Get up to $100k in pre-seed funding in our early-stage startup program

Your startup might change the world—but not if your product or service isn’t sellable. We’ll give you early help to validate its market potential.

Get a good start on your startup with the UB Cultivator, a cohort-based program that guides entrepreneurs to success through mentorship, tailored support and early-stage funding.

Cultivator Program.

Turn your adventure into a profitable venture

You'll work with us in an intensive, hybrid format—virtual and in person—to get the right guidance and funding at the right time.


We help you build a customized path to success through:

  • Mentorship
  • Early-stage funding
  • Cohort of innovative entrepreneurs
  • Networking and connections
  • Early risk identification
  • Market discovery
  • Customer discovery
  • Strategic guidance and business strategy from experienced entrepreneurs
  • A deep bench of mentors, entrepreneurs-in-residence, and subject matter experts
  • Fundraising preparation
  • Investor connections
  • Customer connections
  • Preparation and execution for revenue generation


We help early-stage startups that will likely achieve medium to high growth, create a presence in Western New York for Phase 2 and have or will form a connection to UB or Innovation Hub partners below.

Innovation hub.
Roswell Park.
Jacobs Institute.
Hauptman Woodwar.
Kaleida Health.

Empire State Development is supporting University at Buffalo, Roswell Park, Jacob's Institute, Hauptman-Woodward and Kaleida Health to help commercialize technologies generated through research. Incubation spaces are supported by the Innovation Hub initiative, a collaboration between UB and our partners.


Phase 1: Connect with experts, focus on early risk identification

First 3 months – can be virtual or in-person

Your team will participate with a cohort of like-minded entrepreneurs and learn from experts and mentors, who will give you strategic, hands-on guidance suited to your early-stage venture. We’ll work with your team to identify and rectify risks in the areas of:

  • Market and customer discovery
  • Value proposition
  • Product definition
  • Team development
  • Business strategy

Phase 2: Startup funding and strategy development

Next 6 months – can be virtual or in-person

Selected teams from Phase 1 receive an investment up to $100,000 and move on to Phase 2, where we’ll help you with:

  • Critical gap funding for product/market validation
  • Investor connections
  • Free incubation space
  • Networking and customer connections
  • Minimum Viable Product development
  • Strategic guidance and business strategy



Additional resources for startup growth

Build your business and connect with a diverse network of entrepreneurs in our two business incubators—the Incubator @ CBLS downtown and the Incubator @ Baird near North Campus.

E-Law Center.

Tap into legal services at our Entrepreneurship Law Center if you're not ready to engage outside counsel, but still need quality legal guidance.

Seed Fund.

Take your business to the next level with up to $250,000 from our venture capital fund, the Buffalo Innovation Seed Fund.