Print Edition

  Email News Updates

Otsego Innovation and Acceleration Center opens in Oneonta

By Traci DeLore (


The Otsego Innovation and Acceleration Center, which opened in February, helps small businesses and entrepreneurs grow their ideas and their businesses in Otsego County. Here, Paul Koch, of New Path Label Applicator, speaks with engineers at Custom Electronics about his product. The center is working with Koch to help him expand his market and gain crucial ties to manufacturing to help expand his inventory. (PHOTO CREDIT: OTSEGO INNOVATION & ACCELERATION CENTER)

ONEONTA, N.Y. — Entrepreneurs and businesses in Otsego County have a new resource available to them now that the Otsego Innovation and Acceleration Center has opened.

Otsego Now, the umbrella organization of Otsego County’s Industrial Development Agency and the Otsego County Capital Resource Corporation, opened the center in February. 

“It’s open and ready to work with the community,” Gina Gardner, coordinator of the Otsego Innovation and Acceleration Center, says. “We would like to work with startup businesses looking to expand their marketing reach.”

The center provides an array of services to businesses through Otsego Now, the Small Business Development Center, SUNY Oneonta, and Hartwick College. From manufacturing to medical research, the center can help just about any business, Gardner contends, but notes that center staff want to focus on businesses that are ready to locate in the county and create jobs.

Recognizing it can take a lot to bring a product or business from an idea to reality, the center can provide mentoring, networking, office space in the Otsego Now building at 189 Main St. in Oneonta, marketing, cost analyses, product testing, and manufacturing assistance. Custom Electronics, Inc. and Ioxus are working with the center to offer the product testing and manufacturing help.

“Small businesses provide the country with approximately 85 percent of the intellectual property generated in the country, and helping those businesses start and grow locally will help the area with job growth, workforce training for many years to come,” Chad Hall, Ioxus SVP of sales and operations, said in a press release announcing the center’s opening.

The IDA can offer advice to entrepreneurs on financing options available to them, while mentorship will come from both SUNY Oneonta and Hartwick College. 

The center uses an application process to determine which businesses it will work with, Gardner says. Those interested can email for more information.

The idea for the center came in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and the significant impact it had on the county’s primarily tourism-based economy. “Tourism makes up a huge chunk of business in Otsego County,” Gardner says. 

During the pandemic, the county lost about 60,000 tourist visits, dropping the county’s sales-tax revenue by 30 percent and bed tax by 50 percent.

The IDA recognized manufacturing as a growth sector. In fact, Otsego County only has about 200 manufacturing/technology jobs, Gardner says, and officials want more of those good-paying jobs.

The center hopes to recruit at least 12 businesses or entrepreneurs to work with over the next 18 months, in hopes they will grow and stay in Otsego County. While there is a focus on the manufacturing and tech industry, the center is open to anyone with an idea.