SUNY and the Entrepreneurial Century cultivates entrepreneurial thinking across our entire learning landscape, helping new and existing businesses innovate, prosper, and grow.
Research and innovation have long been hallmarks of American higher education. But in the 21st century, knowledge creation is no longer enough. Economic growth depends on translating that knowledge into tangible, measurable benefits—from more patents issued, to more grants won, to more jobs. This shift demands an entrepreneurial mindset—a way of thinking determined to create and shape new markets.
The critical components that businesses of all sizes and stages need—knowledge, talent, and expertise— can all be found at SUNY. We have $1 billion annually in research expenditures, more than 10,000 research projects across 64 campuses, significant infrastructure, strong existing partnerships, and some of the best faculty and students in the world. We need to look at how we can combine our many diffuse pieces to help current and future New York companies and address national research gaps. Our individual institutions don't have to do it all themselves—they can invest in infrastructure more cost-effectively and make more compelling cases for public and private funding when they work collaboratively. The more we integrate, the greater our impact on the state's economy.
We also need to follow the lead of the most fertile states for entrepreneurs and engage more local industries and local venture capitalists with our students, labs, and campuses. Nationally, 43 percent of start-up founders established their companies in the same state where they received their academic degree. But among founders graduating from universities in New York, only about half that amount established their start-ups in our state. Given the huge number of institutions at SUNY and the number of venture capitalists in New York State, the opportunities for turning the tide in our favor are enormous.