Entrepreneurial Resource Center
Resources to help expand your business endeavors in the Greater Rochester, NY region.
Rochester Resources for Entrepreneurs
The Greater Rochester, NY Region is a great place to start a new business. Innovation and technology have thrived in Rochester for decades, and they continue to do so today. Companies in Rochester enjoy dynamic growth opportunities, an exciting culture and a great sense of community.
Laboratory for Laser Energetics
The Laboratory for Laser Energetics (LLE) of the University of Rochester is a unique national resource for research and education in science and technology. The Rochester area has a history of innovation and provides a unique setting for LLE within a technologically sophisticated community. Established in 1970 as a center for the investigation of the interaction of intense radiation with matter, the Laboratory has the five-fold mission:
A. To conduct implosion experiments and basic physics experiments in support of the National Inertial Confinement Fusion (ICF) program.
B. To develop new laser and materials technologies.
C. To provide graduate and undergraduate education in electro-optics, high-power lasers, high-energy-density physics, plasma physics, and nuclear fusion technology.
D. To operate the National Laser User’s Facility.
E. To conduct research and development in advanced technology related to high-energy-density phenomena.
The Goergen Institute for Data Science at the University of Rochester, New York’s only Center of Excellence in Data Science, and UR’s related partnership with New York State aims to meet growing workforce demands of New York companies in data science to train technical specialists, managers, clinicians and others versed in the field of data science.
Biomedical Science Research Centers
The list below outlines some of the university’s biomedical centers.
Aab Institute of Biomedical Sciences
The Aab Institute of Biomedical Sciences enhances the University’s strong biomedical research program by creating an organizational structure and professional environment that foster outstanding interdisciplinary research. The institute structure allows scientists to focus their efforts on research by minimizing the academic and administrative responsibilities that often distract academic scientists. Researchers within the institute will benefit from close associations with colleagues within the institute and throughout the University.
Rochester Center for Biomedical Ultrasound
The Rochester Center for Biomedical Ultrasound at the University of Rochester was created in 1986 to unite professionals from both the medical and engineering communities. The Center provides a unique environment where professionals can join together to investigate the use of very high frequency sound waves in medical diagnosis and treatment along with other medical imaging bioeffects endeavors.
Center for Visual Science
CVS was founded in 1963 by Robert M. Boynton to bring together scientists from a variety of disciplines with the common goal of pursuing excellence in vision research. CVS consists of more than 25 research laboratories. These laboratories represent a diverse range of studies that span the development of the visual system to the interaction between visual perception and memory. Our investigators employ an equally diverse set of approaches, from molecular genetics and cellular biology to neurophysiology and psychophysics.
Sciences and Engineering
The list below describes some of the university’s science and engineering research centers.
Center for Emerging and Innovative Sciences
CEIS is one of 15 NYSTAR sponsored Centers for Advanced Technology (CATs) devoted to promoting economic development in the greater Rochester region and New York State. CEIS carries out its mission by developing and transferring technology to industry for commercialization and by educating the next generation of leaders in the fields of electronic imaging and microelectronics design. CEIS is one of the only 5 CATs which are enhanced or expanded to provide additional research in a specific area.
Center for Optics Manufacturing
The Center is a partnership of the American Precision Optics Manufacturers Association (APOMA), several universities (Rochester, Central Florida and Arizona) and the U.S. Army. This award-winning cooperative effort is developing real-world technology solutions that are redefining industry manufacturing capability. University scientists work with industry partners to optimize shop floor productivity, promote continuous improvement, and deliver quality. This joint effort advances technology, expands the skill base, fosters education, and maximizes the potential of the U.S. precision optics industry.
Wireless Communications and Networking Group
Our research spans many layers of the network protocol stack, from media access control (MAC) protocols to routing and transport layers and middleware for mobile systems. We develop communication and networking solutions for both sensor networks and mobile ad-hoc networks.
