Green Innovations

Developing renewable and clean technology companies in New York

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Unique student sandbox opens this week at The Tech Garden

The Syracuse Sandbox -- one of the most unique student entrepreneurship programs in the country designed to develop student- run businesses -- officially opens this week at The Tech Garden.  The formal launch and ribbon cutting, at 2:30 pm, Friday June 18 at The Tech Garden, is open to the public.

This year’s fully implemented Sandbox program will be launched in a newly renovated 4,000 square foot state-of-the-art space at The Tech Garden. The facility, designed by a team from Syracuse University’s COLAB at Visual and Performing Arts School, facilitates collaboration and the creative process.

The Sandbox provides an experiential environment with access to professional resources, investors, business mentoring, legal advice, technical and subject matter support. Teams receive a full 12 weeks of mentoring and coaching with the goal of becoming investor or cash flow ready by the end of the period. Over 40 community professionals have volunteered their services to mentor these student teams this summer.

This same program, during its prototype phase in 2009, helped develop Brand-Yourself, a company with a web-based reputation management program that has raised over $250,000 in private equity financing in the last six months and been acclaimed nation-wide.  Brand-Yourself is currently located at The Tech Garden.

Brand-Yourself CEO Pete Kistler, recognized last year as one of the top five student entrepreneurs in the U.S. by Entrepreneur magazine said, “Our experience in the Sandbox last year was instrumental in launching our business.  The connections made, the mentoring received and the assistance provided were invaluable to our young venture.  The entire Sandbox concept will result in many more start-ups developing in Central New York and creating jobs and wealth in the community.

Student teams in the Sandbox program include: Dreamfetcher, a connection site for professionals seeking an ideal employment position; Jamlynx, a social network site for musicians allowing them to connect with others with similar musical interests; Skill Addiction, a gaming website providing a platform for players to connect and compete in tournaments for cash and prizes; Grafighters, the first online game for hand drawn characters to compete with each other.  Other companies participating in the Sandbox are Brewing History, Campus Mosaic, CapeSquared, Higher Limits, Patch Work, Re-Circle, Safe Sip, and The Front.  In addition three companies are participating virtually from remote locations.

The Student Sandbox program at The Tech Garden helps capture student talent from the region’s colleges and universities by providing them with a structured assistance program to launch new business ideas with the supervision of mentors that include seasoned entrepreneurs. The Sandbox program is a collaboration between The Tech Garden and Kauffman Foundation Enitiative schools (Syracuse University, LeMoyne College, Cayuga Community College, Onondaga Community College, Morrisville State College and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry). Student teams from each of the Enitiative Schools are eligible to apply for the intensive twelve week summer program.

The Tech Garden's mission is to stimulate high-tech entrepreneurship, foster the development of emerging growth companies and support technology commercialization throughout the region. Start-up technology businesses are offered business plan assistance, mentoring and marketing advice, targeted referrals, networking opportunities and state-of-the-art office space from which to grow their businesses.

For more info: