What Does the Future of Tech Valley Look Like?

CAPITAL REGION -- RPI student Alex Hudack plans to start her own business in the future.

"To follow your own dream, to work for yourself is really exciting to me," Hudack said.

The Connecticut native hopes it will be located in Tech Valley.

"This area, this Tech Valley has been a huge difference because without networking with a company, it's nothing. This allows people to come together and share common interests and share that passion for entrepreneurship," said Hudack.

To keep Tech Valley's success going, entrepreneur Bruce Toyama said the area needs to attract more people like Hudack.

"You're going to need the creation of new businesses in this area to really sustain the economic growth into the future in this area," Toyama said. "It's great to have GlobalFoundries, GE, and IBM, but you also need to have a strong component in the economy of small business."

Toyama is one of the co-founders of IgniteU, a summer program in Troy for young entrepreneurs.

"Getting connected into the business community and being able to meet people that they wouldn't normally be able to meet in person, they get to know them as people, and they get to know them as people, it's priceless," said Toyama.

"Incubator programs like IgniteU are starting to pop up and it's becoming easier to stay in the area and develop a company rather than going to the bigger cities," said Mitch Wacholder, RPI Graduate and founder of Helpir.

With more than 20 colleges and universities within the Capital Region,even more within Tech Valley, business leaders believe all play an integral role in the area's future success.

"We have smart kids that come from all over the world. How do you help create the pathway so that they can start businesses here, grow businesses here, and be successful into the future," Toyama asked.

IgniteU is one of dozens of business incubators and programs in Tech Valley that helps startup companies.

It's a start said Center for Economic Growth Interim President and CEO Michael Hickey, but for Tech Valley to succeed in the future, he said it will take teamwork.

"Have one region agenda and work collectively to make it happen. That will take investments in money and also sweat," said Hickey.

"Ten years from now we'll look at this and see these types of programs aren't just unique to one particular area of New York state but there's a connected network of successful programs that goes throughout New York state," Toyama added.

Good news for startup business owner Mitch Wacholder, and those like him.

"As more companies start to come into this area, it's just only going to get better from here," Wacholder said.

That will keep Tech Valley strong into the future, after helping change this region's identity.

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