The Western New York Incubator Network is a collaborative effort of ten business incubators from New York's Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie and Niagara Counties that helps startups by linking them to the vast talent and resources at the University at Buffalo.
In 2013, New York State created the Innovation Hot Spot program to fund operations in business incubators and extend tax incentives to qualified ventures in participating incubators. The New York State-designated Innovation Hot Spot is managed by the UB Business & Entrepreneur Partnerships office. This network of incubators works together to help new ventures grow quickly, achieve greater profitability, and become more attractive to investors. It does this by sharing best practices, facilitating networking opportunities, providing mentoring and offering educational and financial resources to better assist incubator client companies. Two incubators are located at UB: UB Technology Incubator and the UB Biosciences Incubator.
WIN has several core programs. Innovation Hot Spot tax-incentives are available to incubated ventures in their first five years of operation and include state sales tax credits and income tax credits for the company and its principals. The program is designed to allow ventures to participate in START-UP NY upon graduation from the incubator. The Embedded Consultants Program shares the expense of incubator client companies that retain outside experts to address development milestones. Through Pitch Prep, WIN convenes local business leaders to provide entrepreneurs with several rounds of coaching on their business pitches before pairing them with a venture capitalist to provide additional insight. A network of vetted, trusted service providers offer discounted rates to incubator companies. WIN's Federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) assistance programs link qualified SBIR/STTR applicants with outside experts to submit timely, high-quality proposals to relevant federal agencies.
WIN incubators are available to students, faculty and businesses in all stages of development—from idea to early stage firm growth. Most business incubator clients are startups with significant potential to scale, whose capabilities are still incomplete.