Thursday, January 17, 2013 - 10:01am

The key to economic success within the Rochester community begins with relationships, partnerships and collaboration, and Rochester Institute of Technology's new Center for Urban Entrepreneurship needs your ideas in developing a strategic plan and programming for the downtown facility that is expected to open this fall.

RIT's E. Philip Saunders College of Business is extending an open invitation to potential community partners to attend one of two town hall meetings at the new Center for Urban Entrepreneurship, located at the former Rochester Savings Bank in the heart of downtown. The town hall meetings will be held at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 30, and 8 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 31, at the 40 Franklin St. facility.

"RIT's initiative is to foster economic development and help revitalize Rochester by tapping into citywide resources," says RIT President Bill Destler. "The town hall meetings will give us a pulse on what the community needs and how the center can help achieve an economic boost for area businesses and organizations while promoting new business ventures within the urban community."

Delmonize Smith, professor in RIT's Saunders College, says the center has a mission. "We want to contribute to reshaping the regional economy and build wealth within the urban community by being the hub for urban entrepreneurial programs, research and economic development."

Saunders College Dean dt ogilvie, who joined RIT last August, launched a similar program at the Rutgers Business School at Newark-New Brunswick, where she previously served as the founding director of the Center for Urban Entrepreneurship and Economic Development, which has worked with Newark, N.J., officials to help fledgling businesses.

"We need people and agencies working together, and the way to create economic development lies in helping people get into business and helping those in business be more effective business owners," says ogilvie.

"Many people deeply care about this city and want to help get it back on its feet. We see ourselves as part of the community and value your insights in making this happen."

Parking will be available in the rear of the facility as well as on-street parking and nearby parking garages. Sign language interpreting services available on request; call Dana Pelliccia at 585-475-2176 or email


Note: Last October, Rochester Institute of Technology became the recipient of the Rochester Savings Bank building in downtown Rochester due to the generosity of Amy and Robert Tait at Rochester Historic Ventures. The historical landmark will serve as the home of the new Center for Urban Entrepreneurship and be converted into a multi-use venue for other RIT activities.

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