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Ontario County Economic Development commits $30,000 to Port 100

Investment provides a lot of promise for downtown incubator

By Josh Durso

When City Council elected to not fund the Port 100 coworking space in downtown Geneva, a lot of people were surprised.

After a couple months of uncertainty – things are back on track at the space, after an announcement was made on New Years Day.

Port 100 will celebrate with a re-launch and ribbon cutting ceremony on Thursday, January 9th at 5 p.m. at the Castle Street site.

“There’s something so special about Port 100. I just couldn’t let it close and displace the people who work here every day,” said Maureen Ballatori, who manages the space and runs her marketing agency out of the space. She sought support from the Ontario County Economic Development Corporation, and they reciprocated with $30,000 in approved funding for the co-working space.

“The resources available to Port 100 members have been a major driver of my own agency’s success. It was and is important to me to make sure that people all over the Finger Lakes have a place where they can focus their work,” Ballatori added.

The funds will help facility the buildout of semi-private spaces within the cowork’s existing footprint, and execute programming for entrepreneurs in the Finger Lakes region. It will also increase the number of businesses and individuals who are able to utilize the co-working space.

Michael J. Manikowski, Economic Developer for Ontario County Economic Development shared his own excitement about the project and development in downtown Geneva.

“The OCEDC acting in concert with the County’s Economic Development Strategic Plan is pleased to support the continued operations of Port 100. Supporting entrepreneurial development throughout the County is an economic development imperative. We are delighted to support this key economic development asset in Geneva and eastern Ontario County,” he said.

Ballatori says that Port 100 plays an important role in the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Geneva. “Considering Geneva’s commitment to being a significant leader in the food and beverage industry, the opportunity to support startups in that industry alone is remarkable. The Finger Lakes region is incredibly progressive, forward-thinking and a place that truly understands the importance of entrepreneurship,” she added.

Port 100 has established a six week marketing accelerator program that Ballatori will lead with Craig Talmage, Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurial Studies at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. The program, launching in March 2020, will bring in HWS students and local community members to execute a marketing campaign that will benefit a number of local small businesses. The Solar Home Factory has also partnered with Port 100. Residents of the Solar Village will have access to exclusive co-working memberships.

Additional programs planned for Port 100 include free or low-cost business development programs opened to the community, as well as monthly free coworking days. These events will be announced on the organization’s Facebook page. Details about Port 100 memberships are available at www.port100cowork.com.

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