Upstate New York I-81 Pre-Seed Workshops Promote Economic Development

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

SYRACUSE, NY—The first of four I-81 Pre-Seed Workshops (PSW), which help area researchers take their technology-based ideas from the conceptual phase to the beginning stages of a business plan, will be held Feb. 25–26 and March 5. The event, hosted by MedTech and The Technology Garden, is New York state’s 30th PSW since the program’s inception in 2004.

The I-81 PSW involves quarterly workshops with pre-sold slots for the entire year. These seat-holders include Syracuse University, Clean Tech Center, Clarkson University, SUNY Upstate Medical/SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, and Binghamton University/Alliance for Manufacturing & Technology. In each of the four workshops, teams will explore a new product or business idea. According to MedTech President Heather Erickson, this is the first time the I-81 model will be applied to the Pre-Seed Workshop. 

"This new model sets up the expectation of there being a regular quality and quantity of workshops throughout the year, so no one has to wait a long period of time or drive several hours to access these resources,” Erickson said.

The February workshop includes a total of five teams with concepts from Syracuse University, Clean Tech Center, Binghamton University and Clarkson University, as well as other Upstate New York businesses. The teams—which simulate a real start-up company–typically consist of an “idea champion,” another technologist, an MBA student, an intellectual property or business start-up attorney, a university technology transfer officer and a business coach from the community.

Paul Brooks, the executive director of The Technology Garden said, “People often think their products will sell themselves. We participate in this program year after year because we believe it is a great tool to help researchers decided if they can and want to be entrepreneurs.”

Each team will make a 15-minute presentation addressing eight areas of analysis that are outlined by the PSW. This analysis will help a panel of venture capital experts decide if these projects will be commercially viable if given the proper funding and support. 

At the conclusion of the event, participants will walk away with invaluable knowledge about their product and understand what their next steps are; whether that is beginning to pitch, further refine their idea or scrap it all together. 

When asked about the workshops’ affect on Upstate New York, Erickson said, “the Pre-Seed Workshops are essential to establishing and maintaining a pipeline of emerging companies In our region that will be the future leaders of our regional economy.”

The Pre-Seed Workshops, which began in 2004, have hosted more than 1,000 participants and 170 teams. Sponsorship for the I-81 PSW includes Heslin, Rothenberg, Farley & Mesiti P.C., Bond, Schoeneck & King PLLC and Marjama Muldoon. Pre-Seed Workshops are held eight times a year at various locations in New York state, including Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, New York City, Ithaca, Geneva and Long Island. 

About PSW-NY

Founders Mark W. Wilson of Initiatives Consulting, LLC and Judy Albers of Excell Partners, created a systematic process to help scientists and researchers evaluate the commercialization potential of an invention. PSW is designed to take a raw idea from a university lab or company and investigate its marketplace viability using a preliminary commercialization plan that is developed during the workshop. The business plan is presented to a team of experts after the workshop is complete. For more information about the pre-seed workshop, including how you can host one in your area, please contact Mark Wilson at or Judy Albers at 

About MedTech 

MedTech is a not-for-profit trade association comprised of Upstate New York technology manufacturers, research institutions, allied professional services and economic development organizations. We promote the commercialization of medical products by providing educational and networking events, organizing 
certification opportunities and facilitating collaborations among members to bring tomorrow’s technologies to the healthcare marketplace. For more information, visit

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