Equity in innovation
Equity in Innovation is a three-phase entrepreneurial training series offered by the Koffman Southern Tier Incubator and the Binghamton University led New Energy New York initiative. Started during the COVID-19 pandemic as a collaboration initiative between the Koffman and the Support Black Business 607 (SBB607) Facebook community, the training series supports and encourages entrepreneurs from every background and identity from Binghamton to Corning, NY. The series aims to increase equity and representation throughout the battery supply chain and encourage diverse entrepreneurs to launch and accelerate new or existing businesses. All classes are held in person at the Koffman Southern Tier Incubator.
Phase 1: Customer Discovery Crash Course
The Customer Discovery Crash Course consists of three in-person learning sessions, as well as assigned objectives where participants learn basic business plan concepts and skills such as the Business Model Canvas, organizing finances, branding, marketing, and building a network. Participants will conduct real world customer discovery and conclude if their business or idea is truly viable with their desired customer base. The class concludes with a project presentation where participants reveal the scientific findings of their customer discovery process. Upon completion, a small selection of participants are invited to move on to the next phase of the series.
Phase 2: Minority Business Accelerator
Participants selected to move on to the Minority Business Accelerator gain the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in industry today. Using the Business Model Canvas to lay out a solid business foundation, participants move on to learning how to organize finances, develop branding and marketing strategies, and build a useful business network. Upon completion of the accelerator phase, select participants will be invited to move on to the final phase of the series.
Phase 3: MWBE Certification Readiness Course
The Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprises (MWBE) Certification Readiness Course will prepare participants for New York State’s MWBE Certification process. This final phase of the series consists of understanding procurement and supplier diversity strategies. Participants will gain knowledge on becoming a supplier for local and state governments and what it takes to succeed in this fast-paced and lucrative set-aside program. The course will walk participants through initial application requirements, and discuss the steps and documents needed to become a fully recognized MWBE-certified business. A mix of Koffman staff and local presenters will provide education and guidance to obtain certification upon course completion.