March 26, 2010

Incubator Scores With Nanotech Fund

By: by Westfair Online


Money from NYSERDA to the tune of $1.5 million is music to Les Neumann's ears.

Neumann, managing director of the Hudson Valley Center for Innovation, says it is the first time the New York State Energy and Research Development Authority has given a grant to a business incubator/accelerator in the Hudson Valley.

Neumann, managing director of the HVCFI since it opened four years ago, was working with potential high-tech businesses, availing them of a consortium of brain power from across the Hudson Valley and Connecticut.  While the concept was sound, the potential startups being attracted were not moving along to the next step -graduating from the incubator to start companies and create jobs.

Neumann and its board of directors have taken the HVCFI in a new direction, working with both the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering at the University of Albany and the Hudson Valley Technology Development Center to accomplish its mission: nurturing and growing high-tech, alternative energy businesses and creating jobs in the region.

"The Tech Valley initiative included the lower Hudson Valley," said Neumann, "but we were really part of it in name only. Tech Valley is truly centered around the Capital District. Now, with this recognition from NYSERDA and our partnership with the University of Albany Nanotech College, we are collaborating on helping business ideas birthed in academia to come out and become viable, commercial startups that create jobs through our incubator program."

The grant from NYSERDA, said Neumann, is a "major achievement for the HVCFI. Our partnership with CNSE has secured us as a placeholder, recognizing the Hudson Valley and garnering us a prominent position in the development and expansion of the Tech Valley concept. The ‘iCLEAN' program will help us grow high-tech and bio-tech business here in our region. This not pie-in-the-sky idealism. It is happening."

Neumann doesn't care what county a potential alternative energy startup chooses to opens its doors: "As long as base themselves in the Hudson Valley, it doesn't matter to us if  they are going to eventually open in  White Plains or Wawarsing - we want them here in the mid-Hudson, where the Tech Valley initiative is now getting a needed and welcome infusion of funding from NYSERDA. Its recognition of our mission is validation that   the work we are doing is critical to New York's future."

Neumann says the Hudson Valley has the work force, the intellectual property and the willingness to work as a region to create a high-tech corridor. "This grant and collaboration is going to help make it happen. The CNSE offers the research, we offer the commercialization experience. It's a tremendous, positive partnership."

The HVCFI works out of three locations: the 721 Media Center in Kingston, the Maple Street building at SUNY Orange's Newburgh campus and at the Hudson Valley Technology Development Center in Fishkill. "Truly, we are accessible to all parts of the Hudson Valley region. Our collaboration with the University of Albany's Nano College is going to give the Tech Valley corridor the boost it needs to get us where we want to be: creating good-paying, hi-tech jobs in the Hudson Valley."