Rochester: An Entrepreneur’s City
How NextCorps is Giving Startups a Leg Up
Rochester, New York is a city built and sustained by entrepreneurs. It’s the former company-town once dominated by Eastman Kodak Company, Xerox Corporation and Bausch & Lomb, whose founders gave rise to a community rich in industry and education.
These companies inspired and trained the scientists and researchers, who by choice or by circumstance, left its labs and created new technologies and small to mid-size businesses that are now the backbone of Rochester’s economy.
In a city where entrepreneurship is practically a birthright, community, business and government leaders are working together to cultivate the next generation of innovators.
At the earliest stage of the entrepreneurial journey is the NEXUS-NY program.
“NEXUS was formed around the hypothesis that a lot of great inventions take place in university research labs, but rarely do those inventions make it into the marketplace,” said Doug Buerkle, executive director of NEXUS-NY at NextCorps.
The NEXUS-NY proof-of-concept center and accelerator is in it’s fifth year. 21 companies have formed as a result of the program, and about a dozen of those are making significant progress.
“They’ve either raised a reasonable amount of money, they found a strategic partner, or they are making initial sales to customers,” added Buerkle. “Collectively, our graduates have raised close to $35 million in funding.”
Funded by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, NEXUS-NY facilitates the development of clean energy technologies that reduce emissions, improve efficiency or generate renewable energy. Participants in the program are creating advancements in such areas as energy storage, building materials and wind turbine designs. They come from the region’s leading research institutions, including Rochester Institute of Technology, the University of Rochester, University at Buffalo and Cornell University. NEXUS-NY is a program of NextCorps.
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