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Inside the FLX: A closer look at Port 100 in Geneva

Port 100, located on Castle St. in Geneva.

40 percent of the workforce will be contract employees by 2020. Those were the numbers Chris Cooley, advisor to the Port 100 project in Geneva, used to support why they feel it will be successful. While their Castle Street location is officially open a number of spaces remain available to freelancers and entrepreneurs alike.

On Friday’s edition of Inside the FLX Cooley, Michael George Gonzalez, and Maureen Ballatori joined Josh Durso to discuss the project taking Geneva by storm.

Cooley has served as an advisor to the Port 100 project since it’s inception. City Manager Matt Horn spearheaded the effort to turn that Castle Street location into a workable venue to push economic development. The trio talked about the importance of creating a community that allows for those working inside to collaborate and have diversity available to them 24/7.

Gonzalez, who was tapped to learn from Cooley regarding the operation of Port 100, described the experience thus far as an “awakening in people’s perception of what can be accomplished. Gonzalez brings a diverse background into the Port 100 project. Originally from Geneva, he spoke to his experience leaving the area — and coming back to Geneva with new ideas.

Ballatori brought her relatively new business into Port 100 with overwhelming success. While she spoke to the efforts she has taken personally to ensure that her business can thrive on it’s own — having the support of a community has been beneficial. “Being able to ask someone next to me with their thoughts on a problem is an incredible benefit,” Ballatori explained.

The deep roots in community are what make the Port 100 project, and those like it throughout the world so successful. They’re commonly executed throughout the world — and while not every venture is a successful one — those behind the Port 100 project believe they’ve found the right combination to make it successful.

The commitment is minimal for those who are looking to join the Port 100 community. It costs $150 per month and provides access to a wide-range of amenities for those who take part. Entrance into the community is directed by the participants, as well as those who manage the Castle Street location.

They encourage anyone who feels they might be a good fit for the Port 100 venture to visit their website to learn more and setup a tour.

Port 100 is currently running a competition in collaboration with Hobart and William Smith Colleges to promote diversity within the city.

It’s a business plan competition, which will provide one firm in the African-American and/or Latino communities with access to Port 100. That access will be funded for one year by the competition.

The following elements have to be addressed in order for a plan to win.

Identifying the product or service provided, identifying the market research that had been executed to ensure that it’s viable in the region, looking at potential competitors — or services that closely mirror the one in the business plan, as well as identifying potential customers, which are all necessary parts of running or managing a successful business.

Business plan submissions will need to be sent to City Manager Matt Horn’s office at 47 Castle Street, or emailed to Horn at mdh@geneva.ny.us.

Watch the entire interview in the video window above. Inside the FLX airs Sunday’s at 7 pm on Time Warner Cable Channel 12 and is available in the iTunes Store here.

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