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An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Understanding the Local Rochester Business Scene

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Rochester’s flagship newspaper the Democrat and Chronicle has published a new business glossary for Rochester entrepreneurs, who now have access to a growing number of programs designed to help them succeed in the cutthroat business world.

Democrat and Chronicle reporter Khristopher J. Brooks writes that the “business world is known, unfortunately, for its ridiculous jargon, acronyms, and technical speak,” and the glossary could help young entrepreneurs find their place in the Rochester business scene.

Like so many other Rust Belt towns, Rochester’s economy has struggled over the past two decades, but in the last few years there have been a number of encouraging developments.

Rochester was chosen as the country’s new integrated photonics manufacturing hub, just one part of a more than $600 million investment in the region from federal, state, and private funding sources. In total, the photonics investment is projected to indirectly and directly create 1,400 jobs in the Flower City, which has suffered in the wake of Kodak’s slow-motion implosion.

However, there are also other local resources available to entrepreneurs, like the Rochester Institute of Technology’s Center for Urban Entrepreneurship, also known as CUE.

According to Brooks, “The CUE is charged with helping entrepreneurs in underrepresented parts of the city start a business and flourish. The CUE is one of two anchor institutions for Rochester’s Downtown Innovation Zone.”

Why do Rochester businesses need a Downtown Innovation Zone? In the digital age, small business owners need a new skill set to flourish. Today, more than 70% of adults rarely or never use phone books, and without certain digital tools, many small businesses will never get off the ground, and that’s why businesses fail to start.

Along with anchor institutions like CUE, the Rochester innovation zone includes hundreds of businesses in and around the Inner Loop area. The DIZ can help “inventors, entrepreneurs or small-business owners to build relationships with researchers, serial entrepreneurs and venture capitalists and eventually create a new companies that grow and hire hundreds.”

With the photonics manufacturing hub on the horizons and a growing number of local economic resources, entrepreneurs in Rochester are feeling more optimistic than they have in many years.