President Harvey Stenger and Broome County Executive Debbie Preston unveil renderings of the proposed high-tech incubator at a news conference Wednesday, Aug. 15, in downtown Binghamton.
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Binghamton University President Harvey Stenger joined with local, county and state representatives today near the intersection of Hawley and Carroll streets in Binghamton to unveil plans for a high-tech incubator at the site. The incubator will be home to tenants who will focus on smart energy, healthcare and electronic systems integration and packaging.
“Last week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo approved our NYSUNY 2020 proposal to allow us to expand our smart energy initiatives,” said Stenger. “That kind of technology coming out of our research labs needs a place to become commercial, and now we have an outstanding plan to build a high-tech incubator.
“NYSUNY 2020 related to the clarity of vision, but this project needs a little bit of imagination,” he said, as he described a vibrant community with people leaving the incubator facility to eat lunch, shop or hang out after hours in downtown Binghamton. “I can see it,” he said, “and I’m confident we will be successful and Binghamton University will fill the incubator with the best technology available.”
Broome County Executive Debbie Preston called the incubator the most exciting project in Broome County and its number one priority. “This $22 million Job Creation Incubator will capitalize on the amazing technology Binghamton University is creating and bring new, good-paying jobs,” she said.
The project, still in proposal stages, is a partnership among Binghamton University, Broome County, the Broome County Industrial Development Agency, Broome Community College and other stakeholders. There is a concerted push at the local, state and federal levels to secure funding for the incubator and optimism for its approval. A proposal for $13 million has been submitted through the Regional Economic Development Council as the top priority project for the region; an additional $2 million will come from the IDA for property acquisition, site preparation and construction; and a federal grant is being sought with support from U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer.
“The purpose of an incubator is to manufacture that first product that will be sold,” said Stenger. And it’s the missing piece for the region, which has fundamental research from Binghamton University, job training initiatives, Broome Community College initiatives and great manufacturing facilities. “This is the next step,” he said.
The incubator will also include wrap-around services such as financial, legal and regulatory resources that can help developing companies succeed. “These experts would be in the building to ease access, and two or three anchor tenants are also critical,” Stenger said. With such support, young firms increase their likelihood of success. Rather than two or three of 10 firms succeeding beyond three years, with the support available through an incubator, the success rate jumps to eight of 10 thriving.
Calling the incubator a collaborative, priority project, Sen. Thomas Libous stressed that it’s more than just about jobs. This is “one of these things we try to move forward in the context of creating jobs and careers,” he said. “This is about careers that keep people in the community, to move this community forward, to invest in the community. That’s what this is all about.”
Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo agreed, noting that every major region of the state has an incubator except the Southern Tier. “It’s absolutely essential that Binghamton has this to bring products to market,” she said. “The next Watson, the next Johnson is in school right up the street.”