Binghamton University becomes one of the first campuses for Start-Up NY

By Matt Porter

April 8, 2014 Updated Apr 8, 2014 at 6:42 PM EDT

Vestal, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Binghamton University will be one of the first SUNY campuses to host high-tech businesses as part of the new Start-Up New York initiative.

Chroma NanoTech, a high-tech company born out of Binghamton University, will be one of the first to benefit from the START Up New York initiative.

The company makes cheaper materials to enhance common plastics including materials found on sunglasses and plasma TVs.

"No one is out there in the marketplace today with this nanotechnology," said co-founder and BU research professor William Bernier, "And we can supplant current suppliers out there which are supplying very expensive compounds."

The company will be given office and lab space on campus without paying state taxes in its first ten years.

"That will provide us more funding to pour into our research work to commercialize it," Bernier said.

BU graduate student Kenneth Skorenko started with Chroma NanoTech as part of his research.

"I'm lucky to have the opportunity to work directly coming out of grad school," Skorenko said. "This allows me a direct pathway into the industrial sector."

In exchange for receiving space from the university, start up companies will be required to have partnerships with BU including offering internships to current students.

Per Stromhaug, executive director for BU's Entrepreneurship and Innovation Partnerships program, said the the program is designed to create strong relationships between new businesses, the university, and the community.

"It will provide opportunities for internships, that they want to hire students, research collaboration, they can apply for grants together," Stromhaug said.

BU has made 21 offices available at its Innovative Technologies Center.

The program will include another 20,000 square feet of office space at the downtown incubator once it is built.

"It makes it easier for them because they're close to where the university resources are," Stromhaug said, "Close to where they have the support from our offices to get the company going."

Four companies, including Chroma NanoTech, are already committed to moving in to the new spaces this month.