TWC News: Capital Region Business Beat – UNY50 Helps Entrepreneurs & Start-ups
Some entrepreneurs will say one of the toughest parts of starting a business is finding resources to do so. Five years ago, non-profit organization Upstate Venture Connect began helping entrepreneurs and start-ups by connecting them to mentors, funding and other help. Jon Dougherty has more in this week’s Capital Region Business Beat.
SCHENECTADY, N.Y. — Nine years ago, David Dussault started his own company, but it wasn’t easy.
“I made a lot of mistakes early on when we started the business and I’ve learned a ton from those,” Dussault said.
Dussault is the President and CEO of Package One Industries, a manufacturing company based in Schenectady.
“I never had mentors. I’ve never had folks to come along side of me to say, ‘Hey Dave, I started an industrial business. Here’s the things you need to understand and know so you can overcome certain obstacles and things that we’ve gone through,” said Dussault.
After nearly a decade of running a successful business, Dussault wanted to share his story with others. He became one of 50 business leaders and investors across New York state to connect with Upstate Venture Connect (UVC).
“Our mission is to build, measure and celebrate upstate New York’s start-up’s economy,” said Jonathan Grutka, UVC’s Director of Growth Initiatives.
The non-profit organization connects business leaders to entrepreneurs, and recently launched a new program, Upstate New York 50 (UNY50).
“Upstate Venture Connect has the resources, the mentors and the relationship capital to help you, assist you and speed you up through that start to end game,” Grutka said.
Grutka said UNY50 helps give as many resources as possible to entrepreneurs to start businesses in upstate New York, and with new businesses comes new jobs.
“We want to keep our talent here and we want to provide the means to start companies successfully so they can stay in Syracuse, they can stay in Albany, they can stay in Schenectady and other places,” Dussault said.
Dussault said New York has more than 100 colleges and universities, and billions of dollars in funding available each year to start-up businesses. He said with those resources in reach, upstate New York can be the next Silicon Valley.
“When we look out 20 years on a ‘per capita’ basis, we want venture capital and angel funding dollars to be the number one in the country in upstate New York because we have resources here and that’s the win for us,” said Dussault.
Dussault said he believes UNY50 will make that a reality.