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Hudson -- A business incubator will continue under new leadership as it searches for funding to help entrepreneurs.
The board of directors for The Entrepreneurial Center of Hudson, a nonprofit business incubator in Hudson, named George Buzzy as acting executive director beginning Feb. 1. He has been providing consulting services to TECHudson since July 2012.
"I believe in the organization, and I want it to survive," Buzzy said. "I think it has a good mission, and I want to help it get on a strong footing."
Buzzy started his own technology companies and invested in three others so he is familiar with entrepreneurship and the challenges growing companies face. Buzzy is a managing partner with private equity firm AG Partners, an official voting member of the North Coast Opportunities Technology Fund and an entrepreneurial advisor for Great Lakes Innovation and Development Enterprise, JumpStart Inc. and the North Coast Angel Fund. Buzzy also has connections to an array of startup resources across Northeast Ohio.
"Hudson is my home, and I am excited to contribute to the local business community," he said.
Buzzy will assume the leadership role for TECHudson following the recent resignation of executive director and founder James Phipps, who decided to step down after working for four years.
"At this point, TECHudson has reached a place where transition is possible," Phipps said. "I am honored to have taken the organization through its formative years, and I look forward to the continued success of TECHudson in the future."
Buzzy will be the new face of TECHudson, and office work will be outsourced to its partner, the Youngstown Business Incubator.
"The city reduced funding and until we get additional funding, we wanted to have the operating budget as frugal as possible," Buzzy said
Holly Boykin is a part-time employee, who will be working to obtain additional funding to support the organization in the long run, Buzzy said.
Fundraising has been slow but positive with a grant from the Burton D. Morgan Foundation, Buzzy said. "If we raise $20,000, they will match it with $10,000. The city is supporting TECHudson with $50,000 and $25,000 more if they raise $25,000 in new funding. The city has provided $374,000 in the past.
"TECHudson needs $45,000 as quickly as possible for the matches," Buzzy said.
TECHudson supports the development of commercially viable business-to-business software companies and other compelling technologies and includes entrepreneurial client companies BoxCast, G&G Games, Region XI Enterprise and SGM Games.
"I am grateful to be coming into an organization with a solid foundation, and look forward to taking the next steps in championing innovation and tech entrepreneurs."
The long term vision for TECHudson is to have a campus-like environment where a business can incubate and grow, renting larger space until it becomes a long-term tenant of Hudson, Buzzy said.
Currently the business incubator has three organizations as clients and is talking to four more candidates, Buzzy said. The space is flexible with up to 12 spaces for clients.
It's time to birth this baby! Four years and between $400,000 and $450,000 of city taxpayer money socked into TECHudson and we have VERY LITTLE PROGRESS to show for our collective "investment" in this venture. Hmmmm. I do hope this venture succeeds, but I also hope City Council is firmly resolved to STOP any more funding for TECHudson's operation beyond the 2013 fiscal year unless CONCRETE RESULTS are produced THIS year so the city's taxpayers will begin to realize a measurable RETURN on their conscripted "investment" in 2014. Maybe someone should have given Mr. Buzzy's predecessor a nudge earlier ... four years and basically all we taxpayers have to show for the effort so far are thousands of dollars of rent receipts! Stay tuned!