SEDC’s Spark Saratoga Startup Incubator and Early Stage Business Accelerator to Host Summer Mentor Series at Universal Preservation Hall and Saratoga CoWorks

Media Contact:
Ryan Van Amburgh
Saratoga Economic Development Corporation
(518) 587-0945,

Saratoga Springs, NY – Summer in Saratoga has a lot to offer, including a growing hotbed of support for entrepreneurs ready to grow the next area business opportunities. SPARK Saratoga, an entrepreneur incubator and early stage company accelerator developed by Saratoga Economic Development Corporation (SEDC), announced its first Summer Speaker Series featuring established professionals who’ve sold their company to Time, Inc. (Sports Illustrated), led Microsoft new product rollouts, called shots on brand and marketing for Fortune 500 companies, wrote checks as investors and much more. The series will launch on June 27th with an e-commerce & operations focused workshop with Venture 7 Advisors at Universal Preservation Hall. Up to four added workshops covering marketing, finance, women entrepreneurs and the entrepreneur startup to acquisition cycle will be offered to benefit new and existing companies. It is a component of SPARK Saratoga’s commitment to inspire, mentor and accelerate area project team skills and development.

“When we announced our aggressive five-year growth plan to Advance Saratoga jobs and investment, a key element was boosting local entrepreneurs capacity to grow here,” said Dennis Brobston, President, SEDC. “With the help of area talent on our Advisory Team, we framed its objectives and rolled out SPARK Saratoga in April. With this series of workshops, we are now implementing a critical element to help our project teams develop by aligning them with talented professionals motivated to support our community and its next generation of innovators. That’s a value to families looking to keep young people here, second and third career skilled workers and retirees ready to get into business for themselves, and to our current investors competing to build on their legacy for more future success.”

The SPARK Saratoga Summer Series will include workshops in e-commerce, marketing, legal topics for business, capital markets, women entrepreneurs and feature inspirational stories of the failures frequently encountered that can lead to future success. Community partners at Universal Preservation Hall of Proctors Theater and Saratoga CoWorks will host the workshops.

“Proctors is committed to the continued growth of the Capital Region creative economy,” says Proctors CEO Philip Morris. “We’re glad to host SEDC’s workshops and support its efforts, through Spark Saratoga, to create opportunities and educate innovative young entrepreneurs.”

Invitations to the series are reserved for SPARK Saratoga’s admitted business project teams, representing 17 Capital Region businesses to date (since Spark Saratoga Launch on April 12th), and SEDC member investors. New project teams having undergone SPARK Saratoga market opportunity analysis and accepting mutually agreed action plans supporting their development will also receive invitations. Interested entrepreneurs should visit to initiate review of their idea or existing early stage business status.


“We have already benefited from the expertise of SPARK Saratoga and dozens of hours of preliminary business analysis and planning support,” said Maria Messier, Co-Founder and Managing Member of ExtendHer. “Without SPARK Saratoga’s support to date, we wouldn’t have been as competitive in the InnovateHER competition we just won. The experience led to our $1,700 award, but more impactfully, our recognition of needed gaps and ways to close them to boost our future growth.”


Entrepreneurial Improv-Personal experience in eCommerce and Business Operations & the Lessons Learned from Failure and Success at UPH
Bryan Ducharme, Partner, Venture 7 Advisors, founder of The Kodiak Group and serial entrepreneur
Larry Chernicoff, Partner, Venture 7 Advisors, founder of The Kodiak Group and serial entrepreneur
Tony Silvanic, Partner, Venture 7 Advisors, founder of The Kodiak Group and serial entrepreneur

Marketing & the Culture that is Your Brand series at Saratoga CoWorks
Jamie Butler Binley, Principal, Brand 21, formerly Co-Founder, FingerPaint
Scott Erickson, Principal, Manufaktur, formerly General Manager, Microsoft HoloLens

Women In Business – Leveraging Passion & Skills as an Entrepreneur at UPH
Angela Beddoe, Publisher, Herlife Magazine and Co-Founder G-Force Consulting
Dr. Tobi Saulnier, CEO, 1st Playable Productions

The Entrepreneur Experience – from Startup to Multinational Acquisition at UPH
Matt Scarchilli, CEO, Sandler Training, formerly co-founder SI Play

Capital Markets – What are your options & being prepared for investors at UPH
Mike Kocan, Managing Partner, Venture Capital at Trend Discovery Capital Management
John Cococcia, Venture Partner, Armory Square Ventures

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