Media Advisory: At Entrepreneur's Boot Camp, 'Idea Champions' Consider Launching High-Tech Firms

Release Date: June 1, 2012

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- An entrepreneur's boot camp at the University at Buffalo this month will help nine area inventors and innovators decide whether to move forward with launching high-tech companies.

Media are invited to attend the event, the annual Pre-Seed Workshop, on June 5 and 12 at UB's New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences at 701 Ellicott St. in Buffalo.

On these dates, each potential entrepreneur -- called an idea champion -- will work with a team of legal, business and commercialization experts to analyze the market potential of proposed companies. In closing presentations on June 12, each team will discuss business proposals with investors who will offer feedback.

A full agenda is available at (Please note that the June 4 welcome activities are private and closed to media.)

The workshop's participants range from a Roswell Park Cancer Institute researcher eyeing a therapeutics company to a UB physics assistant professor hoping to develop and market a membrane cholesterol test.

Of the nine potential entrepreneurs, seven have business ideas in life sciences. The other two are working in the energy sector.

"The Pre-Seed Workshop gives our region's innovators an opportunity to receive valuable feedback on the merits of new technologies relative to market opportunity," said Marnie LaVigne, UB associate vice president for economic development. "As we look to build Buffalo Niagara's high-tech economy, this kind of careful evaluation is critical to launching businesses that are successful and meet a market need."

The Pre-Seed Workshop (, founded and facilitated by Mark Wilson and Judy Albers, is an event that travels to various host institutions across New York State.

The workshop has helped entrepreneurs analyze nearly 300 high-tech ideas, launching or strengthening about 135 companies that have gone on to create about 500 jobs, Albers said. The June workshop in Buffalo will be the 50th Pre-Seed Workshop since the program's inception.

Success stories include one of last year's Buffalo idea champions, Kate Rittenhouse-Olson, UB professor of biotechnical and clinical laboratory sciences. Rittenhouse-Olson launched a company called For-Robin that looks to improve therapy for breast cancer patients, and will return to this year's event as a presenter on a panel of entrepreneurs.

Sponsors of the Pre-Seed Workshop include UB's New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences, the UB Center for Advanced Biomedical and Bioengineering Technology (UB CAT); National Grid and M.E.D-V.A.R - Metric Executive Services International LLC; Hodgson Russ LLP, the exclusive legal sponsor; and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), which is sponsoring the two energy sector idea champions and their teams of experts.

Media Contact Information

Charlotte Hsu
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