Innovation Center Kicks Off Series to Help Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses

A key mission of the Innovation Center is to offer resources necessary for small businesses and entrepreneurs to grow. The Growing Your Knowledge & Network for Small Businesses series sponsored by First Niagara, will begin on Wednesday, December 12th at 9 a.m. until 10 a.m. This monthly series is an extension of the BNMC’s efforts to continue to promote growth for small- to medium-sized companies. This series provides important information for companies as industry experts – often successful entrepreneurs themselves – share knowledge relevant to running a successful business.
Topics include taxes, human resources, networking etiquette, branding and much, more. Learn about  the latest industry trends and developments as you hear from professionals in the field. This series is open to tenants withint the Innovation Center and also members of the comunity.

Attendees of the Growing Your Knowledge & Network for Small Businesses sessions will be entered into a raffle to win an iPad or other prizes. Interact and network with fellow entrepreneurs and professionals as you engage in dialogue about need-to-know information for small businesses.

Each presentation is free, but space is limited and registration is required. To register, visit

Wednesday, December 12th

Do Taxes Matter? presented by Daniel Tirone, Daniel Tirone, CPA. Learn about the basics of tax management.

Wednesday, January 9th

Basic 101 HR Information presented by Holly Nowak, Alcott HR Group. Learn about human resources best practices.

Wednesday, February 13th

Business Development Incentives in New York: Maximizing Your Benefits  presented by Cory Van Deusen V, Lumsden & McCormick, LLP. Learn about tax credits and incentives.

Wednesday, March 13th

Social Media and Your Business presented by Robin Wilson, The Wilson Edge.

Wednesday, April 10th

Branding Consistency presented by Rob Wynne, Wynne Creative Group. Learn about adding character to your business, helping to make it stand out.

Wednesday, May 8th

First Niagara: Five Key Areas Where Businesses Suffer Losses presented by Karen Fenzl.

Networking and Investor Support for Early-Stage Companies

Early-stage, high-tech companies had the opportunity to network with angel investors and venture capitalists, along with other business professionals who can offer resources and advice on how to take their companies to the next level at the 2012 Venture Forum presented by a SmartStart/UNYTECH and Bright Buffalo Niagara partnership. Angel investors are enthusiastically encouraging emerging businesses on the cusp of industry advancements. Because many early-stage companies are high-risk, gaining the financial capital necessary to compete and grow is not always an easy task to accomplish.

As angel investors and venture capitalists invest their money, time, and talents in companies that have the most potential to succeed and grow, entrepreneurs can take comfort in knowing that there are people who believe in the business they have started and where it can ultimately go. With high-return-on-investment expectations, investors had the opportunity to see 32 unique presentations that introduced them to great business opportunities that can help enhance their portfolios.

With a keynote address from Victor Thorne, the director of the Ohio TechAngel Funds entitled “Building an Innovation-based Entrepreneurial Ecosystem,” start-ups and angel investors received insight about how the Ohio TechAngels work.

Presentations included multiple 10-minute pitches, and 1-minute pitches as well, highlighting each company’s specialty, market research, potential for growth, and investment opportunities. Awards were give to the companies with the most potential to be funded, for the best presentation, and for the most promising technology. Overall, it was a great turnout.

For more information about investment resources in the region, visit Western New York Venture Association.