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Past Events, Spring 2017


Breaking Down the Silos 1/19/17

One of the most successful ways to grow the ecosystem of entrepreneurship is through networking and creating connections, especially within a geographical area. For years, our office, as well as other economic and entrepreneurial agencies in the area hosted their own separate monthly networking events.

After a discussion this past summer between our own Laura Holmes and Stacey Dunkin, the Assistant Director of The Agency, the idea of combining events and leveraging the pre-existing, albeit disconnected, networks to help grow the entrepreneurial ecosystem. The first event was held on September 13, 2016 at the Water Street Brewing Co. in downtown Binghamton.

With help from local organizations, over 70 people attended the event. Since then, attendance has grown to over 100 attendees. This event has made real connections between local businesses allowing them to take advantage of amazing opportunities that our area has to offer. At our October event at the M&T Bank in downtown Binghamton, a local small business was able to take out a small business loan from M&T, something they didn’t know they could do.

This month’s evening of networking once again had over 100 attendees and was hosted by Fahs Construction and catered by The Colonial. For more information on next month’s event please visit our Event’s Page

SUNY BEST 1/5/17


By: Travis Clines

Suzanne McLeod the superintendent of the Union-Endicott School District compares innovation in K-12 education to poetry.

“I was an English teacher, so the best example of innovation I can give you is poetry,” said McLeod at the January edition of SUNY BEST. “Poetry is taking words that exist and recombining them in different ways, setting them up with different phrasing and using different punctuation to come out with completely different meanings.”

McLeod spoke to an audience of over 100 at Tiger Ventures, located in the Linnaeus W. West Primary School in Endicott, N.Y. The theme of this month’s BEST meeting was Innovation in K-12 Education. McLeod said the purpose of Tiger Ventures was to be an alternative high school that focuses on the six to 10% of students that are behind on receiving their regents diploma.

“We have opened it this year with just eighth and ninth graders. We are committed to the kids here at Tiger Ventures earning a regent’s diploma,” she said. “This is not a watered down program, they do regents coursework, they have clubs, sports, electives and foreign language.”

The program also features a makerspace for the students as well as startup space for local companies to use with the only stipulation being they mentor the students. The District Superintendent of BOCES, Allen Buyck talked about New Visions, a full-year program for seniors that offers a non-traditional program at various off-site locations.

“I think all of us are talking about adding a fourth “R”, which is relevance,” he said. “‘Why do I need to know how to calculate slope?’ Well if you’re using it on an actual project it clicks and they don’t think so much about learning a concept, they’re actually seeing how it will apply to their future.”

Tonia Thompson, interim superintendent of Binghamton City Schools stressed community partnerships in her talk. She told the audience of their issue retaining students in the early childhood programs. It took working with the community to discover the issue wasn’t with the program.

“It wasn’t because they didn’t want to come, it was because they couldn’t stay in their homes,” she said. “When you talk to our early childhood providers you find out the main reason for disenrollment in programs is eviction.”

Since then the school district has begun working with local partners on a program that removes unsafe houses from the area in an effort to decrease the eviction rate.

Jason Andrews said the region is suffering from a nostalgia for the past instead of looking toward future potential. The superintendent of the Windsor School District stressed the need for a job pipeline to prepare students for careers in the area. Two opportunities he focused on were Willow Run Foods, which is looking to hire near 50 people and Dick’s Sporting Goods, Inc., which is looking to hire more than 450 people in the coming years.

He said the pipeline would work as a collaboration between business and education to make sure graduating seniors would have the skills hiring companies were looking for.

“If we can see in our community that we have these issues then the question has to be ‘What are we going to do collectively?’” Andrews said. “We’re really good at that blame game. It’s much harder to work to really get specific about it and come to the table. To me this isn’t about innovation it’s about collaboration.”

For more information on Tiger Ventures please visit here.

Last Updated: 2/9/17