Entrepreneurs routinely encounter difficult questions along the path of entrepreneurship: In an ever-changing business environment, do I stay the course or change strategies if I want to achieve success? To help entrepreneurs answer critical questions such as this one, more than 60 Capital Region-based entrepreneurs, business, and academic experts will participate in the Business Opportunities to Success Summit (BOSS) daylong event on Wednesday, Nov. 12, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn in Troy, New York.

The program is hosted by the Rensselaer Technology Park and Emerging Ventures Ecosystem (EVE) in collaboration with the Center for Economic Growth.


Last year’s BOSS event was titled “Mastering the Pivot” and featured more than 75 Capital Region-based business and academic leaders who discussed their pathways to entrepreneurship.

“In its second year, the Business Opportunities to Success Summit has enabled Rensselaer to reaffirm its commitment to innovation and technological entrepreneurship, and provides an opportunity for participants to develop productive partnerships with entrepreneurial, industry, academic, and government leaders from all over the region,” said James Spencer, executive director of the Rensselaer Technology Park, real estate and new venture development, and acting director of the Office of Intellectual Property, Technology Transfer, and New Ventures.

The event is open to entrepreneurs, executives, researchers, students, business professionals, aspiring entrepreneurs, and investors. BOSS breaks the mold of traditional conferences, seminars, and networking events by combining elements of all three in a fast-paced format that maximizes the exposure of participants and attendees to potential customers, strategic partners, service providers, mentors, and collaborators.

Participants will have access to insight from many of the region’s successful entrepreneurs, executives, and business professionals. Each speaker will spend five minutes sharing concise, candid insights on what experience has taught them. Overall, BOSS has been designed so that each attendee will leave with several memorable business-transforming, actionable ideas.

The speakers represent a range of businesses and academe in areas that include law, intellectual property, game design, social entrepreneurship, electrical/electronic manufacturing, information technology, human resources, consulting, nonprofits, engineering, biotechnology, insurance, and business development.

boss summitThis year’s event features an entirely different lineup, and some participating speakers include: Guha Bala, president of Vicarious Visions; Eben Bayer ’07, cofounder and chief executive officer of Ecovative; Marcia White, president and executive director for the Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC); Ed Mitzen, founder of Fingerpaint; and Daniel Pickett III, CEO, nFrastructure, among others.

The topics and format of the event are based upon a user-friendly “Innovators Commercialization and New Venture Framework,” which provides participants with a roadmap designed to move an entrepreneur or innovator from idea conception to startup and eventual business growth. Spencer noted that the roadmap serves as a visual how-to guide to help individuals and teams to determine critical activities typical of the different stages of growth and where to access key resources a business needs at various stages along the path to prosperity.

“In my 20-year experience as a serial entrepreneur, I’ve learned that new venture incubation is a process of discovery–not a place– but it is still important to bring all the key players together in an open forum where aspiring entrepreneurs, researchers, students, and professionals can share experiences and information and then engage,” Spencer said. “While many entrepreneurs take pride in their ability to ‘pivot’ on their own, the truly resourceful ones know that starting and running a new venture is really a team sport. Getting help and guidance from those with relevant experience and expert knowledge is not a sign of weakness, but of intelligence, for the very practical reason that learning from someone else’s experiences can shorten the time and cost it takes to succeed and win.”

The Business Opportunities to Success Summit (BOSS) was launched in December 2013. More than 400 individuals attended the inaugural event.

Registration is required to attend. Group discounts and sponsorship opportunities are also available.

To learn more about the Rensselaer Technology Park, and the Emerging Ventures Ecosystem (EVE), visit the Rensselaer Innovation HUB website.