What do an anthropologist, architect, chef, photographer, mom, and business advisor have in common? They’re my fellow female cohort participants at thINCubator for winter 2016. We’re joined by a teacher turned serial entrepreneur, a personal trainer, a medical specialist interested in organic juices, web-technology business owners, and other folks pursuing passion projects they hope will help fuel the Mohawk Valley economy.


After returning to Utica this fall from the NYC area, I learned about a number of new programs supporting CNY-based entrepreneurs. Among them is thINCubator. After meeting with Director Ryan Miller and observing a thINCubator fall 2015 cohort session in Utica, I decided to enroll.


The goal is to build out my Startup Weekend concept, which I pitched in November 2015 at Yale School of Management. That 54-hour, three-day format helped develop my startup idea; however, this 10-week thINCubator experience will serve as a proving ground for its potential launch. Here is what weeks 1-2 looked like for me:


Week 1 kicked off with a participant round-table and program overview led by Miller. My classmates presented worthy business ideas, brought a range of interesting skills and life experiences upon which each of us could draw for advice, openly shared suggestions with each other, and represented the rich diversity of greater Utica demographics. It was encouraging to see so many women and folks of various backgrounds pursuing startup activities.


Week 2 shifted from group discussion and support to lessons on how to identify and pursue an appropriate entity. My knowledge of S-Corp, C-Corp, sole proprietorship, and other business structures was limited; however, Executive Director John Liddy explained each option in a way that brought them to life. I left the session enlightened and invigorated.


The cohort is off to a great start, especially the opportunity to connect with several like-minded female entrepreneurs. Already, thINCubator has helped me advance my startup and entrepreneurial resolutions for 2016, and I look forward to learning more.

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