Maria Pidgeon, associate director for Innovate 518

Innovating the Innovators

UAlbany’s ongoing efforts to forge economic development in the Capital Region took a major step forward with the hiring of Maria Pidgeon as its associate director for Innovate 518.
Innovate 518 is a New York State-designated “Innovation Hot Spot” led by UAlbany. It aims to help small technology-based Capital Region businesses with solid growth potential establish a solid foundation. The program does so by providing access to incubators that offer mentorship, business services and strategies for obtaining new capital. It also supports student entrepreneurial opportunities.

In 2014, UAlbany was awarded $250,000 per year for three years from the Empire State Development to develop Innovate 518. Currently, the University is partnering with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the Center for Economic Growth on the initiative to determine the best hot spot locations for the region.

Pidgeon’s prior experience has her feeling right at home as Innovate 518’s leader. Prior to taking the position at UAlbany, she served as a senior economic developer for the City of Albany and was the director of a College of St. Rose program promoting entrepreneurship through academic-business collaboration.