Business and economic development leaders from around the region gathered at the Little Theatre in Rochester today to listen to – and react to – the results of the Greater Rochester Innovation Benchmarking Survey, a project jointly sponsored by the Infotonics Technology Center and Greater Rochester Enterprise (GRE).
The study was conducted by the Center for Regional Innovation at the national Council on Competitiveness in Washington, D.C. Deborah Wince-Smith, Council president, and Randall Kempner, Council vice-president for regional innovation, were on hand to deliver findings that helped define what the area needs to do to drive economic development.
The goal was to identify key regional economic development issues critical to building a strong, innovation-driven economy in the Rochester region, and to catalyze the development of action plans to address those issues. The study focused on regional economic assets, innovation networks, and economic beliefs and attitudes.
The study found that "the elements necessary to build an entrepreneurial fire exist in Greater Rochester, (but) these elements are not always linked or structured in the way that is conducive to innovation."
However, the study also noted that the local entrepreneurial economy "seems to be on the verge of igniting again," and suggested ways to drive this process, including: "strengthening the entrepreneurial culture, forming more risk capital investment groups, educating the business and political community about the relevance of innovation-based growth, expanding the cluster concept, and improving Rochester's image outside of the region."
Speakers from the Rochester community included David R. Smith, CEO of the Infotonics Technology Center; Michael Finney, President and CEO of Greater Rochester Enterprise; Duncan T. Moore, Rudolf and Hilda Kingslake Professor of Optical Engineering at the University of Rochester; and Jose Coronas, Partner, Trillium Group. A panel of representatives from several local entrepreneurial businesses – Optimax, BinOptics, Impact Technologies, and Thermal Gradient– discussed their road to success, and Sandra Parker, president of the Rochester Business Alliance, served as emcee for the event.
Greater Rochester Enterprise (GRE) is a public-private partnership
established to professionally market the Rochester metropolitan region as a
competitive, high-profile place for business location and growth. GRE will
collaborate with business, academia, not-for-profit organizations and
government to ensure a unified approach to regional economic development
About the Infotonics Center
The Infotonics Technology Center Inc. (Infotonics) is a not-for-profit corporation that operates New York State's Center of Excellence in Photonics and Microsystems. Infotonics is structured as a consortium whose industrial participants include Corning, Inc., Eastman Kodak Company, and Xerox Corporation. Academic participants include some 20 New York State colleges and universities. Infotonics' goal is to establish a unique, world-class research and development facility to enable rapid commercialization of new products. This initiative will provide major benefits to the region, including creation of jobs and attraction of new companies and investment revenue.