SBA Syracuse February Newsletter | Success Story: Inforia, Inc. | Emerging Leaders Class of 2013 Recruitment

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February 15, 2013

It's Your Business

Syracuse District Office Newsletter

Brought to you by the U.S. Small Business Administration

Success Story: Inforia, Inc.

Inforia, Inc. President Karen Goetz (center) meets with employees Ryan Long and Jennifer Pitt

After First Home Run, Syracuse Woman Takes Second Swing At Entrepreneurship

In 1986, innovator Karen Goetz saw a business opportunity to transform the way event tickets were sold in the arts, sports and entertainment industries. Her developers created graphical seat-selection software for PCs, unimagined at the beginning of the PC revolution during the 1980s.  Goetz’s startup company was the first to the marketplace with a color-coded, interactive seating chart that made selling tickets not only user friendly for the entertainment venues that were her customers, but also able to capture important data on who their customers were who were buying tickets.  TicketsLive grew rapidly from three employees to 125 in five countries. 

In 1995, Goetz and her team foresaw the growth of the Internet as a marketplace, and began transforming the company from solely a provider of computerized box office ticketing systems to one of the most advanced Internet ticketing companies and networks in the world, with a base of 150 million tickets available for sale on the Internet from customers in the U.S. and four international subsidiaries.  In 1996, TicketsLive was the first company in the world to sell tickets, live, over the Internet, demonstrated at the New York State Fair in Syracuse, N.Y.  After building TicketsLive from the ground up for 13 years, Goetz sold the successful company to a competitor in 1999 and planned to savor an early retirement.  But walking away from entrepreneurship wasn’t as easy as she expected. 

“When you’ve been working to build a business and traveling all over the world, to just sit at home was not what I wanted to do after all. I love running businesses for two reasons: I love figuring out solutions that really help our customers and I love seeing my employees grow,” she says.

> Read more about Karen's success story

e200 Syracuse Class of 2013 Recruitment Starts

e200 logo

Is your small business ready for growth? Do you need a new strategic plan to increase profitability? Since 2008, the SBA Emerging Leaders initiative has helped nearly 1,000 promising small business owners across the country grow their businesses with support, resources and skills to succeed. Syracuse has been selected to host the initiative for the third year in a row. The free eight-month program offers overy 100 hours of training per participant and provides the opportunity for small business owners to work on their businesses with experienced mentors, attend classroom work-sessions and develop connections with their peers, community leaders, and financial communities.

Local recruitment for the 2013 class is underway. Interested small business owners are invited to learn more about the initiative at the Emerging Leaders Kickoff Event on February 19 at 2:00 p.m. at The Tech Garden. This event will feature Class of 2013 graduate Karen Goetz (see article above) and the opportunity to network with instructor John Liddy and other graduates in attendance. All letters of interest from small business owners must be submitted to SBA by March 15.

For more information, please contact James Quackenbush at 315-471-9393 ext. 252 or

> Read about the 2012 graduating class

> Learn more about the Emerging Leaders initiative

SBA, Presidential Innovation Fellows Launch New Online Contracting System

SBA and President Innovation Fellows launched RFP-EZ in January, a new online marketplace that streamlines the government contracting process, making it simpler for small businesses to find and bid on low-dollar contracts from federal agencies. 

The new program allows the government to source low-cost, high-impact solutions from innovative tech companies.  A limited number of low-dollar contracts through RFP-EZ are now available at  If successful, the pilot will be expanded to include more contracts for a more diverse group of innovative startups. 

“The federal government gets access to the most innovative startups, helping us lower costs and get more bang for the dollars we spend,” said Sean Greene, SBA’s Associate Administrator for Investment and Innovation.  “The small businesses get access to the largest customer in the world.  It’s a win-win.”

The government procurement process can be complicated and intimidating.  RFP-EZ represents a unique opportunity for innovative startups to easily access the federal government marketplace and, in turn, help fuel job growth throughout the country.  RFP-EZ also will enable the federal government to secure better and less expensive products and services, saving taxpayer dollars and improving results delivered. 

The streamlined process helps save significant amounts of time for all types of business, especially high-growth startups. By simply creating a company profile on the beta site, each small business can search and bid for contracts relevant to its skill set. A small business can easily search for an opportunity, see a statement of work, and bid all within the RFP-EZ web interface.


02/26  8:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.
Women In Innovation Roundtable with SBA Regional Advocate in Syracuse

The WISE Women's Business Center will host SBA Regional Advocate Teri Coaxum for a free roundtable discussion on issues facing women entrepreneurs. Register by 02/21 with the Women's Business Center at (315) 443-8634 or email wisecenter

03/06   8:30 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.
Business Planning Workshop in Corning

The Corning SBDC will present this free workshop designed for the person who is thinking about starting their own small business or an existing business owner seeking financing. Topics discussed will be Federal and State legal requirements and how to write a business plan. Register by 03/04 with the SBDC at (607) 937-6861 or e-mail sbdc@

03/21     8:30 am - 1:00 pm
Operation: Start Up & Grow Conference in Syracuse

The sixth annual business conference for veterans will be held at Onondaga Community College in Syracuse. Veterans interested in starting or expanding their own business are invited to attend this free event. For details, please visit


For an entire listing of all events held in the SBA Syracuse District, click here.