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.