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3 LI business-promotion groups form alliance

From left, Frank Otto, president of LIFT, Peter

From left, Frank Otto, president of LIFT, Peter Goldsmith, president of LISTnet, and Mark Lesko, executive director of Accelerate Long Island, after announcing a partnership among their three business organizations. (Nov. 29, 2012) Photo Credit: Barry Sloan

Three Long Island business organizations have formed a partnership that will aim to make the local business "ecosystem" more fertile for start-up companies.

Accelerate Long Island, the Long Island Software Technology Network and the Long Island Forum for Technology on Thursday announced they would be teaming up to promote the region as ripe for start-ups and offer services, such as networking and mentoring, for early-stage companies.

When Accelerate was being created, there were "a number of very good organizations that were kind of separately working to enhance the entrepreneurial ecosystem on Long Island," said Accelerate executive director Mark Lesko. "Collectively we're all better than if we were working separately."

Accelerate is an initiative launched earlier this year to encourage collaboration between local researchers and entrepreneurs in order to create new companies and, therefore, jobs.

LISTnet is a group that supports local companies in the software and information technology industry, and LIFT is a network for local manufacturers focused on technical sectors including aerospace, defense and energy.

Even before the partnership was formalized, Accelerate had already worked with both LISTnet and LIFT. For instance, Lesko is a member of the steering committee for LI Tech COMETS -- the Island's first start-up incubator, which is being spearheaded by LISTnet.

Lesko said he wants to leverage the business communities that LISTnet and LIFT had already formed within their own industries and bring them together to promote a larger technology hub on Long Island, instead of starting from scratch.

The partnership could also eventually aid future companies that Accelerate hopes to develop. For example, if Accelerate helped turn promising research into an item with commercial potential, LIFT would be able to offer its network of local manufacturers to build prototypes or even mass produce the final product, said LIFT president Frank Otto.

The three organizations are already working together to plan an event that would help local start-ups, said LISTnet president Peter Goldsmith.

"The three organizations represent the tech community on Long Island, all in different areas," Goldsmith said. "We're all looking to improve Long Island, we have the same goals, we feel comfortable working with one another, so let's form a formal strategic partnership and start doing things."

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