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Accelerate LI reaches more than 100 local start-ups

Mark Lesko, executive director of Accelerate Long Island.

Mark Lesko, executive director of Accelerate Long Island. (June 5, 2012) Credit: Howard Schnapp

Accelerate Long Island, the nearly year-old effort to nurture the growth of high-tech companies here, has more than 100 local start-ups in its network of contacts, the organization said.

Mark Lesko, the executive director of Accelerate, said he included a business as part of the "ecosystem" of start-ups on Long Island if Accelerate had made contact with the company or vice versa.

Accelerate, which officially began last September, was created to bridge the gap between the Island's research institutions -- which may be working on discoveries that can be commercialized -- and entrepreneurs that are able to create and run companies, as a way to revitalize the local economy and create jobs.

Of the 100 or so companies within Accelerate's network, about 47 percent are in the social/mobile sector, 25 percent in biotech, 17 percent in clean energy, 10 percent in health care, and about 1 percent in a growing agri-bio industry on the East End, Lesko said.

Lesko said he was satisfied with the progress the organization has made since last year. In the short-term, Lesko said he sees the number of start-ups Accelerate is able to make contact with as a measure of the organization's success.

As time passes, Lesko plans to focus more on the amount of venture capital local companies can attract and ultimately, on the number of jobs created to gauge how Accelerate is faring.

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