UB’s first annual Entrepreneurs Festival is Thursday in the Student Union

Goal is to let students know about the help available and to inspire them to start a business

By Grove Potter

Release Date: September 12, 2017

“This event is to celebrate our students and alumni entrepreneurs and to showcase the resources available to students, alumni, faculty and staff.”
Hadar Borden, program director
Blackstone LaunchPad at UB

BUFFALO, N.Y. — For anyone considering starting a business, the University at Buffalo has numerous programs to assist, including Blackstone LaunchPad at UB, which offers coaching, mentoring and other hands-on methods to help UB community members bring their ideas to market.

On Thursday, the LaunchPad is hosting UB’s inaugural Entrepreneurs Festival, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Student Union.

The event will feature demos of startups run by students and alumni, networking opportunities, an interview with Pete Cimino (a co-founder of Lloyd Taco Factory) and a Pitch Wars competition. In addition, Jake and Jordan DeCicco, co-founders of SUNNIVA Super Co., a startup coffee company, will have a table at the demo event. Their business was helped by the Blackstone LaunchPad at Philadelphia University.

“This event is to celebrate our students and alumni entrepreneurs and to showcase the resources available to students, alumni, faculty and staff,” said Hadar Borden, program director at the Blackstone LaunchPad at UB.

Some resources featured at the event will be the 43North business plan competition, the Z80 Labs business incubator, the UB Business and Entrepreneur Partnerships, and Allstate’s Minority and Women Emerging Entrepreneurs Program which is led by the UB School of Management’s Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership.

The growth of entrepreneurship across the nation is not an accident, Borden said: “It’s all related to economic development, and that is what many regions need… the creation of jobs and for it to be sustainable.

“We’re trying to create a culture of entrepreneurship on our campus,” she said. “Some people call them change agents. I like to call them problem-solvers.”

Not everyone is at a point when they can start a business, Borden said, but the entrepreneurship training can help elsewhere.

“Some will go into large organizations, and they will end up being that C-suit executive because they are innovators,” she said.

If some students get inspired by talking to other entrepreneurs, they may get going with their own ideas, she said.

“This is a bookend to the Henry A. Panasci Jr. Technology Entrepreneurship Competition that we host in the spring,” Borden said. “This is a way we urge our students to get their ideas going so that they, too, can be part of Panasci. We want to develop a runway.”

The schedule of events for Thursday is:

  • 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. — Entrepreneurship demos in the Student Union lobby. Amber Small, a UB alumnus and co-founder of Jam Parkside, a planned community-owned café in Buffalo’s Parkside neighborhood, will deliver opening remarks.
  • 1 p.m. — Networking in Room 210 Student Union.
  • 1:30 p.m. — “How I Built This,” an interview with Pete Cimino, co-founder of Lloyd Taco Factory, in Room 210 Student Union.
  • 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. — Pitch Wars, Room 210 Student Union. Student entrepreneurs pitch ideas to win two spots to Tech Stars in New York City.

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