Binghamton University and partners receive final federal funding for first high-tech incubator in Southern Tier

By WBNG News

Binghamton University and partners receive final federal funding for first high-tech incubator in Southern Tier

November 8, 2013 Updated Nov 8, 2013 at 3:55 PM EDT

(WBNG Binghamton) New York Senator Charles E. Schumer on Friday announced that the Binghamton University’s Southern Tier High Technology Incubator Inc. has received a final $2 million award through the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA), which will develop a shovel ready construction site for a 40,000 square foot high-tech business and technology incubator in downtown Binghamton.

According to a news release from Schumer's office:

This year, Binghamton University submitted a funding application for the project to the EDA Public Works program to support long-term economic recovery and job creation in New York's flood ravaged Southern Tier.  Following the submission of this application, Schumer connected local Broome County officials with EDA representatives to begin a dialogue about this effort and wrote Acting Assistant Secretary Matthew Erksine in support of the project.  Schumer announced the preliminary award in July 2013, which required further documentation from applicants. Schumer announced today that after his push and a rigorous merit review process by the EDA, the agency notified Binghamton that they would grant a $2 million award.

“I am thrilled that this final award from the Economic Development Administration is signed, sealed and delivered so Binghamton University and Broome County can get to work, creating the first-ever high- tech business incubator in the region. This high-tech incubator will help draw new companies to downtown Binghamton and create and support hundreds of high-tech jobs in the process,” said Schumer. “This partnership between the Broome County IDA, the local government and Binghamton University is exactly what the region needs to advance business development, and in light of the repeated devastation that the local economy has endured due to flooding, it is long-awaited and well-deserved.”

Schumer noted that this project is a partnership between the local government, the Broome County IDA, Binghamton University, and aims to strengthen the greater Binghamton region’s economy. Specifically, this economic redevelopment project, called “The Southern Tier High Tech Incubator,” would be a first of its kind facility in the region aimed at delivering affordable and specialized commercial space to help support, cultivate and grow high-tech companies in the Southern Tier. Schumer stated that the project will have a massive economic impact on the region, by injecting a total of $21 million in public and private investment into the local economy and supporting the University's goal of commercializing local research into clean, high-tech jobs in the City's downtown.

“We appreciate Sen. Schumer’s engagement in this critical high-tech business incubator initiative,” said Binghamton University President Harvey Stenger. “His support underscores the importance of the high tech business incubator to the Southern Tier. The incubator will be a cornerstone for the economic revitalization of the region and this $2 million in funding from the Economic Development Administration will enable us to move forward with the project.”

Funding for the incubator will come from a variety of sources, of which the $2 million EDA grant is a crucial part. In December 2012, the State of New York committed $7 million to the project from the Regional Economic Development Council and the project has a $2 million commitment from the Broome County IDA. The group will reapply to NYS REDC in the next round for the remaining funds necessary to finish the project.

The partnership will continue to pursue other avenues for funding if need be, and regardless of the NYS REDC outcome, Schumer noted that they are one-hundred percent committed to getting this project off the ground. The EDA grant Schumer helped secure is a critical piece of the puzzle in the funding of the high-tech incubator.

Now that this funding commitment is finalized, the Incubator project will provide a high-tech space for up to 12 companies focusing on research and development in energy, microelectronics, and healthcare in Binghamton- the first of its kind in the region. It will include specialized laboratories and other features associated with industry-based science and technology research, development and manufacturing. Incubator tenants will have the benefits of co-located resources, including on-site legal, accounting, banking and other service partners. Tenants will also have the opportunity to establish and maintain close contact with the research, development and educational initiatives being conducted at Binghamton University and Broome Community College. Opportunities include access to a university-based skilled workforce and university staff charged with relationship building between industry and academia; availability of university multi-user facilities;  human resource matching programs such as internships and co-ops; and university technology transfer and commercialization offices.

The private sector investment community will be encouraged to have a presence at the Incubator with the goal of mentoring incubating firms to the point of investment support. In addition, Broome County has committed to relocating its business incubator to the facility, which will catalyze additional opportunities for developing companies. The Incubator is projected to generate measurable economic impact for the region and is likely to have a regional economic impact of $21 million and create 229 jobs associated with construction. Within five years of completion, The Incubator expects to sustain an annual economic impact of $17 million associated with job creation,  locate and foster 24 new companies with 120 total employees, employ up to five full time staff members, and will maintain two anchor tenants with an additional 28 employees. Schumer argued that the EDA investment in the Incubator is getting great bang for its buck.