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Forum highlights colleges' impact on local economy

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Forum highlights colleges' impact on local economy
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One of the largest economic driving forces in the North Country is the colleges. As YNN's Barry Wygel reports, one university showcases a new program to help businesses launch in the region.

POTSDAM, N.Y. -- When it comes to new ideas, North Country college students are full of them.

"E3Cube store is a one stop shop online puzzle shop where you can get any puzzle you need," said Evan Jennings, a Clarkson University freshman.

"It's a water bottle with a twist off compartment at the bottom, so you can store your keys, money, jewelry, etc," said Briar Bonadonna, a Clarkson freshman.

With the help of Clarkson University, these students have actually started their dream business.

"Clarkson actually awarded me the young innovators scholarship, so in exchange for tuition they are getting a portion of my profits," said Bonadonna.

Programs like this have numerous benefits.

"It's not just about educating students, it's also about rebuilding communities, revitalizing the economy. It's about creating new jobs through start-up corporations," said Jason Lane, author of "Universities and Colleges as Economic Drivers."

Officials say start-ups are key to revitalizing the North Country Economy, and something that should be encouraged everywhere.

"The governor has been very smart by tying his initiatives to colleges. These are where the ideas are happening. This is where the research is already being done," said Lonnie Threatte, asst. secretary for education in the governor's office.

Clarkson officials say proposals like the governor's innovation hot spots will help replicate the success Clarkson has had at other institutions.

As part of Monday's forum, students were able to pitch their business ideas to potential investors from a private equity firm. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP