On Nov. 4, 2019, nearly 100 Niagara County tourism, industry, and government officials and stakeholders gathered to watch Niagara University’s Niagara Global Tourism Institute cut the ribbon on its new TReC co-working incubator, which will connect entrepreneurs with the critical resources they need to create, launch, and grow businesses.
TReC, located at 616 Niagara St. in Niagara Falls, anchors a transformational live-work-play redevelopment of historic buildings. Its tourism-technology focus is a unique asset in WNY designed to magnify the region’s existing momentum in the entrepreneurial and tourism fields. TReC works directly with entrepreneurs starting a new company from conceptualization to their eventual establishment in the community, and provides startup companies with full suite of services, including business plan development and implementation, mentoring, and guidance with legal and financial matters.
“As economic development practices have changed to focus on nurturing small businesses from their earliest stages, we felt that it was imperative for Niagara County to have a place where entrepreneurs can get the best help possible in taking their ideas for a new company from the drawing board to the real world,” said Patrick Whalen, director of the NGTI, a Niagara University initiative focusing on collaborative partnerships between the public and private sector to enhance the regional tourism product and global competitiveness.
“As we said when we launched the Niagara Global Tourism Institute five years ago, this work is dictated by the founder of our Vincentian community, St. Vincent de Paul, and is part of our responsibility as an institution to invest in our community,” said the Rev. James J. Maher, C.M., president of Niagara University. “Niagara was the first college in the world to offer a bachelor’s degree in tourism, and now we are expanding our expertise in this field, building the NGTI as a driver to improve the quality of life for every citizen in this community. The new TReC incubator will be another way to facilitate innovation and development of new businesses in the tourism sector of Niagara Falls.”
TReC recently announced its affiliation with the Business Incubator Association of New York State, Inc., a nonprofit trade association established in 2005. BIA/NYS currently has more than 50 organizational members that operate more than 90 distinct incubator facilities and virtual business incubation programs statewide. This represents the majority of the active business incubators in New York state and spans general purpose, technology, microenterprise, and wet-lab bioscience facilities. Members include incubators associated with both public and private universities, regional nonprofit economic development organizations, and for-profit incubators.
“We couldn’t be more pleased to be part of the Business Incubator Association of New York State. Our affiliation with the incubator association opens up Niagara County and its entrepreneurs to a host of resources not previously available to our area,” said Whalen. “This is especially important for the city of Niagara Falls as the unprecedented overhaul of its downtown is setting the stage for a local economic renaissance.”
"We are pleased to welcome the Niagara Global Tourism Institute’s TReC into our membership,” said Marc Alessi, executive director of the Business Incubator Association of New York State. “Having a facility that focuses on tourism-related companies is relatively unique to the incubator movement, and having it right at one of the most world-renowned tourist destinations in the world makes this project that much more exciting. We look forward to working with Pat, Roscoe Naguit, and their team to boost the entire ecosystem statewide, and specifically add to the economic revitalization of the larger Niagara region."