The SUNY Fredonia Technology Incubator welcomed its first tenant in April 2010 and has spent much of its time since then marketing itself as a destination for exciting young businesses.
But with the maturation of several of those businesses, the incubator is preparing to make a distinct but subtle shift, director Robert Fritzinger said this week.
"The story we've been telling is about the incubator and the success we've had acquiring projects in it," Fritzinger said. "Now the story's about the businesses."
Three businesses in particular are blazing the trail toward autonomy - and might soon fill Fritzinger's greatest hope for the initiative: moving from the incubator's space in downtown Dunkirk into nearby buildings. They include the Center for Sports Skill Measurement & Improvement LLC, iKoss and Silicon Wolves Computing Society.
All three are "running hard, running fast," and either have customers or potential customers who are bringing in revenue from out-of-state, Fritzinger said.
The incubator recently held two events promoting its businesses. The first, a community open house, was attended by 250-300 people. The second was a visit from state Sen. Catharine Young, R-Olean, to celebrate a $100,000 state grant to support the incubator.
Fritzinger said the incubator has 15 tenants right now and is about 60 percent full. It is currently processing about eight applications and will likely accept three or four as tenants, he said. He emphasized that filling the building is not the incubator's primary concern - filling the community with healthy young businesses is.
"If we just wanted to rent space we would have been full two years ago," he said. "If that were the case, we would have maybe been a threat to other real estate operators in town. We're grooming the operators who we think are their next tenants."