Start-ups look to Congressman Hanna for help

By Matt Porter

August 5, 2013 Updated Aug 6, 2013 at 1:32 PM EDT

Vestal, NY (WBNG Binghamton) When Binghamton University professor Chuck Schwerin took over Sonostics, a high-tech healthcare company, he did so with a mission.

The company devises treatments for muscle pain using technology based on sound waves.

He believed their non-invasive treatment for muscle therapy would be a revolution.

"We are simply listening to the muscle as it vibrates, as the fibers vibrate underneath the skin," Schwerin said.

But good ideas cost thousands, if not ,millions to bring to life.

He said without collaborating with Binghamton University, the ability to do the initial research to get the company off the ground is nearly impossible.

"Outside of the confines of the university it's significantly more expensive," Schwerin said.

With the help of BU students and its small business incubator, Sonostics found its voice as one of the least invasive options for muscle therapy.

"There just needs to be a recognition that the ecosystem in the Southern Tier will support those kinds of spin offs," he said.

For that reason, Schwerin spoke at a public hearing with Republican Congressman Richard Hanna to ask for more public support of start-up companies.

Hanna serves as chairman of the House Subcommittee on Contracting and Workforce.

Hanna said it's important to help high-tech start-ups like Sonostics because they create better and more secure jobs.

"Filling those jobs which are almost always better paying, they're what we think of as historically middle-class jobs," Hanna said. "Taxpayers being rebuilt through places like this."

Loosening government regulations and increasing grants for start-up companies in incubators were suggested.

Start-up owners said tax breaks only help later if the businesses succeed and become profitable.

The problem is that there's only so much some wish to invest without guarantees.

Hanna said other states offer more incentives to help start-ups succeed.

Or high taxes force companies out of New York once they become profitable.

"We have seen businesses go just across the border," he said.

He hopes by listening to the suggestions of business leaders, he can reverse that path.

The hearing was an official one.

It was recorded and will be taken to Congress for other members of the same subcommittee to view.