Research News

UB, NYSTAR join to extend WNY Incubator Network

Photo of Baird Research Park.

The UB Technology Incubator on Sweet Home Road adjacent to the North Campus is one of the partner incubators that make up the WNY Incubator Network, or WIN. Photo: Douglas Levere


Published March 16, 2017

headshot of Thomas Murdock.
“Our mandate is to build globally relevant, market-driven companies to create jobs in Western New York.”
Thomas Murdock, manager
WNY Incubator Network

The WNY Incubator Network (WIN), a collaborative effort of business incubators managed by UB, has received a five-year extension from Empire State Development’s Division of Science, Technology and Innovation (NYSTAR) and will continue its operations through 2021.

The extension includes annual funding of $250,000 from NYSTAR and WIN partners, as well as the ability to issue state tax incentives to early-stage incubator ventures.  

WIN began operations in 2013 with the support of NYSTAR’s Innovation Hot Spot program. Programs led by WIN include:

  • Pitch Prep: an in-person and online continuum of programming to help companies prepare to raise capital for the first time.
  • Embedded Consultants: a program subsidizing the cost of incubator ventures retaining outside experts to lead them past significant development milestones.
  • Deals & Discounts: a network of vetted, trusted services providers offering discounted rates to incubator companies.
  • Tax Incentives: a set of state incentives for early-stage companies made possible through the NYSTAR Innovation Hot Spot initiative.

WIN has been an active partner in attracting entrepreneurship programs to fill ecosystem gaps in Western New York, including the Critical Path Life Sciences Accelerator, SBA Growth Accelerator and UB’s pending I-Corps initiative. WIN partners have been actively involved in regional entrepreneurship programs, including Bright Buffalo Niagara, Startup Weekend, the Student 2 Biz competition and Student Sandbox.

WIN is managed and staffed by UB’s Office of Economic Development. Partner incubators hail from across Western New York and include:

  • 43 North (Buffalo).
  • The Thomas R. Beecher Jr. Innovation Center on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus (Buffalo).
  • Directed Energy (virtual clean-tech incubator).
  • Fredonia Technology Incubator (Dunkirk).
  • Harrison Place (Lockport).
  • Incubator Works (Alfred).
  • Olean Business Incubator (Olean).
  • UB Biosciences Incubator (Buffalo).
  • UB Technology Incubator (Amherst).
  • Z80 Labs (Buffalo).

“Our mandate is to build globally relevant, market-driven companies to create jobs in Western New York,” says Thomas Murdock, manager of WIN. “That happens when we work together, combine efforts and share resources. NYSTAR’s re-designation shows Albany’s support for this work is stronger than ever.”

Matt Watson, director of NYSTAR, noted that NYSTAR is proud of the “continued success that WIN, one of our 10 Innovation Hot Spots across New York State, is experiencing in Buffalo. Throughout New York, our NYSTAR partners are doing important work to develop and coordinate regional ecosystems for entrepreneurs that is leading to better and stronger support for innovative businesses.”

Christina Orsi, UB associate vice president for economic development calls WIN “another clear example of New York State’s commitment to growing technology-based companies in our region. WIN works in concert with our other state-backed programs — START-UP NY, our Center for Advanced Technology, two Centers of Excellence and the Buffalo Institute of Genomics — to create jobs, grow investment and develop new ventures.”

Jon Spitz, Z80 Labs managing director, says incubators like Z80 Labs exist “to provide deep pockets of expertise to help our portfolio companies grow and create jobs in Western New York. Teaming with our partner WIN incubators builds breadth and scale to our capabilities.”

Alan Rae, executive director of Alfred’s Incubator Works, looks to WIN as a business development tool to make all Western New York incubators stronger. “It’s much harder as job creators if we try to go it alone. WIN allows us to combine our resources and provide incubated companies with the kinds of tools previously unavailable in Western New York.”

Adds Larry Sorokes, president of Olean Business Development: “Our affiliation with WIN opens up Cattaraugus County and its entrepreneurs to a host of resources not previously available in our area. This is especially important for the city of Olean as the unprecedented overhaul of its downtown is setting the stage for a local economic renaissance.”