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RIT to invest in local start-up businesses

The Rochester Institute of Technology has launched a venture fund to help boost economic development in the region. Businesses with ties to the university will be eligible for funding through the fund.

The $3.5 million fund will offer financial help to start-up and emerging companies that are associated with RIT. Students, alumni, faculty, and businesses associated with the university's business incubator, Venture Creations, will be eligible for the funding.

Jim Watters of RIT's finance administration says the fund is not a philanthropic endeavor, as they plan to make good investments in promising businesses. Watters says the fund will also inject capital into the local economy and create jobs in the area.

"This is often times some of the hardest money for young entrepreneurs to find, some of that first early seed money," Watters said. "We understand that gap in the funding model and so therefore we're stepping up and we think that we can help a lot of folks out by providing access to this kind of money."

Investment amounts range between $500,000 and $700,000 per year for the few selected companies.

WXXI/Finger Lakes Reporter for the Innovation Trail