Local colleges moving forward on START-UP NY plans


Three local colleges could soon be active in START-UP NY, a state program that provides substantial tax breaks for businesses while linking them with public and private higher education institutions.

Schools that want to participate have to develop a plan and submit it to state officials. The plans are supposed to identify the type of businesses each school would target, and how working with those businesses fits with the schools' educational missions.

Monroe Community College's plan has already been approved by state officials. Rochester Institute of Technology and SUNY Brockport have also submitted applications, Empire State Development regional director Vinnie Esposito said yesterday during a meeting of the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council.

During yesterday's meeting, MCC President Anne Kress gave a brief overview of the school's START-UP plans. She explained that MCC has a few properties where businesses could locate: it has some office space in the former Kodak building on State Street, some vacant parcels on Brighton-Henrietta Town Line Road, and 21.4 acres on Loden Lane in Henrietta.

The school is targeting businesses in the information systems, computing, optics, agribusiness, homeland security, and advanced manufacturing sectors, Kress said. The businesses fit with the college's work force education mission, she  said, and there are possibilities for partnerships between the school and businesses in those sectors.

So far, MCC has received more than 25 inquiries about the START-UP program, the majority from computing or advanced manufacturing firms, Kress said. Two of the inquiries came from international companies, she said.