BINGHAMTON, NY (WIVT/WBGH) – NewsChannel 34 is beginning a new collaboration with the Koffman Southern Tier Incubator highlighting the promising startups receiving space and support.

Our first Koffman Innovation is Strategic Test Prep.

Owner Laura Whitmore began working for another college admissions test preparation business in Florida back in 2007.

When she moved back to our area, she continued doing some tutoring on the side while also working as a middle school math teacher.

A year and a half ago, she secured a space in the Koffman Incubator in downtown Binghamton, incorporated her business and began seeing students last Summer.

What distinguishes Whitmore’s business is her focus on in-person tutoring. While she offers virtual sessions for those who require it, Whitmore says the students are more focused, more active and take the lessons more seriously when they’re done face-to-face.

“I’ve worked with hundreds of students at this point,” said Whitmore. “I feel that every year, I get better at this. It’s an art, it’s a craft and the more students I work with, the more my skills develop. I think that I am at the top of my game right now.”

With the help of her mentor at the Koffman Incubator, Whitmore entered this year’s Binghamton Business Plan Competition and won.

Strategic Test Prep received 5 thousand dollars in startup capital along with a host of free professional services from local marketing, accounting, legal and website firms.

Whitmore says her next step is to hire some additional tutors, especially ones with math and science backgrounds.

In addition to helping students raise their SAT and ACT scores, she plans to start offering assistance with college applications, essays and STEM learning.

Whitmore says, “If you’re a parent that’s out there and you have a student that’s in middle or high school, and they’re struggling academically, my company is going to help you sleep at night. Bring your kids to us, you are in good hands, we will help them boost their confidence on the test and in their classes.”

Whitmore says she’s recently become a reader of applications for prestigious universities giving her more insight into what the schools are looking for.

While she eventually wants to establish her own location for tutoring, Whitmore says she’s in no hurry to leave the incubator. She says the advice and encouragement she’s received has been invaluable.

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