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Plans for high-tech incubator moving forward

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Plans for high-tech incubator moving forward
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Two weeks after taking home more than $91 million in state economic development money, the Southern Tier is getting ready to put those funds to use. YNN's Chris Whalen tells us more about the project that will see the largest slice of that pie.

BROOME COUNTY, N.Y. -- Right now, they're just pictures. But in a few months, they'll start to become a reality.

"We're looking to get started and breaking ground here come early spring so we can get moving on this," said Broome County Executive Debbie Preston.

The Southern Tier High-Tech Incubator is one of 62 projects that will be funded with the $91.1 million awarded to the Southern Tier from New York State. Seven million dollars from the Regional Economic Development package will fund about a third of the $22 million facility.

"Statistics show that an incubator has a great impact on the future successes of small businesses," said Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chair and BU President Harvey Stenger.

When complete, the incubator will help about ten businesses at a time by getting them through the crucial early stages of development, a period when companies are more likely to fail.

"It's usually the time between the first prototype is made and the first sale is made. So that 'valley of death,' that development area is critical to be surrounded by support services in the financial area, the legal area, marketing," Stenger said.

Local officials say the help at the incubator will mean one thing: More jobs staying in the area.

"You have the college, you have the government, you have the private sector coming together as one unit for economic development, because this is going to create jobs," Preston said.

While the job incubator won't result in retaining all of the more than 3,000 graduates Binghamton University produces each year, there is hope that they will be able to transplant some former students into the next wave of young professionals in the Greater Binghamton area.

"We could see on the order of tens, twenties, hundreds, perhaps, staying to small businesses that they create on their own or that have been created and are looking for new employees," Stenger said.

If all goes as planned, companies will start utilizing the incubator in about two-and-a-half years.

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