I incorporate, or should I form an LLC” discussion. The EKS events always take place on the fourth Wednesday of the each month.  Pleased that we have our September and October presenters arranged for valuable business insights for our clients and the open business community of the Hudson Valley, we add November’s “company formation” to September’s “Hiring Tactics” and October’s “Lean Office” EKS presentations – a great tool collection for the entrepreneur’s toolbox.

Benefit 2 – regular professional development presentations to broaden the entrepreneur’s skill set.

Benefit 3 – regular opportunities to network with other innovative business-starters

9:43 a.m.

Call from a potential client…

Client: I think I need to borrow money.

Me: Bring in your financial pro formas, let’s discuss.

Client: What’s a pro forma?

Me: Uh-oh. Ok, then, let’s get your forecasts into financial statement form.

Benefit 4 – Financial Literacy to compete in the capital markets, whether you are borrowing from Friends and Family, or an established capital firm.

A pro-forma is a document that lists normal accounting activity, meant to give a business owner and the executive team a good periodic indication of profitability and cash flow. These statements are essential when planning to expand your business.

10:17 a.m.

Another phone call from a prospective client. Things are picking up today…

Client: I need a website.

Me: What’s your domain name?

Client: What’s a domain name?

Me: Uh-oh. Ok, then, you need help. Let’s figure out a good web name you can use for your website, and register it. That’s always a good start. Then we’ll work on layout and content.

Benefit 5 – Media literacy – Couple Social Media Marketing as a tactic with traditional business marketing to achieve superior market results.

It’s amazing how some business owners even get by in today’s world without a website, some not even knowing where to start.

 

11:57 a.m.

Third call today…

Client: I plan on making lots of money with my new “Hem Haw” invention.

Me: Who have you told about this?

Client: I did a press release this morning.

Me: Uh-oh. Ok, then, let’s call an Intellectual Property attorney and try to get as much protection as you can still get.  Best not to tell the world about your innovation until you get a patent…

Benefit 6 – Intellectual Property Protection help, with referrals to potential legal service partners.

 Intellectual Property is a gray area these day  that deserves expert advice! And, without proper protection, another party can easily appropriate or assimilate your idea or design.

OCBA Enterprise Development Director Peter J. Gregory talks business with Entrepreneur Knowledge Series event attendees in March 2010

 

1:22 p.m.

Another client request…

Client: I have a meeting with an investor next week.

Me: Let’s review your business plan.

Client: What’s a business plan?

Me: Uh-oh. Ok, then. Who is going to buy this and how much are you going to make?

How much time and money are you able to contribute to this business before you need outside money?
Benefit 7 – Business Plan Boot Camp – we know time is of the essence, and we can help our clients put their best image forward on paper.

A complete, accurate, and compelling business plan is the difference between an investor shaking your hand in agreement or walking away. Be sure to have a professional help in designing one before making any moves.

3:13 p.m.

Uh Oh. I forgot to eat lunch. Again. Good, I have a dollar for a granola bar.

4:27 p.m.

End of the day request from client…

Client: I’ve got a bank meeting tomorrow, can you attend and contribute?

Me: Sure, let’s print the financial packet and review the brief we will present.

Benefit 8 – “Halo Effect” of being an Accelerator Client – we serve to augment your impression with the endorsement being a client of the Accelerator.

5:53 p.m.

Out the door, early(!)…Another day of finance, marketing and operations progress for our clients at the Accelerator.

Hudson Valley BNI membership gets the grand tour

August 2, 2010

This past Wednesday, Business Networking International (BNI) Hudson Valley hosted its weekly breakfast at the Accelerator. Over 50 members of the local Roundtable Chapter of BNI Hudson Valley toured the Accelerator, met with our clients and learned just what it is we are about.

The small crowd of business owners were anxious to hear about the Accelerator, as I took a few minutes to introduce our staff and representatives from two of our clients, Peter Hartmayer of Cymogen Dx and Tom Lemmey of Ethan Allen Personnel Group. I took the opportunity to applaud County Executive Ed Diana and Orange County IDA Chairman Jim Petro for their aggressive and progressive approach to economic development and innovation before embarking on a tour of our facilities.

 

John Klassen, assistant vice president at M&T Bank, also the vice president of the Roundtable Chapter, was amazed with the flow of business coming through the Accelerator in its first year. Recently signing our largest client, Array Optronix, the Accelerator is poised to seek alternative space, as our primary office and innovation suites are soon to be fully occupied.

 

Orange County IDA Executive Director James O’Donnell stopped in to meet with local businessmen and women and praise the efforts of the county, the IDA and the Accelerator staff on exceeding its capacity goals in its first year (we’re at nearly 96 percent nine months ahead of schedule). Jim has been a great asset to the Accelerator as we continue to build our ability to drive down risk for early-stage entrepreneurs.

We encourage those who attended the Roundtable Chapter event to contact us, to see how we may help your company thrive. Always remember… We’re in business for your business!