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High Growth Companies Need Our Region’s Colleges

Thank you Upstate Venture Connect (UVC) for shedding light on an important economic development opportunity. UVC is a nonprofit organization founded and led by accomplished entrepreneurs dedicated to supporting entrepreneurship and advocating for our region’s high growth startups.

Richard Glaser

Richard Glaser

UVC recently released the 2018-19 Upstate CEO Report, the third annual online survey of scalable startups. The survey was conducted in partnership with LeMoyne College’s Madden School of Business and included 179 respondents, with 48 participants from the Rochester area. The companies were selected based on their focus on national and global customers since they have an outsized impact upon Upstate’s economic growth. They tend to be in newer industries and are often inadequately identified in other polling or research data.

Among the survey’s findings:

  • The average salary at scalable firms that responded to the survey is about $78,000, about 67 percent higher than the average salary in the survey’s target area and 12 percent higher than the average salary in New York City.
  • Net job creation at scalable companies well into the first decade of growth (though, admittedly, the rate of failure is higher), with CEOs of companies from 0 to 10 years old projecting hiring rates of more than 600 percent over the next five years. Those that have been around for at least 11 years expect to grow more than 40 percent over the next five years.
  • The survey respondents plan to fill more than 650 entry-level positions in 2019, and about 62 percent of those positions will require a college degree.

The survey notes that talent attraction is the number one input driving the growth of these companies. It identifies that that 6 out of 10 entry-level jobs at these firms require a college degree. Since Upstate NY is home to over 100 colleges, it is surprising that only half of the companies hire on campus.

Our economic development leaders can benefit from reviewing and disseminating this data. Organizations such as Greater Rochester Enterprise, the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council and the Chamber of Commerce have additional justification to promote their initiatives to achieve greater linkages between companies and campuses.

Richard A. Glaser is the founder of RocGrowth, a community platform supporting entrepreneurship and innovation.

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