Clarkson’s approval in Start-Up NY business tax-break program could add 75 jobs to Potsdam and region
Wednesday, July 2, 2014 - 9:33 am

POTSDAM – Clarkson University’s Start-Up NY plan has approval to accept applications from new and expanding businesses that wish to take advantage of tax breaks offered by the state.

The university says it has already had inquiries from businesses interested in signing up, with the prospect of creating 75 jobs.

Start-Up NY was developed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to make college communities across the state tax-free zones for new and expanding businesses.

Eligible businesses that partner with campuses will be able to operate free of state and local taxes for 10 years, including property, income, sales and corporate tax.

SUNY Potsdam and SUNY Canton have also gotten the okay to proceed with the program.

Clarkson has proposed to designate 28,000 square feet of vacant space on its downtown campus for the program. It would be near its Peyton Hall Incubator, which provides business support services and an existing network of entrepreneurs. It is also near local banks, government offices, existing small businesses, retail, and community gathering spaces.

The types of businesses Clarkson plans to partner with are those in high-technology fields, including nanoscience, Web interface and development, sustainable technologies, and businesses that can expand the university’s environmental and energy research expertise.

A major consideration would be support for businesses that have potential to add value to the region’s natural assets such as agriculture produce, processed farm products, water systems technology and wood for local production export, a news release from the university said.

"This is great news for the economy of the entire North Country," said Clarkson University President Tony Collins. "A number of businesses have already inquired about our Peyton Hall, Old Snell, and Old Main locations, with current plans to create 75 regional jobs. Using already existing space on our campus as well as our planned approach to support other approved sites in the North Country as part of our Innovation Hot Spot outreach, START-UP NY will enable us to attract high-tech and other start-ups not only from across the nation, but internationally, as well. Clarkson is committed to elevating global recognition of the North Country as one of the special places on the planet to visit, live, work and study.”

This sort of fostering of new businesses with the potential to advance technology is not new to Clarkson.

The university has long-standing industry partnerships and experience in attracting business to fresh talent and product ideas, employee professional development, and commercialization opportunities, which add depth to Clarkson’s allure to businesses choosing to locate nearby.

“What is unique about our accepted proposal is that we are taking a very regional approach and not limiting our support/response to inquiries to properties we own that have been approved to be in the START-UP program but also willing to connect businesses to other sites in the region, particularly where other support networks are in place to help ensure success and leveraging of job growth opportunities,” said Clarkson University Vice President for External Relations Kelly Chezum, in an email message on the announcement.

And Clarkson alumni take an organized approach in advising faculty and students about innovation trends in technology and provide mentorships to specific businesses that may need specialized attention, the university said in a news release. These close relationships are expected to benefit future tenants in the Start-Up NY Program.

By advancing research and innovation, the university says it can help accelerate a firm’s growth and speed to the marketplace.

As State Sen. Joe Griffo (R-Rome), whose district includes Potsdam, noted in a statement, “its Shipley Center for Innovation was picked as the hub for information and resources for new businesses in the North Country.

"Now the college’s creative pitch has won the approval of the START-UP NY board and is sure to attract new businesses in the fields of nanoscience, web development and sustainable technology – just to name a few.”

Griffo says the program could create 75 jobs in the next three to five years.

"I know the university has already fielded inquiries from a dozen businesses regarding its vacant space."

One of the provisions of the program is that a business plan advances the academic mission of the host school, and Clarkson says in the announcement of its go-ahead from the state that this aligns with its mission to engage in high-quality research, scholarship and outreach in engineering, business, science, health and liberal arts, and broad diffusion of knowledge that can advance “humane and environmentally sound economic and social development derive from the expansion, diffusion and application of knowledge. Those same principles will guide engagement with affiliates in the Start-Up NY Program.”