The Innovation Zone


A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to go with the CEO Club to the Innovation Zone that is part of the GCEDC (Genesee County Economic Development Center), located across the street in the MedTech Building. In one of their state-of-the-art conference rooms, we meet with the Vice President of Business Development for the GCEDC, Christopher Suozzi. He gave us insight on what they do over at the Innovation Center, part of which is helping businesses get started. People who are looking to start up their company can come in with their business plans and learn how to take it from an idea to a reality. There is space in the Innovation Zone that new companies can use for meetings, video conferences, and workspace while they are looking for their own office space to start up. GCEDC also has land that they have already developed, complete with water lines, so that companies can come in and start to build their buildings and get to work quicker. Allowing multiple businesses to start in the same location creates an industrial park which, in turn, creates more job opportunities for people from Rochester to Buffalo. In summary, GCEDC entices companies to come and start their companies here by having land ready, being located in a convenient area ( between to major cities, Rochester and Buffalo) and by giving companies incentives and tax breaks for 10 years.

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Brian Bell was a guest speaker who also talked with us about being an entrepreneur and shared his own experiences as one. He is the Chief Executive Officer for First Wave Products Group, LLC. His company works on medical accounts; he said he listens to ideas that people or students have, discerns which are good, and helps get funding to make their idea possible. One of the things his company is responsible for is the “First Crush” which automatically turns pills into powder- He described it to us as a Keurig for pills. This idea came from an individual from the University at Buffalo.

When Brian talked to us about being an entrepreneur, he told us how everyone has ideas but it takes someone who is truly passionate about something to be able to execute that idea and turn it into something real. Then he and Chris turned it over to all of us in the club and asked if any of us had ideas or passions that we could turn into a business. Some of us shared our ideas of how we would take something that already exists and make it better for the environment. Some of us were working on creating something entirely new. Personally, I would like to open my own event planning company someday. Both Chris and Brian gave me advice on how to achieve my goal- they said that I should absorb as much experience as I could before opening my own business. That way, if I made a mistake, I would be able to learn from it for the future.

-Lilia Kesterke

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