Accelerate Hofstra Presents: Capitalize On It
On April 15, 2015, Accelerate Hofstra, a brand new incubator for student led businesses, held its inaugural event at the Hofstra University Club. Guest speakers included Nicholas Thorne, CEO of Basno; Nicholas Terzulli, Director of Development for the Nassau County Industrial Development Agency; Andrew Hazen, CEO of LaunchPad; Nikhil Sethi, Co-Founder of Adaptly; and Professor Alex Pelaez, Department of Information Systems and Business Analytics.
Mr. Terzulli explained that the primary goal of the Nassau County Industrial Development Agency (“IDA”) is to create and retain jobs on Long Island, which they accomplish through a variety of initiatives including providing tax incentives in exchange for job creation and growth. As an example, one of the largest impediments to businesses on Long Island is affordable housing for employees. The IDA is trying to help resolve this issue by offering developers incentives to find vacant lots or underdeveloped properties near train stations and turn them into multi-residential units. This will revitalize downtown areas and have a significant economic impact in the municipalities where these units are built. (Currently two such properties with 300 units each are nearing completion right next to Mineola train station.)
The IDA also has a lot of resources for businesses at every stage of development and Mr. Terzulli stressed that the IDA can cut through the government bureaucracy and red tape to help your business become a reality.
Mr. Hazen and Mr. Thorne spent a few minutes speaking about their background and answering questions from Professor Pelaez, including what motivates them as entrepreneurs: people, both employees and customers, and their feedback. They then answered questions from the audience; some of their thoughts included the fact that all it takes is one sentence to grab someone’s attention. Actually being concise is a positive. Investors want to understand the business quickly. The founder has been attracted to the business for a reason and you want to show the investors why you feel this conviction. In fact, when you go into a presentation, you need to be “oozing conviction” in order for investors to buy into what you’re selling.
Overall it was a fantastic launch to another Long Island technology initiative.