Center for Photoinduced Charge Transfer
The Center for Photoinduced Charge Transfer (CPCT) was founded in 1989 as one of the eleven original NSF Science and Technology Centers with a mission to pursue fundamental research in the area of photoinduced charge transfer through a unique university-industrial collaboration involving the University of Rochester, Eastman Kodak, and Xerox. Photoinduced charge transfer is the fundamental process by which light energy is converted to potential energy associated with separation of electrical charge. It is the key step in photography, xerography, solar energy conversion, and photosynthesis. The CPCT is dedicated to understanding the underlying chemistry and physics of photoinduced charge transfer processes.
Rochester Institute of Technology is home to over 50 labs and centers across more than 30 disciplines. The university’s strength lies in a multidisciplinary approach to research. RIT researchers focus on primarily three key research areas that support the global challenges of our society – Imaging, Sustainability, and Bio-X. In addition, RIT has a number of other Centers of Excellence in specific research fields.
Imaging science is vital in homeland security, disaster management, and medical diagnostics. Researchers at RIT are creating technologies that will revolutionize the use of imaging applications. RIT specializes in:
- Remote Sensing
- Space Science & Astronomy
- Color Science
- Biomedical Imaging
- NanoImaging & Materials
- Printing & Graphics Media
- Vision & Visual Communications
- Preservation & Reconstruction Imaging
Key centers and labs include:
The Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science is a highly interdisciplinary University Research and Education Center, dedicated to pushing the frontiers of imaging in all its forms and uses.
The Media, Arts, Games, Interaction and Creativity (MAGIC) Center at RIT connects RIT’s programs in technology, game design, and the creative arts to prototype commercial-grade interactive media projects in collaboration with industry.
The Image Permanence Institute is a recognized world leader in the development and deployment of sustainable practices for the preservation of images and cultural property.
The Munsell Color Science Laboratory is dedicated to research and education in color science.
The Future Photon Initiative develops photonic devices in pursuit of answers to grand questions, leveraging efforts of existing RIT research groups who develop technology for the generation, transmission, manipulation, absorption, and detection of photons.
RIT’s sustainability research is developing sustainable processes that meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
- Sustainable Production
- Alternative Fuels
- Energy Systems
- Pollution Prevention
- Public Policy
- NanoPower Research
- Sustainable Engineering
- Environmental Science
- Clean Energy Incubator
- Preservation & Reconstruction Imaging
- Sustainable Mobility
Key institutions and centers include:
The Golisano Institute for Sustainability was formed in 2007 following a $10 million gift from entrepreneur B. Thomas Golisano. The institute focuses on research and education in sustainable production, environmental policy, sustainable business development and alternative energy, building on more than a decade of applied research by RIT’s Center for Integrated Manufacturing Studies.
The Center for Integrated Manufacturing Studies (CIMS) was established in 1992 with a mission to increase the competitiveness of manufacturers through applied technology and training.
The New York State Pollution Prevention Institute (NYSP21) at RIT provides funds and support to students, researchers, and companies to come up with new sustainable ideas and concepts and implement sustainability solutions.
Bio-X builds on RIT’s core technical strengths to address biology, health-care, and medical challenges through interdisciplinary research.
- Cardiovascular & Respiratory
- Access Technology
- Infectious Diseases
- Biomedical Imaging
- Environmental & Conservation Science
- Health Informatics
- Efficient Hospital Care
Key centers include:
The Center for Bioscience Education and Technology (CBET) is the Rochester region’s hub for customized workforce training and professional-development services in the biosciences.
RIT is home to other multidisciplinary centers of excellence that compliment RIT’s core research capabilities.
The Albert J. Simone Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (established in 2007) enhances earlier Entrepreneurship activities on RIT’s campus, including the RIT Venture Creations Incubator.
The IT Collaboratory is an RIT led research collaboration with the University at Buffalo’s Institute for Lasers, Photonics and Biophotonics and the NYS College of Ceramics at Alfred University in nanomaterial science, microsystems, photonics, remote sensing systems, and other information technologies.
Venture Creations, RIT’s business incubator, occupies 27,000 square feet adjacent to the RIT campus at 125 Tech Park Drive. The incubator supports the creation of business opportunities based on RIT’s core competencies. Venture Creations also fosters experiential learning in entrepreneurship among RIT’s students and faculty
Rochester Angel Network
The Rochester Angel Network is a private group of accredited Rochester investors with an interest in investing in seed and early-stage startup companies. The network provides an accessible and efficient forum by which entrepreneurs can find potential investors, and investors can find deals of interest.
