As a staunch believer in Binghamton University and its surrounding community, Kathryn Fletcher leads a start-up company called H2 Innovations. She must be doing something right, because she recently took first place in the Binghamton Local Development Corporation/Entrepreneurial Assistance Program Business Plan Competition. The winning prize included $5,000 to help H2 Innovations continue its efforts to promote local organizations and businesses through development of innovative tools such as Action Atlas, a map of local amenities, and BiziLife, a web-based intelligent network that acts as a guide to the community’s many offerings.
“We received a number of promising business plans, and Kathryn’s was the most professional, comprehensive and practical,” says Merry Harris, BLDC Executive Director and director of the city of Binghamton’s Office of Economic Development. Fletcher is using the prize money to expand H2Innovations and officially launch BiziLife.com.
Having been heavily involved as a student with Catalysts for Intellectual Capital (CIC2020), a student-run economic think tank focused on retaining University graduates in the area, Fletcher continues to serve as senior adviser for the organization. She credits her bioengineering studies and CIC2020 experiences with helping develop her entrepreneurial spirit and skills. “I gained some business savvy and technical skills, and now as I move forward I am still working with many of the community leaders I met through CIC2020,” she says. “We’re working hard to make H2 Innovations a reliable and effective promotions resource for the Binghamton community. The community’s strong cultural traditions, tourist attractions and educational institutions make it a great place to do business.”
BiziLife.com aims to allow both organizations and individuals to easily find what they need. Fletcher set the stage for some of the portal’s functionality while a bioengineering student conceptualizing a particular adaptive algorithm. “I took the basic skill set I gained as a bioengineer and applied it to issues related to CIC2020,” she says. “The general idea is to manage information overload and thus improve quality of life.”
Simply put, Fletcher says, when an individual wants to find something to do or somewhere to go, that user will have access to real time personalized information through BiziLife, allowing them to effortlessly make connections that ultimately support Binghamton’s local businesses. “My company’s mission is very much in line with CIC2020’s goals of connecting the community and University,” she says.
So, even though there is a lot to do when launching and growing a business, “it’s fun,” says Fletcher. “I have to wear all of the hats and get to learn something new every single day.”
Last Updated: 9/23/09