West Henrietta, N.Y.
The problem: The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority has supported early-stage clean energy companies through grant awards and other programs for several years. Award recipients are often engineers, scientists or first-time entrepreneurs with little or no experience starting a company. Thus, they are more prone to failure when it comes to commercializing products and building a business around them. Next to lack of financial resources, one of the top reasons cited for start-up company failure is lack of experienced executive-level management.
The solution: To increase the number of NYSERDA-supported companies that successfully commercialize technologies and create jobs, the agency contracted with High Tech Rochester in 2010 to develop and operate the NYSERDA Entrepreneurs-in-Residence Program. The program matches serial entrepreneurs and executives with clean-tech start-ups across the state to coach the scientific and technical visionaries on how to create and build businesses. The NEIR Program connects EIR coaches with start-ups for project-based, short-term mentorship, resulting in entrepreneurs and/or companies that have an enhanced likelihood of success. High Tech Rochester already had an entrepreneur-in-residence program, which it modified and scaled up to meet NEIR’s statewide needs.
The results have been promising. “Working with an EIR is like being plugged into ‘the matrix,’” says the president of one assisted company, with the EIR providing “access to critical information that I did not know existed and did not realize I needed.” In its first two years, the program assisted more than 50 companies, creating 86 jobs and generating $16.5 million in economic activity. Scheduled to run through 2014, the program may be extended through 2017.
To participate, companies must be sponsored by one of six NYSERDA-funded incubators in the state, located in Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Albany, New York City, and on Long Island, or by a NYSERDA project manager.
Phone: (740) 593-4331
Fax: (740) 593-1996
PO Box 959
Athens, OH 45701-1565