The Success of The 2020 Entrepreneurial Summit 

On Saturday, February 8th, 2020, at Arnot Mall Event Center, the Southern Tier Entrepreneurial Ecosystem got together for a day full of networking, presentations led by successful entrepreneurs, business leaders, and information on available resources for entrepreneurs to connect with opportunities, support and funding in the region. 

The day started with over 30 exhibitors, including small businesses, NY State agencies such as SBA, NYS W/MBE, and NYSERDA, as well as private entities and nonprofits such as Corning Credit Union, Community Foundation, AM&T and other local businesses networking with entrepreneurs and representatives from local organizations. 

Over one hundred attendees gathered at the venue and were inspired by Keynote Speakers, Jerry, and Tracy Flanagan, Co-Founders of JDog Brands. Jerry is an Army Veteran and entrepreneur who, along with his wife Tracy, created a national brand dedicated to empowering Veterans through entrepreneurship. Jerry and Tracy spoke from the heart, and attendees were able to relate to their encouraging story rooted in the military values of respect, integrity, and trust that allowed them to create a 200-franchise nationwide business.

Kevin Costello, President of the Steuben County Conference and Visitors Bureau, intrigued the audience when describing how the region’s natural landscape can be used as a differentiator to create a successful destination business. 

Our own, Alan Rae, Ph.D., IncubatorWorks co-director, enlightened our entrepreneurs on how small businesses can create a sustainability-friendly culture that would also help business owners with self-care. Two panels from the region’s entrepreneurial organizations covered topics related to Access to Capital and Pitch Competitions to win monetary grants. 

Nancy Kirby, IncubatorWorks Executive Director, summarized the Summit addressing the attendees and letting them know about what’s next for the region and how IncubatorWorks can support entrepreneurs through guidance, mentorship, and its entrepreneurship program Co. Starters. 

The day finalized with a reception showcasing local breweries and wineries and giveaways sponsored by exhibitors, including an iMac desktop provided by Emanuel Industries from Elmira, NY. Local TV News Stations, WENY, and WETM covered the event.