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Upstate business leaders form coalition to address pandemic

Upstate New York business leaders have formed a coalition to address the COVID-19 pandemic and how it affects business.

Upstate Venture Connect is an entrepreneur-led nonprofit that is building a region-wide startup community for upstate businesses. Its mission is to empower and connect entrepreneurs to the people and resources needed for building high-growth companies.

The organization has thus far brought together 35 CEOs from emerging technology companies to take a pledge to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Rochester-area business leaders who have signed the pledge include Patrick Bosek of Jorsek Inc., Mikael Totterman and Alex Zapesochny of Clerio Vision Inc., Ralph Dandrea of ITX Corp. and Justin Copie of Innovative Solutions.

“With technology moving faster than people, high-growth businesses in Upstate New York can rise above this massive outbreak,” said Martin Babinec, founder and chairman of UVC. “Our joining together to advocate these important measures can be influential in getting other leaders across the region to do the same.”

The pledge reads, in part:

• First, we are strongly encouraging the majority of our workers to work from home as soon as possible, leaving behind the minimum possible in-office presence;
• Second, we are restricting work travel by our employees, both domestically and internationally. We are also strongly advising our employees to be thoughtful about all personal travel, particularly where they would be congregating in larger groups;
• Third, we are moving all clients, visitors and interviews to remote-only meetings and not currently welcoming onsite visitors;
• Fourth, wherever possible we are strongly encouraging our vendors, service providers and partner businesses to take similar precautions;
• Fifth, we are each consulting with our teams to find ways of supporting our local healthcare workers by helping to purchase critical medical resources such as additional tests and protective equipment, and supporting the work of local nonprofit organizations that are helping at-risk communities who will be severely impacted by this pandemic;
• Finally, we are calling on the community to support the government’s effort in restricting public gatherings and other non-essential activity as well as following guidance on keeping social distance and stepped up measures for sanitizing personal hygiene and contact surfaces.

UVC has activated a LISTSERV for CEOs in upstate to help them share resources and best practices for surviving an economic downturn. Other upstate CEOs can join the coalition at

[email protected] / 585-653-4021
Follow Velvet Spicer on Twitter: @Velvet_Spicer


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