UB Foundation Incubator Marks 10th Anniversary; Eyes Even Greater Success As Part of UB Business Alliance

Release Date: November 5, 1998 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The University at Buffalo Foundation Incubator started in 1988 with two start-up companies and a total of three employees.

With companies it has assisted now totaling nearly 400 employees and $51 million in revenues, the incubator on Sweet Home Road is looking to even greater accomplishments as part of the new UB Business Alliance, which is designed to consolidate and enhance UB's economic- development and industrial-outreach activities.

The incubator is designed to foster the growth of brand-new Western New York companies run by faculty members, students or alumni or that license UB technologies, and/or are willing to provide learning opportunities for UB students.

As part of the UB Business Alliance, it will have a more integrated relationship with the university, in part as the result of recent recommendations by an interdisciplinary study group of faculty members.

"We are committed to doing what needs to be done to support the incubator and the success of our tenants," said Rebecca Landy, chief operating officer of the UB Business Alliance.

Operated in partnership with the Western New York Technology Development Center, the UB incubator is far more than just a provider of commercial office space.

Landy stressed that when tenants join the incubator, they benefit from a whole package of business services designed to meet the needs of high-tech, start-up firms. Benefits provided to incubator businesses include:

"This is very specialized space with services that can take your business from infancy to independence, that you virtually cannot get anywhere else in this region," said Landy.

The university's relationship with the incubator is a critical ingredient in that mix.

Landy noted, for example, that two owners of start-up companies in the incubator had expressed interest in a medicinal chemistry symposium sponsored recently by UB. Because of the incubator's university connection, they were able to attend at the reduced faculty rate.

Mark Rice, Ph.D., who founded the incubator at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and who "wrote the book" on university incubators, says UB's is in the top 10 percent in the U.S.

"More than 70 percent of tenants that started out in the incubator are still in business today and that's extraordinary," said Landy.

Still, she added, the university's administration looks forward to even better prospects for the incubator's tenants.

"We had one ATTO Technology, Inc.," said Landy, referring to the manufacturer of computer performance-enhancement devices, which is the incubator's most outstanding success story. "We plan to have half a dozen."

Arun Jain, Ph.D., Samuel P. Capen Professor of Marketing Research, chair of the UB Department of Marketing and a member of the faculty group that assessed the incubator, agrees that the key to its success is a much closer connection with UB.

"This is where the potential is, in aligning the incubator with the wonderful research and outstanding students in the university," he said. "We need to have internships, where students work with companies for projects in courses. These are truly exciting possibilities which would, I believe, differentiate our academic programs from those of other academic institutions in Western New York and elsewhere."

Faculty members, students, alumni and others interested in learning more about the UB Foundation Incubator should contact Jack McGowan, director of business incubation, at 716-636-3626 or .

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