Effective at the start of this month, I have turned over management of the Business Incubator Association of New York State (BIA/NYS) to Marc Alessi, an attorney and startup entrepreneur. This concludes my decade-long adventure in social entrepreneurship, building a new trade association from scratch. It’s been a rewarding if challenging task, and I’m happy to place it now in the hands of capable, energetic, new leadership.
This was conceived initially as a part-time job I could do while continuing to consult, but it always seemed to take more time and resources than planned. To become sustainable, the association now must grow revenues enough to support both the executive and admin functions. Marc is a former state assemblyman who’s also been serving as the launch CEO of a biomedical-instrumentation startup, and he’s both well suited and fully committed to the challenge.
I warmly appreciate the support I’ve had throughout my tenure from the association board of directors and the membership at large. Several have become good friends over the years, and I thank all for the many kind thoughts expressed at this transition. This change frees me to reallocate more of my time back to consulting projects, and I intend to do so. I also have begun experimenting with angel investing, and I plan to continue to expand that effort insofar as I prudently can.
I am pleased to announce announce three new business and professional affiliations:
- I have joined the board of directors of ITAC, the Industrial & Technology Assistance Corp. ITAC is a long-standing nonprofit consultancy aimed at helping small and mid-sized manufacturing and technology companies grow and thrive as contributors to a vital NYC economy. It is a node on the federal Manufacturing Extension Partnership network and a Regional Technology Development Center funded by the State of New York. This puts it at the heart of several rapidly accelerating trends such as cleantech and the “maker” movement. The president of ITAC is Sara Garretson, one of the City’s clearest and deepest thinkers about technology-based economic development.
- I am now affiliated as an independent consultant with Public Works Partners, a new management consultancy formed as a merger of two practices with which I have previously worked. Public Works Partners does projects in strategic planning, program design and implementation, process redesign, performance improvement, and financial management for government agencies, institutions of higher education, community-based non-profits, and business corporations. Its principals are (alphabetically) Mark Foggin, Celeste Frye and Scott Zucker, three exceptionally energetic, focused and effective consultants with long experience in and around NYC government and the private sector.
- While I am not primarily a business-development consultant, I do occasionally mentor and advise startups that I find unusually interesting. One such firm I am now advising is Calcbench, a new venture that aims to derive and vend valuable insights from “open data” on public companies made available in XBRL format from the Securities and Exchange Commission. The data challenge is significant, and the backgrounds of principals Pranav Ghai and Alex Rapp — both with deep technical talents and practical experience in the financial sector — strike me as perfectly suited to the task. I have been honored to refer them directly and indirectly to sources of potential financing and partnership, and to render some inside commentary. Keep your eye on these folks, and if you’re interested in finance, sign up at Calcbench for what is (not for long) a free account.
Public Works Partners and Calcbench both maintain blogs (here and here), ITAC can sign you up for emails here, and all three have Twitter accounts (here, here and here).