Clarkson helping bring business development to Tri-Lakes
Thursday, July 8, 2010 - 9:03 am

Potsdam’s Clarkson University and the Adirondack Economic Development Corporation, based in Saranac Lake, have announced they will jointly bring entrepreneurial training and small business finance opportunities to the Tri-Lakes Region.

Clarkson recently leased space in Saranac Lake to open the Adirondack Business Center, to provide small business support and telecommuter workspace to the Tri-Lakes area.

Clarkson’s Entrepreneurship Center has been working with small businesses throughout St. Lawrence County since 2004. A news release from AEDC says that over 350 St. Lawrence County entrepreneurs have gone through Clarkson’s program and their long-term survival rate approaches 85 percent, well over the national average for small business ventures.

According to Center Director Marc Compeau, bringing this model into the Adirondacks and implementing the same success with the Adirondack Business Center will require partnerships with existing service providers. Compeau said he is eager to work with small businesses in the Adirondacks. “The culture of hard work, pride in your community and quality of life is contagious. Using Clarkson University’s expertise in the greater North Country region and partnering with existing service providers to support that approach to managing business is very exciting to us.”

AEDC Executive Director Mike Conway said that over 20 years, AEDC has trained over 300 entrepreneurs and provided financing to over 250 businesses. “Last year our small business training graduated our largest class in years and our lending operation increased by 140 percent. We are on pace to substantially exceed that,” Conway said.

Conway indicates that one possibility is that any AEDC loan approval could be conditioned on the entrepreneurial borrower’s participation in the Clarkson/AEDC training programs. “The reason to tie the two together is to insure that our (AEDC’s) financial investment is less risky,” Conway said.

As an extension of the Adirondack Initiative for Wired Work, Clarkson also looks to partner with Paul Smith’s Business Management and Entrepreneurship Studies faculty and North Country Community College to develop entrepreneurship training opportunities.

For more information on AEDC, call Conway at (518) 891-5523 or visit www.aedconline.com.