Archive for January, 2011

Radio, print and online media gives Accelerator clients a boost into the mainstream

January 31, 2011

On Wednesday, Jan. 26, Will Rodman from 4e Productions and I had the opportunity to talk business on Van Ritshie’s morning show on WGNY in New Windsor, N.Y. 4e Productions, which joined the Accelerator this past fall, has made great strides in balancing entertainment with education and creating and developing original programs designed to address universal social issues.

With the gracious help of WGNY and other media outlets, the Accelerator has helped bring the success stories of clients like 4e Productions into the mainstream.

This week our clients will be the focus of a 4-page spread in HVBiz that tells their stories of entrepreneurship and how they plan to utilize the Accelerator to enhance their services and spur growth in their markets. Pick up a copy and read how Continental Organics and CymoGen Dx, among others, have made great advancements in their fields and are coming closer to graduating from the Accelerator and becoming another thriving, independent business right here in Orange County.

In the past, we’ve also been awarded great coverage from the Times Herald-Record, Mid-Hudson News and host of other local and regional media outlets that have seen the potential at the Accelerator and have been proactive in broadcasting its message.

With the help of the Orange County Industrial Development Agency and our marketing and advertising partners Focus Media, the Accelerator has become a hotbed of economic opportunity for early-stage startups and entrepreneurs looking to thrive in this challenging economy.

The Accelerator is now 64 weeks strong. Maybe one day you could be our next success story.

For a full gallery of photos from the radio appearance, and links to news articles about the Accelerator, please visit our Facebook page. Additionally, check out some of the new features on our website, including a Quality of Life in Orange County outline, as well as videos featuring an intro to the Accelerator on the homepage and a presentation from Enterprise Development Director Peter Gregory on OCBA Services.

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New York Statism: Era of the Tax Man must give way to Era of the Axe Man

January 23, 2011

In 1966, George Harrison of The Beatles hit the nail right on the head:

(If you drive a car) – I’ll tax the street;
(If you try to sit) – I’ll tax your seat;
(If you get too cold) – I’ll tax the heat;
(If you take a walk) – I’ll tax your feet.

In an era of overspending and over-taxation, Harrison wrote the song to express his disappointment in just how much of his hard-earned cash was going to the government. Little did he know the song “Taxman” would ring throughout the decades as a battle cry of sorts for the private sector in New York State and throughout the country.

Dating back to the Pataki Administration, and running through the Spitzer and Paterson reigns, small businesses and entrepreneurs have been thrown through the ringer and hung out to dry – higher taxes, higher regulations. They’ve been left with little encouragement to pursue the American dream.

Enterprise Development Director Peter Gregory and I recently took a 2-day trip to Albany to attend the NYS Economic Development Corporation Annual Conference. We met with state leaders, engaged in a panel discussion on emerging technologies and innovation. Unfortunately, we still found getting our message through harder than pushing a snowball up a hill in the middle of July.

According the Business Council of New York State, if the state had maintained a budget in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) level over the past 16 years, it is projected that the current budget would be $28 billion less than it is today. There are more than 18 million New York State residents today. Including authorities, or off-budget subsidiaries, as they are called in the private sector, our 2011 budget is over $200 billion. We’re facing a $10 billion deficit in 2011. The math is staggering.

How can this be overcome? How could the state leaders be so reckless? What we need is an Axe Man.

In Governor Andrew Cuomo’s own words, “New York has no future as the tax capitol of the nation.”

During the Governor’s recent visit to the Hudson Valley, he preached a message of conservatism, noting that the state has operated for far too long on a tax-and-spend mentality. He seems to understand the private sector. He wants to cut spending, reduce the size of state government, and better allocate expenditures.

Even though mismanagement of state finances has contributed to the rise of incubators like Orange County Business Accelerator (We have brought state-of-the-art start-up assistance to 14 early-stage innovators and we are just entering our 63rd week in operation), are they going to pick up where we leave off?

With direction from the Orange County IDA, an agency that has helped to ignite capitalism and innovation, Accelerator clients are poised to create up to 500 real jobs, real close to home with the next five years. If New York State wants to stake proportional claims in the next five years, it’s safe to say that it needs to mature.