Excell Partners, Inc.
Excell Partners is a unique regional economic development partnership established in cooperation with the University of Rochester and the State of New York to manage a state-supported fund which provides pre-seed and seed stage financing to high-tech start-up companies in the Upstate New York Region. The mission of the fund is to support regional economic development by bridging the pre-seed and seed stage funding gap in Upstate New York while generating sufficient returns so that, over time, the fund becomes self-sustaining.
Impellent Ventures is an early stage venture fund that is merging the mentorship and capital relationships of tier 1 technology ecosystems with reemergent technology across the rust belt. With offices in Rochester and Boston, Impellent invests in preseed and seed stage ventures that are using technology to disrupt major marketplaces. Their partners include world class entrepreneurs from leading public and private companies including Paychex, Android, Google Ventures, Twitter, ACV Auctions, DraftKings, ButcherBox, CloudCheckr, and others.
U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission
Important information regarding securities laws and how they affect your company’s ability to raise capital. Be sure to check with your attorney and accountant for additional details.
Federal and State Grant Programs
Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program
SBIR is a highly competitive program that encourages small businesses to explore their technological potential and provides the incentive to profit from their commercialization.
Small Business Technology Transfer Research (STTR) Program
STTR is an important new small business program that expands funding opportunities in the federal innovation research and development arena. Central to the program is the expansion of the public/private sector partnership to include the joint venture opportunities for small business and the nation’s premier nonprofit research institutions.
U.S. Department of Energy Inventions and Innovation Program
The Inventions and Innovation (I&I) program provides financial assistance for conducting early development and establishing the technical performance of innovative energy saving ideas and inventions.
NY State Energy Research & Development Authority (NYSERDA)
Provides financial assistance for development and/or commercialization of new or innovative technologies.
Small Businesses Banking Resources
U.S. Small Business Administration
Provides multiple resources, including information on SBA loans, and SBIC equity investments
The Upstate Capital Association of New York
The Upstate Capital Association of New York connects investors across the capital stack to opportunities across New York state. The organization also increases access to capital for companies and deal flow for investors by maintaining a robust statewide network, including capital providers, entrepreneurs, professional advisors, and supporting organizations.
Upstate Venture Connect
UVC is a not-for-profit organization offering advisory services to communities seeking entrepreneurship growth, and high-growth founders ready for macro scale.
LaunchNY is a 501(c)(3) venture development organization whose mission is to identify, support and invest in high-growth, high-impact companies and catalyze the entrepreneurial culture to drive job and wealth creation in the 27 westernmost counties of Upstate New York.
New York State Small Business Technology Investment Fund (SBTIF)
The Small Business Technology Investment Fund (SBTIF) provides start-up high-tech companies throughout New York State with a source of venture capital to promote new job creation and economic growth. The Fund makes early-stage equity investments in companies that have developed innovative technology products or services and that display significant competitive advantage.
Trillium Group (Rochester, NY)
Trillium Group, LLC is a venture capital and commercial development company specializing in startup and early-stage businesses.
Rand Capital Corporation (Buffalo, NY)
Rand Capital provides venture capital and management experience to support the growth and development of businesses in varied industries, primarily in the Western New York and Upstate New York region.
Summer Street Capital Partners (Buffalo, NY)
Summer Street is a private equity investor that provides capital to support the following types of transactions: Growth Financing, Management Buy-Outs, Sale or Divestiture, General Transitions, Recapitalizations.
Cayuga Venture Fund (Ithaca, NY)
Cayuga Venture Fund II was formed to assist early-stage companies by providing both management skills and capitalization. A secondary mission of CVF II is to promote and support economic development in our region through job creation. Therefore, we preferentially invest in companies that have a regional presence but are players in worldwide markets.
DeltaPoint Capital Partners (Rochester, NY)
DeltaPoint Capital Management, LLC is a private equity partnership that makes investments in privately-held and/or closely-held companies primarily located in Upstate New York that are in the process of changing the majority control or acquiring the majority control of another business.
