The SUNY New Paltz School of Business will serve as an Innovation Hot Spot for the Mid-Hudson Valley and receive grant funding of $250,000 annually for five years, following Empire State Development’s announcement of its latest Regional Economic Development Council Initiative awards.
The award recognizes the New Paltz School of Business’s Hudson Valley Venture Hub and its years of service as a resource hub for the regional startup and entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Since 2018, the Venture Hub has worked to connect and support founders, investors, scholars and executives through in-house programming like the successful HV Mentors network. It also creates unique opportunities for SUNY New Paltz students, especially those in the undergraduate Entrepreneurship major, to apply classroom learning in real-world situations and build relationships with professionals in the area.
“The School of Business established the Venture Hub as a means to pursue our vision to be the business resource hub of the Hudson Valley,” said School of Business Dean Kristin Backhaus. “We are delighted to realize our vision through this designation and to continue to serve the business community.”
This marks the first time that the state’s Innovation Hot Spot for the Mid-Hudson region – which encompasses Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster and Westchester Counties – will be situated in Ulster County.
The relocation of this center of entrepreneurial gravity will create new opportunities to expand business services to underserved areas and communities. To date, roughly 70% of the small businesses that have partnered with the Venture Hub are women- or minority-owned.
Those partnerships take many forms. Some recent examples include a first-time entrepreneur with a patent-pending product who was able to develop a 3D-printed prototype at SUNY New Paltz; a gluten-free baker who was connected with an established industry leader for advice on planning their business’s future in light of inflationary and workforce challenges; and a founder who got support redesigning and relaunching their web presence and modernizing their strategy to achieve new growth.
The new funding and status as the Mid-Hudson Valley’s Innovation Hot Spot will allow the Venture Hub to continue and expand these efforts, both in scale and in geographic reach. Among the first agenda items is a cross-county listening tour to promote open dialogue and identify key priorities for regional businesses and organizations.
“This resource and support from the state will allow the Hudson Valley Venture Hub to scale more free resources for entrepreneurs,” said Eliza Edge, director of the Hudson Valley Venture Hub. “We want to be a part of growing strong companies and jobs for New York’s future, by connecting entrepreneurs across the Mid-Hudson Valley region to the support, mentorship and investment they need, when they need it.”
Empire State Development, New York’s chief economic development agency, awards these Innovation Hot Spot grants through its Regional Economic Development Council initiative, which consists of public-private partnerships who collaboratively evaluate community-based proposals for investing in jobs and economic growth in New York State.