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Heard on the Street: New business incubator to fire up in August

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As the renovation of the 115-year-old Conley-Maassbuilding nears the finish line, Jamie Sundsbakis starting to rev up a new business incubator.

Sundsbak, the founder of Rochester's BioAMentrepreneur group and a senior research technologist at Mayo Clinic, soon will leave Mother Mayo to take the wheel of the Collider business incubator, on the second floor of the historic downtown building at 14 Fourth St. SW.

"This is a natural evolution of what I've done with BioAm for the past few years," he said of the new role he's taking on. "First, it is about supercharging the ecosystem centered around entrepreneurship in and around Rochester."

The Collider should have at least two tenants soon after it opens, according to Sundsbak. They hope to announce them in the near future.

Owned by Traci and Hunter Downs, who are renovating the building , the more than 3,000-square-foot Collider is expected to open in August. The new Bleu Duck Kitchen restaurant opening on the first floor also is looking at an August launch date. The building is the first development in the Destination Medical Center's Discovery Square area.

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Traci Downs says some space, such as the second-floor offices of Area 10 Labsand Brandhoot, may be ready as early as July.

Sundsbak says he will be organizing entrepreneurial events, lining up Collider tenants and managing the day-to-day operations of the incubator. He hopes to create a high-profile network for business-minded folks to "plug into" when they move to Rochester.

While the Collider's goals are similar to those of the Mayo Clinic Business Accelerator, Hunter Downs said there is a need for both.

"It's not a competition. This is not meant to replace the Mayo Accelerator," he said. "We believe there is a need for a space that is less connected to Mayo, but still has some connections."

The bottom line for the Downs is that they want the Collider to give Rochester business a boost.

"Rochester is going to change a lot in the next five years. We'd like to help it transition as gracefully as possible," said Traci Downs.

Related Topics: MAYO CLINIC
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