Canada is aiming to woo bright young entrepreneurs with a startup visa program. The plan offers immediate permanent residence to foreign nationals who are able to secure business funding from Canadian investors. But, there are mixed feelings in the U.S. about the benefits of following suit.
The grades are in and the Finger Lakes region is top-of-the-class for business friendliness in New York state. That’s the conclusion of a new small businesses survey conducted by Thumbtack.com. But the survey also shows that the state still lags in a national comparison.
In the lobby of the historic Syracuse Trust Building in downtown - currently under renovation - a bunch of people gathered on Thursday afternoon to hear the ideas of some startup businesses. The location was picked to show off two parts of Syracuse on the up-and-up: its downtown and its startup scene.
It’s a Friday afternoon at the Technology Garden, a business incubator in Syracuse. The dozen or so staff members of software design company Rounded Development are sitting around on couches, chowing on Dinosaur Barbeque take-out and chatting up ideas for new products.
The Rochester Institute of Technology has launched a venture fund to help boost economic development in the region. Businesses with ties to the university will be eligible for funding through the fund.
It's not hard to think of the Silicon Valley, or maybe Boston and more recently New York City, when pondering the best place to be as a young entrepreneur. But cities all over the country are trying to become just as popular. Some are doing better than others.
Sean Branagan doesn't want to get any angry phone calls from the NCAA's lawyers for ripping off their idea, but he took inspiration from a certain national college basketball tournament, held every March, for a new student startup competition.
One-hundred long days full of presentations, meetings with mentors and practicing investor pitches is all done.
The first-ever StartFast Venture Accelerator concluded Thursday morning with its Demo Day.
"Saying it was all hard would be an understatement," said Timothy Beckford, a founder of PadProof, a program to help professional photographers sell their pictures more easily. "It was a tremendous undertaking. We worked like crazy."
Nine companies entered StartFast back in May, but only eight made it through. The teams were given seed money, workspace and access to dozens of mentors.
Buffalo’s latest business incubator is on the hunt for small tech companies who are long on ideas, but perhaps short on cash, office space and personnel.
Calling itself Buffalo’s first Internet-focused incubator, Z80 Labs launched Monday with a well-orchestrated launch party featuring the region’s tech elite, as well as Forbes CEO Mike Perlis, and prominent venture capitalist Fred Wilson.
Four years ago, Erick Cleckner was sitting next to his friend, Dave Chenell, in a class at Syracuse University. But they weren't exactly paying attention.
"[We were] just drawing in our notebooks instead of taking notes," remembers Cleckner. "And we were arguing about whose drawing would win a fight."
Their debate about whose character would triumph didn't end when class was dismissed. Cleckner and Chenell started working on a digital battlefield where their sketches could actually engage in battle.
Ariel Norling, 20, is from San Antonio, Texas. She has a lip ring and a spunky attitude to match. She majored in policy studies at Syracuse University.
Oh, and she's the CEO of her own online dating site called YouShouldDate.me. Tagline: "Online dating sucks, but it doesn't have to."
"We're trying to find the middle ground between 'casual whatever,' which generally just means people hooking up, and marriage," says Norling, describing her site.
She says she didn't really expect to become an entrepreneur - hence the social sciences degree. But last fall, after some convincing by a friend, Norling decided to pitch her idea at a local startup weekend.
It was his 22-year-old niece that gave Amir Cohen the inspiration to quit his job working in Israel's tech sector and start his own company.
Every time she gets in a taxicab in Israel she has her cell phone in-hand, ready to call her father in case of an emergency.
"This was the original trigger," Cohen recalls. "Letting people feel safer and be safer on their daily routine - when they're going to a party, getting in a taxi, whatever."
The end product: a smartphone app called Guard My Angel that allows users to pre-program a list of emergency contacts. If you feel threatened or are in an accident, an alert is sent out with your location.
Brian Page and Benjamin Onyejuruwa stood in front of the panel of judges with their hands full of groceries in an attempt to show how much easier their invention - an electronic ID and key programmed into a bracelet - could be.
The duo are roommates and freshman at Clarkson University. They made the trip down to Syracuse University on Friday to pitch QuickWhrist for a chance to win seed money from the university's Emerging Talk program.
Even as a freshman, Onyejuruwa already holds a patent for the technology.