In order to rightfully retain its nickname as the Empire State, New York must truly embrace capitalism and entrepreneurism to survive and thrive. Andrew Cuomo (our Axe Man?) must do the same.

UVANY conference a great education for entrepreneurs

January 17, 2011

On Tuesday, Jan. 11, the Accelerator, along with Hudson Valley Economic Development Corporation, co-sponsored the Upstate Venture Association of New York (UVANY) Hudson Valley Capital Forum: Accessing Capital in the Hudson Valley. Despite the storm, the event played host to a packed house of entrepreneurs, public officials, business development experts, and venture capitalists all searching for ways to bring business development to the next level in New York State.

The event provided a great opportunity for Accelerator clients to gain access to thought leaders in the statewide venture capital community, as well as an education on how to prepare for an upcoming round, what investors look for, what pitfalls to avoid and how to identify the best investors.

Pine Street Capital Partners Managing Director Michael Lasch, also president of UVANY, speaks to conference attendees on Tuesday, Jan.11 at Homewood Suites in New Windsor, N.Y.

 

OCBA Enterprise Development Director Peter Gregory introduces early-stage innovators during the conference segment titled "Entrepreneurs Minute,” where business owners were given the chance to inform attendees on the services they offer.

Orange County Business Accelerator Signs Two New Innovators

January 10, 2011

New Windsor, N.Y. – January 10, 2011 – Orange County Business Accelerator is proud to announce it has signed two new clients in high-tech, high pay job clusters: Frugaldoo and Connected Contractors.

“We welcome these early-stage start-ups to the Accelerator with open doors,” said Managing Director Michael J. DiTullo. “These nimble innovation firms have chosen the Accelerator for its strategic location and access to a variety of networks and advisors. By teaming up with the Accelerator, they will now have the tools necessary grow their companies and soar into the New Year.”

Frugaldoo, the brainchild of two former Dow Jones executives, is creating a platform that will let shoppers instantly receive coupons and offers, while at the same time, offer a geo-targeted marketing tool for businesses. Shoppers will be able to utilize either their mobile phone’s SMS text messaging or mobile web capabilities to indicate what product or service they desire and moments later access appropriate coupons and offers from nearby merchants directly on their mobile device. Merchants can quickly create coupons and offers using the Frugaldoo web site and focus their advertising using geo-location proximity, time of day, day-of-week or total ad spend targets.

“The Accelerator allows you to be very flexible,” said Patrick Carr, president at Frugaldoo. “It’s ideal for entrepreneurs with a growing business.”

Connected Contractors puts contractors and other home improvement related companies in front of their target market and arms them with easy-to-use, low-cost, web-based software that streamlines operations and improves customer care. Homeowners can choose to use the software as a tool that helps to organize and track home improvement projects online, or simply browse the website for home improvement contractors, business services, information and products a project may require.

Jim Wagner, co-founder of Connected Contractors, said, “After attending several seminars at the Accelerator, it didn’t take long for us to realize that the professionals there have the kind of true understanding of what goes on in the trenches that can only be developed through personal, real-world experience. Moving into the Accelerator was clearly the easiest business decision we’ve made.”
With the new firms, the Accelerator now boasts 14 clients and tenants, employing over 40 people at its 4 London Ave., New Windsor, N.Y. office. These early-stage start-ups have the potential to create between 350 and 500 jobs in Orange County in the next five years.

DiTullo added, “Frugaldoo and Connected Contractors both bring great value to Orange County. They will help to create high-tech, high pay jobs in the digital information technology field and provide a wealth of knowledge to other clients at the Accelerator, part of a great symbiotic environment here at the Intersection of Capital, Talent… and Innovation.”

