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Clarkson-based Hot Spot will look to grow existing talent, infrastructure


POTSDAM - The Shipley Center for Innovation at Clarkson University and its Peyton Hall Incubator will administer a $250,000 Innovation Hot Spot award to advance technology transfer and support all aspects of start-ups and expansion in New York state’s north country.

The north country is one of only five New York State Regional Economic Development Councils that was awarded a Hot Spot through New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Council initiative.

The north country’s Hot Spot will use a scalable model that already has a track record of success at Clarkson through its Center for Advanced Materials Processing, Reh Center for Entrepreneurship and Shipley Center.

Based on the model of the original Silicon Valley, the Hot Spot will look for existing talent and enable infrastructure to grow around it. In California, this model caused the supporting infrastructure to develop, which fed continuous renewal with more start-ups, attracting even more talent and resources.

The model will utilize a hub and spoke approach that will leverage SUNY schools, community colleges, and independent colleges and universities throughout the region, in addition to economic development partners, to maximize its footprint and impact to local entrepreneurs in their own communities.

“Instead of recreating infrastructure that exists already, the hub and spoke model looks at what entrepreneurs need to succeed,” says Matthew E. Draper, deputy director of the Shipley Center. “Instead of bringing them to our location, we will bring what they need to them.”

The Shipley Center on Clarkson University’s campus will serve as the hub with external offices strategically located in Plattsburgh, Watertown, Ogdensburg and Saranac Lake. The Hot Spot will be located in each of these locations one day of the week, enabling entrepreneurs and potential entrepreneurs to get support.

The Shipley Center has already built the supporting infrastructure to service entrepreneurs including rapid prototyping, intellectual property identification and protection, seed funding, accounting, business model generation, market research, branding and staffing.

The focus of the North Country Hot Spot model is to identify, vet, and train entrepreneurs and innovators through existing programs to then be established in their communities of origin. These locations will deliver the message that the model is available and conduct idea capture.

Once captured, a feasibility analysis will be conducted at the Shipley Center to provide a go/no-go decision. If accepted, the entrepreneur will then be provided with a “commercialization caddy” to hold their hand through the commercialization process, bringing resources and services to them, as needed. Golden Technology Management LLC, located in the Peyton Hall Incubator, will serve as the commercialization caddy.

Clarkson’s Center for Advanced Materials Processing (CAMP) and Reh Center for Entrepreneurship and will also continue to work closely with local entrepreneurs.

“This is truly exciting news for the North Country economy,” says Dayle M. Smith, dean of Clarkson’s School of Business, home to the Reh Center. “We look forward to partnering with the Shipley Center in building the essential infrastructure to further economic development in the North Country.”

The North Country Innovation Hot Spot will direct resources primarily to those efforts with the potential to create leading products and services in highly attractive growth markets.

Target business opportunities will generally fall into two categories. “Great products for hot markets” is the highest priority, highest return category, with businesses focusing on products like medical devices, clean technology and social networking.

Category two targets are likely to be project-based and/or more local in nature, like local food for local consumption or export, high-value wood and stone products, and health care improvements.

The Innovation Hot Spot will also serve as a funnel to direct successful businesses into New York State’s START-UP NY program, which gives start-ups the opportunity to operate tax-free for 10 years on eligible campuses and spaces in New York State.

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