Successful entrepreneur ecosystems and communities require several key components including research to generate new innovations, business expertise and support, venture funding, access to incubators and specialized equipment, and a talented workforce. UB and its Hub partners have a strong innovation portfolio from faculty, staff, researchers and students. The Hub will provide the necessary resources to move those innovations from the classroom, lab or clinic into the market place through new startups.
The Innovation Hub project involves three main components, including:
- Planning, design, renovation, construction, furniture, fixtures and equipment funds for the approximately $7 million conversion of UB’s Center of Excellence for Bioinformatics & Life Sciences into incubation and entrepreneur support space. The space will be made available to companies affiliated with UB and partner organizations. UB will utilize additional space in the Center for Excellence for entrepreneur support programs, events, education and related services.
- Establish a $13.5 million Investment Fund to provide proof-of-concept and pre-seed/seed investments for startups.
- Provide outreach to and engagement with UB and participating institutions’ faculty, staff and students to increase the number and quality of startup opportunities, coordinate and execute startup support programming and develop new initiatives to guide startups through all phases of development, and personnel support to administer the new programs and services. This component will utilize approximately $11.5 million of the funds over five years.
UB continues to make progress in operationalizing all components of the Hub, as well as catalyzing a pipeline of new startup opportunities. This includes expanding existing and creating new entrepreneur/commercialization support programs and services, making investments in promising new innovations and design and construction of the incubator at UB’s New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences.
- The Incubator at the Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics & Life Sciences opened in March 2021. It is designed as a collaborative and diverse network that provides entrepreneurs with the support and tools needed to move from concept to formation to profit. The 42,000-square-foot startup accelerator contains co-working space, conference rooms, a high-tech event space, collaboration areas, dedicated office suites, lab space and a full kitchen.
- Completed three rounds of the Buffalo Innovation Accelerator Fund awards, totaling $1.5 million to 19 awardees.
- Launched the Buffalo Innovation Seed Fund, an early-stage, evergreen venture capital fund dedicated to funding and growing the next generation of outstanding businesses in Buffalo.
- Enhanced support services, including an expanded E-Law Clinic, Blackstone Launchpad partnership, expanded customer delivery, built out Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) and on-boarded and assigned five Entrepreneurs-in-residence (EIRs).
The Innovation Hub is designed to help connect ideas to action and move research from the lab to the marketplace. It is funded through a $32 million Buffalo Billion II grant commitment and supports innovation at UB and its leading research partners, including Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, The Jacobs Institute, Hauptmann-Woodward Medical Research Institute and Kaleida Health. UB and its Hub partners collectively have more than $412 million in annual research, 30,000 students, and more than 3,000-plus faculty who are focused on making new discoveries and advances in medical device technology, diagnostics, healthcare delivery, software applications, materials, imaging, sustainability and other diverse innovative developments. The Innovation Hub is increasing commercialization of technologies and will ultimately grow private investment and jobs in Western New York.