Enhanced Capital Partners (NY, NY)
Enhanced Capital Partners, LLC, formed in 1999, is a national investment firm specializing in state-specific investments in small and emerging companies with its private investment funds. Enhanced Capital generally makes investments in emerging and high growth companies seeking between $500,000 and $3,000,000 of equity capital.
Stonehenge Capital Corporation (NY, NY)
Stonehenge Capital Corporation is one of the largest and most active private equity firms in the country. Stonehenge currently manages several distinct private equity and mezzanine funds with approximately $500 million in capital through its offices in Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, Missouri, New York, Ohio, and Wisconsin
Luminate is the only international startup accelerator focused solely on next-generation optics, photonics and imaging (OPI). Located in the world capital of imaging—Rochester, New York—Luminate is bringing visionary entrepreneurs from around the globe together with OPI pioneers and qualified investors to speed innovation and time to market. It’s also providing early-stage companies with the capital necessary to further develop their technologies.
NextCorps helps tech startups and existing manufacturers grow their businesses through a variety of programs and mentoring opportunities, including facilitating funding opportunities. NextCorps’ incubator space includes a mix of private offices and co-working space, a 100-seat auditorium, a prototype lab, wet labs, multiple conference rooms, a kitchen/café, an outdoor rooftop events area, and other gathering spaces at its newly-renovated location in Rochester’s Downtown Innovation Zone.
URVentures is a hub that develops and commercializes the intellectual property that arises from research at the University of Rochester, which is a leader in computer science, optics and photonics, and life sciences. To bring University of Rochester’s world-class research to life, UR Ventures has created the Technology Development Fund (TDF) and the Drug Development Pilot Award. These programs exist to support UR researchers as they develop and de-risk their innovations for the marketplace.
Venture Creations – (RIT Incubator)
Venture Creations has been established to: Promote and foster entrepreneurship among RIT students, faculty, staff, and friends of the Institute; initiate and support promising new high technology business opportunities that are related to RIT and advance economic development in the region; produce long-term economic benefit to the Institute and the region through incubator operations, job creation, equity in new businesses, and enhanced relationships with new business founders.
NextCorps’ mission is to stimulate growth in the Greater Rochester, New York technology-based business sector. We actively facilitate the identification, development, and incubation of new and emerging business opportunities. We also work to improve the competitive position of this region’s established small manufacturing firms through product and process innovation.
RocStarts is an informational resource for entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship in the Rochester and Finger Lakes region that is managed by NextCorps.
Excell Partners, Inc.
Excell Partners is a unique regional economic development partnership established in cooperation with the University of Rochester and the State of New York to manage a state-supported fund that provides pre-seed and seed stage financing to high-tech start-up companies in the Upstate New York Region. The mission of the fund is to support regional economic development by bridging the pre-seed and seed stage funding gap in Upstate New York while generating sufficient returns so that, over time, the fund becomes self-sustaining.
TechRochester is a community of over 3,400 technology professionals and entrepreneurs from across the region working together to strengthen and grow the tech sector. With membership drawn from IT, telecom, engineering and the life sciences, TechRochester’s events and community services include an array of networking, educational, entrepreneurial and economic development activities designed to serve a broad spectrum of participants.
The Entrepreneurs Network
The Entrepreneurs Network (TEN) was created based on the best practices of leading entrepreneurial education, training, and networking programs. TEN offers a practical, business-oriented, and hands-on educational and networking program in which entrepreneurs are exposed to speakers with expertise in growing successful high-tech businesses.
New York State Small Business Development Center
A partnership program with the SBA, administered by the State University of New York (SUNY), which provides free services to assist small and growing businesses.
ROC Game Dev
Roc Game Dev is an organization dedicated to fostering a community of game creators in Rochester, NY. Its mission is to provide a local platform for game creators at beginner, amateur, and professional levels to learn, share, and collaborate in all aspects of building games.
The RocGrowth.com website was created as part of a new initiative in the Rochester / Finger Lakes, NY region known as the Finger Lakes Business Accelerator Cooperative. Born from a strategic plan developed by the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council’s Entrepreneurship & Innovation working group, the Business Accelerator Cooperative seeks to increase collaboration among all local entrepreneurial support organizations, and make it easier for local startups to find the right resources to help them grow their companies.
