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A Garden Brimming with High-Tech Innovation Marks 10 Years in Syracuse

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John Smith, WAER News

About 135 businesses have officially been created since the Syracuse Tech Garden opened to offer free office space and business support.  The high-tech space is marking its 10th Anniversary today with a full day of events and giving entrepreneurs the opportunity to network. Judges also listened to the next regional start-ups pitch their ideas for cash awards.

VP for Innovation Services, Seth Mulligan says there are about 45 companies in residence. However, the number of virtual companies boosts the number to 70 enrolled in the garden’s programs.

“We have expanded, the space has grown. The energy has grown, the building (occupancy) has become more full. We’ve had, at times, wait lists. So, when I think about what’s next, I think about taking the energy and the excitement of the companies that are here in this building and starting to apply it to the rest of our community. I think we could build a district approach instead of just a building approach.” 

Mulligan says the graduate list includes LED lighting company, Ephesus, which landed the last NFL Superbowl lighting contract, and Tony Baird Electronics. Both businesses have their own spaces in Downtown Syracuse. However, not every start-up in the Tech Garden is a success. Mulligan says failure is actually good experience because start-ups will often try, again.

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Credit John Smith, WAER News
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John Smith, WAER News
Centerstate CEO VP for Innovation Services at the Tech Garden

“It’s different whether they’re in a clean energy program or whether they’re in an accelerator or whether they’re in our building as just residents. They all have, sort of, different metrics. But, by and large, a quarter of them are living on and becoming successful, sustainable businesses.”

Video game developers are creating the newest apps.  Lake Effect Applications CEO John Spatola hired a team of 10 employees and created the war game, Trigger Fist. He received his Systems Engineering degree from Cornell.

“I think with companies like mine and gaming studios… is there’s a lot of interest in Engineers and people coming out of college that want to make games. Everyone plays games, and if we do it in Syracuse, that’s a hug opportunity to create jobs because we’re not limited by the local economy. We’re limited by the global economy, so… which is not really a limiter.”

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Credit John Smith, WAER News
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John Smith, WAER News
CEO of Lake Effect Productions, John Spatola shows off his workspace at expanded space as part of the Syracuse Tech Garden.

The Syracuse Tech Garden is rated as the largest business incubator north of New York City.