Students from three area educational institutions discuss impacts of COVID-19 pandemic
ALFRED – Startup Allegany hosted the first Tri-Collegiate Think Tank on Saturday, November 7, 2020, surpassing expectations with over 30 students from Allegany County’s three institutions of higher education participating.
The virtual event brought together students from Alfred State College, Alfred University and Houghton College to participate in entrepreneurial-focused panels addressing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on three sectors that play a significant role in the health of Allegany County’s economy. The panels included representatives from Ljungstrom and Northern Lights in the manufacturing sector, Great Lakes Cheese and Cornell Cooperative Extension Allegany County in the food and agricultural sector, and Houghton College and Alfred State College in the education sector.
Startup Allegany’s Tri-Collegiate Think Tank Forum was launched with the intent to get students thinking entrepreneurially, leading to new student-led companies in the region that might solve some of these difficult challenges.
“Startup Allegany’s Tri-Collegiate Think Tank Forum was a wonderful, impactful event that will help attendees ‘Hit the Ground Running’ on creating solutions to real-world problems. I am honored to have served as one of the speakers for this event, and I wish the attendees the very best in their ventures,” said Dr. Skip Sullivan, Alfred State College’s president, who kicked off the event.
“We are thrilled with the student enthusiasm and turnout for this first county-wide event, and remarks from each school’s president made the event even more impactful,” added Ashleigh Madison, IncubatorWorks Program Director and project manager for the event.
Dr. Shirley Mullen, Houghton College President, added, “The Tri-Collegiate Think Tank is a great opportunity for students from our three higher educational institutions to be inspired and motivated by each other—and to connect with potential mentors from all sectors of county leadership. I commend those who made this happen—even in the time of the pandemic—and hope it becomes an annual event in the county.”
Startup Allegany, the County’s collaborative group promoting entrepreneurial student-focused initiatives, hopes to hold more events that inspire students to pursue business ideas and solutions to real-world problems right here in Allegany County. “In Spring 2021, we are planning a Shark Tank-style business plan pitch competition with all three schools, and we are hoping the pandemic subsides by then as we want this to be a high-energy ‘live’ event,” said Ms. Madison.
Dr. Mark Zupan, President of Alfred University, who closed the event, commented, “We are heartened by the significant student, faculty and staff interest in entrepreneurship across the three institutions of higher education in Allegany County. This interest bodes well for creating new employment opportunities needed to retain our graduates in the region, leading to a brighter future for our County.”