SCORE, “Counselors to America’s Small Business,” is a nonprofit association dedicated to providing entrepreneurs with free, confidential face-to-face and email business counseling. Business counseling and workshops are offered at 389 chapter offices across the country.
NextCorps hosts meetups, technology showcase events, workshops, and other programming not just for entrepreneurs and startups that are tenants of the incubator but for the community at large.
RocGrowth seeks to increase collaboration among all local entrepreneurial support organizations, and make it easier for local startups to find the right resources to help them grow their companies. RocGrowth puts on free monthly coffee networking events and the “RocGrowth Candids” series which spotlights a growing industry or industries and startups working in that space in the region.
TechRochester, the Greater Rochester NY region’s technology business association, hosts workshops and large-scale events to highlight trends in the local and national technology industries. The organization hosts signature events each year, as well – the Rochester Tech Woman of the Year Awards and the GREAT Awards (Greater Rochester Excellence in Applied Technology) to recognize leadership and innovation
Coworking Spaces in Rochester, NY
The Greater Rochester, NY region is home to a growing number of high-end coworking spaces for entrepreneurs and individuals working independently or collaboratively.
Carlson Cowork offers monthly memberships which include high-speed fiber wifi, parking, and bi-weekly events and meetings. Located at 60 Carlson Rd., Rochester, NY 14610.
Cowork @ Grid, located in Rochester’s High Falls District, offers plans ranging from daily drop-ins to 24/7 access plus a reserved desk (the organization also offers a multi-month discount). Off-street parking is validated and amenities include high speed wifi, mail delivery, and an onsite café. Address: 300 State Street, Suite 703, Rochester, NY 14614.
Element Cowork aims to serve all remote employees, entrepreneurs, small business owners and businesses with desk and office space and workshops and classes. Element’s mission is to provide a space with a shared focus towards equality to women in the workplace. You can find it at 215 Alexander Street, Rochester, NY 14607.
The Innovation Zone, located in the Dr. Bruce A. Holm MedTech Center in Batavia, Genesee County, provides comprehensive support for turning great ideas into high-growth businesses. Well-suited for high-tech and medical device companies, the Innovation Zone offers access to experienced professionals and robust resources in a creative space for entrepreneurs. 99 MedTech Drive, Batavia, NY 14020.
Interlock Rochester is a 501(c)3 non-profit Hackerspace whose goal is to provide a physical space and community to its members and the public at large. Interlock provides workshops, classes, and a community of hackers with a wide range of interests: 3D Printing, information security, electronics, micro-controllers, laser cutting, radios, programming, networking, and much more that falls on the geek spectrum. Address: 1115 E. Main St., Rochester, NY 14609.
MetroCowork was created in the belief that collaboration and smart use of resources is the future of business. Metro was founded by a collective of Rochesterians and implants who care about elevating talent and providing affordable, flexible, work and desk pace in the community at multiple locations.
The Rochester Makerspace is a nonprofit community workshop and art studio in the Upper Falls neighborhood, near downtown. They provide affordable access to a wide variety of tools and equipment, work space, and resources to creators from diverse backgrounds. Find your own makerspace at 850 St. Paul Street, Rochester, NY 14605.
Serendipity Labs Inc. will open a 25,000 sf coworking and flexible office facility on the 23rd and 24th floors at Innovation Square. Serendipity Labs offers an elevated workplace experience with high-end finishes and state-of-the-art AV for hybrid meetings. Innovation Square joins the Serendipity Labs network of more than 30 locations throughout the U.S. and U.K. Ample parking in the attached Innovation Square garage and easy access to major freeways make it an excellent office option for Rochester professionals.
@SibleyWorx is a 16,000 sq. ft. cowork space located in The Sibley Building in Rochester’s Downtown Innovation Zone. You’ll be able to explore this coworking space at 250 E Main St, Rochester, NY 14604.
SPOT is Western New York’s fastest growing cowork and business center, with several more sites in the planning phase for 2019 including the City of Rochester and Henrietta. SPOT offers a shared, community-driven workspace for location-independent workers. Henrietta and Victor residents take note: you’ll find this gem at 600 Fishers Station, Victor NY, 14564.
