This week, IgniteU NY held a two-day intensive customer discovery workshop. This was the first of four workshops, sponsored by IgniteU in collaboration with National Grid, designed to:
•    Support entrepreneurial ventures
•    Connect new companies to key resources
•    Address their critical problems
•    Assist them in capitalizing on emerging opportunities
Earlier this year, National Grid’s CleanTech Incubation program awarded grant funding to NYSTEC, an independent not-for-profit technology consulting company. IgniteU is powered by NYSTEC.


The workshop, held October 9 – 10, 2017, was led by Lorraine Ferguson, a dynamic trainer and coach who has helped hundreds of organizations and companies transform their customer acquisition process utilizing the Sandler Training proven strategies. The Customer Discovery 2.0 workshop focuses on how to set up, conduct, and follow up customer interviews through building honest business relationships. Kyle Henchey of QwikSupply stated “The different strategies and exercises we practiced are not only beneficial to the business world, they’re items you’ll be able to utilize in all different aspects of your life.”


IgniteU, National Grid, and Lorraine worked together to tailor the workshop towards early stage companies to provide direct assistance to companies being incubated in the Capital Region. Lorraine went through the steps of preparing for prospective customer outreach to completing the initial call. She made it a fun, interactive session with a lot of opportunities for collaboration between the different startups participating in the workshop. We had representatives from 11 different startups in Upstate New York, ranging from virtual reality video games to a saltwater back-up battery pack solution. 

“The Customer Discovery workshop was an incredible event. I wish I had this training years ago, it would have saved my company countless hours of spinning our wheels and led to faster growth,” said Rick Newkirk of Stonewall Defense. “We began implementing the lessons we learned immediately! This event was a real testament as to how IgniteU is sparking business growth in the Capital Region.”

There will be another workshop in early November 2017 on due diligence, facilitated by Dave Wojeski of Wojeski & Co and Matthew Wagoner from The Wagoner Firm. 

These two workshops will be offered again in the spring.