OCBA, located at 4 London Avenue in New Windsor, N.Y. at Stewart International Airport, is a business incubator program launched by the Orange County Industrial Development Agency (IDA). The incubator, 10,000 square feet of Class A high-tech research and development space, is designed to attract new entrepreneurial investment by providing businesses with below market occupancy costs, a menu of mentoring programs and a high-tech, plug-and-play office environment. For more information, please visit ocaccelerator.com

Second edition of The Innovator focuses on first year of success

January 10, 2011

In the first edition of The Innovator, we focused on the Accelerator’s beginnings- how Orange County IDA Attorney Phil Crotty first generated the idea, then visited a business incubator in Pennsylvania with IDA Executive Director James O’Donnell that became the model for the Orange County Business Accelerator. It highlighted some of our programs: the Entrepreneur Knowledge Series, Associate Client Plan.

The second edition focuses on our success stories- those of Continental Organics and CymoGen Dx, two of the Accelerator’s first resident clients that are making great strides in building their respective products and technology, and working to create real jobs, real close to home in Orange County.

It also features new client profiles on Frugaldoo and Cool Life Systems, two innovative technology firms that have recently joined the Accelerator to benefit from its competitive advantage. The newsletter provides insight into these companies, what they hope to achieve at the Accelerator, and where they want to be in the future.

Don’t forget to check out the special centerfold that documents our success over our first year of innovation, a breakdown of a typical day in the life of Enterprise Development Director Peter Gregory, and stories about our recent expansion and new speaker series.

And, as a little treat, we’ve placed photos of media appearances, educational expeditions and others throughout the newsletter that tell the stories of our first year’s journey.

Check out the 2nd edition of The Innovator:A Newsletter for Entrepreneurs, and let us know your thoughts by replying to this blog entry or visiting our Facebook page.

We now have 61 weeks under our belts, and it’s time to put the pedal to the metal and accelerate heavily into the New Year!

Accelerating into the New Year

January 3, 2011

We’d like to start off the first blog of the New Year by thanking Orange County IDA Chairman Jim Petro, Orange County Executive Ed Diana, our investors, clients, vendors, and other supporters for believing in the mission of the Accelerator. We wish everyone a Happy and Healthy New Year!

With 2010 coming to end, we can proudly say the Accelerator currently boasts 14 clients and tenants – in all of its target clusters – bringing more than 40 jobs through the Accelerator’s doors. Up to 500 high-tech, high-pay jobs could one day result from graduation of these firms.

Within its first six months, the Accelerator signed up Continental Organics (aquaponics), Ethan Allen Personnel Group (green technology jobs), CymoGen Dx (cancer research) and E-Guardian Systems (green energy lighting technology).

In March 2010, we introduced the Associate Client Program, and soon our co-working suite was buzzing with entrepreneurial spirit. Management Resources, an investigative services firm, joined the Accelerator in Spring 2010 to help expand its market reach into Orange County. Cognition Media, a full-service web development company with a focus on educational tools, and 4e Productions, a multi-media production company that balances entertainment with education with a focus on strong values and healthy lifestyles, followed over the summer.

Daubman Corporate Interiors and Orange County Snowboards became the latest associate clients this past fall, as the Accelerator’s Associate Client Program quickly spread its wings.

More resident clients were also making moves to the Accelerator: Array Optronix (optoelectronics technology firm), Cool Life Systems (custom business solutions) and Frugaldoo (mobile software development), and, most recently, Connected Contractors (contractors software).

The New Year will no doubt present us with a host of challenges that have been plaguing businesses across the country for several years now – a recession, collapse of the real estate market and an emerging technology shift. Here in New York State, conducting business has become more difficult with increasing tax burdens and an overall mismanagement of state finances.

On a county level, we have lost over 3,000 jobs in Orange over the past few years.

What we need to remember is that these challenges spawned the idea of a business incubator and provided an opportunity to promote entrepreneurship and small business growth, while large corporations continue to shrink or even disappear.

At 90 percent occupancy and poised to take on these challenges now and in the future, the Accelerator is doing everything possible to turn the trends of turbulence in the workforce and the economy. We’re researching possibilities for larger office space. We’re offering new and exciting client services (which we will announce early in 2011). And we’re constantly expanding our base of networks and advisors to help our clients, and Orange County, accelerate into the New Year.

And a final two words to all who have supported our cause and continue to do so… THANK YOU.