Other Resources for Entrepreneurs
Additional resources and links to help support you in starting and growing your business.
We’ve developed vaccines to prevent cervical cancer right here in Rochester.
Vice President and COO, University of Rochester Medical Center
You know your business.
We know Greater Rochester.
Let’s team up.
Thank You To Our Investors
Rochester has a great work base. They’re loyal. They’re smart. They’re well educated and they want to succeed.
Executive Chairman and CEO, Eastman Kodak
We keep and maintain and are investing specifically in Rochester because that is where the talent is. We don’t succeed without the right talent.
Vice President and General Manager, Corning Incorporated
Rochester has the manufacturing capability, testing capability, and intellectual horsepower.
Past Chairman, NY BEST
Rochester has a deep talent pool around all of the things that we need to do to commercialize advanced materials for the energy economy.
Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer, Ionomr
The decision to expand locally was a relatively easy one for CooperVision. The Rochester area has provided so many of the elements necessary for a successful operation.
The proximity to top colleges and industry-leading companies, in addition to the quality of life in Western New York, made the decision to open our second office in Rochester an easy one.
Director, Security Risk Advisors
Rochester is home to some of the finest optics companies in the nation, almost all of which OptiPro does business with.
We have a long history of people skilled in aerospace technology and precision optical assembly. We take advantage of the industrial base in the Rochester area. We also take advantage of the skill sets developed by our local technical institutions like MCC, RIT, or the University of Rochester.”
Cryogenic Optical Test Director for James Webb Space Telescope, L3 Harris
We have inherited an exceptional quality of life thanks to an impressive cluster of cultural organizations, unparalleled natural resources, and a resilient and welcoming spirit of community.
President, Rochester Insititute of Technology
Once people get here and their families get used to short commute times, low home prices, the fact we have all kinds of recreational sporting activities, the quality of schools, they don’t want to leave.
CEO and Chairman, Sweetwater Energy
Rochester has provided ID Signsystems with the ability to grow and develop by tapping into the region’s large pool of design-focused talent, technicians, engineers and sign makers.
President, ID Signsystems
Our network of local universities, colleges, and optics companies has created a workforce pipeline that is unmatched anywhere in the United States.
GRE’s direction and guidance proved to be well worth our investment. Their passion to make the business environment in the Rochester area greater is very apparent.
There is unlimited, untapped technical talent in the area and I hope we start a wave of other companies moving to Rochester.
Rochester has a long history of being a hub for telecommunications. There is a rich ecosystem of talent and services to support business growth.
Founder and CEO, Wire3
Rochester is the perfect size city to get business done. I’m always one connection away from anything I’m looking for.
President, Kink BMX
The work we’ve done and the momentum we’ve generated as a business has been possible in large part because of the talent, knowledge and industriousness of our people in Rochester, NY.
CEO, Brand Networks
We have access to talent graduating from our businesses and technical institutions capable of perpetuating our success for years to come.
President & CEO, Simcona Electronics
The Rochester region provided convenient access to both railroads and major highways, as well as proximity to Barilla’s customer base in the Northeast.
Vice President of Supply Chain, Barilla America
We’re excited about this area. There’s high-quality milk in the region. There’s a lot of top talent. The industry, the innovation, the technical experience , the work ethic is all attractive to us.
Vice President of Manufacturing, fairlife
The country is starting to recognize Rochester as a technical city outside of just software. We have optics and manufacturing that’s exceeding most of the baselines around the country.
Rochester has the resources optics companies need to transform their concepts into reality.
Dr. Duncan T. Moore
Vice Provost for Entrepreneurship and Professor of Optical Engineering
Rochester has a great base of intellectual capital in the science and technology fields at local businesses and universities.
Daniel J. Burns
Regional President, M&T Bank Corporation
We’ve developed vaccines to prevent cervical cancer right here in Rochester.
Vice President and COO, University of Rochester Medical Center
Among many great options, none could match Rochester in terms of talent, local supplier networks, and opportunities to partner with top-tier research institutions.
CEO, Plug Power