August 15, 2018
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Announces $2 Million Idea NY Business Competition

Governor Cuomo Announces $2 Million Idea NY Business Competition

New Competition Will Bolster Entrepreneurship and Accelerate Innovation in the Mohawk Valley

Investment Will Support the Creation of Viable Commercial Businesses

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced $2 million has been awarded to the Griffiss Institute to support IDEA NY, a business accelerator competition and twelve-month program that will incentivize promising entrepreneurs to create and grow viable commercial businesses in the Mohawk Valley region. The Innovation & Development Entrepreneurial Accelerator NY Mohawk Valley program will focus on the Cyber Security, Big Data, Information Systems and UAS industries. It will also build on the successful Air Force Research Laboratory Commercialization Academy - a national leader for facilitating the transfer of military technologies into the commercial marketplace. The award was recommended by the Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Council.

"The IDEA NY business competition will attract entrepreneurs to the Mohawk Valley and foster innovative businesses in fast-growing sectors of the 21st century economy," Governor Cuomo said. "Through access to comprehensive technology and training programs, participants will create the next generation of businesses that drive the regional economy forward."

"This new competition will help to attract businesses and spark innovation in the Mohawk Valley region," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "This funding for the IDEA NY business competition will grow the tech industry in the area and continue to support promising entrepreneurs and economic development of the 21st century."

The Griffiss Institute is a 501(c)(3) organization that advocates and facilitates the co-operation of private industry, academia and the Air Force Research Laboratory Information Directorate, in developing solutions to critical cyber security problems. The Air Force Research Laboratory has a portfolio of nearly 100 patents from which entrepreneurs may draw technologies to build businesses, with most having multiple applications in the fields of Unmanned Aerial Systems, data analytics/Internet of Things, and cybersecurity.

"I am very excited about this grant! To my knowledge, this is the most significant example of any state teaming with a national laboratory to create new business, new jobs, and economic growth," said William Wolf, President, Griffiss Institute. "IDEA NY will boost talented entrepreneurs to create new business, right here in the Mohawk Valley. Building on the AFRL Commercialization Academy with its proven record of 45 new startups in the past four years, the IDEA NY accelerator program will attract even more highly-qualified visionaries to our region."

The grant will enable the Griffiss Institute to provide seed money to entrepreneurs and businesses over three years, with two cohorts of up to 10 teams per year competing for IDEA NY funding. Teams will enter the Air Force Research Laboratory Commercialization Academy business incubator program, and then compete for $300,000 in prize seed funding, with $200,000 going to the overall winner and $100,000 going to the runner-up. The remaining teams will be awarded up to $8,000 in "consolation" prize money to reimburse for expenses incurred during the incubation process.

The Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Council has guided nearly $5 million in investment to Griffiss International Airport, cybertechnology and UAS related projects, leveraging more than $22 million in total investment since 2011. By recommending the award for IDEA NY, which is part of the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, the MVREDC furthers its commitment to support the growth and success of cyber tech and Unmanned Aerial Systems entrepreneurs who work in the region.

The two winning teams will then participate in the year-long IDEA NY accelerator program, in which technical assistance will be provided to help them grow their businesses. These teams will be hosted at the Griffiss Institute, and the teams will be required to reside in the Mohawk Valley for at least one year.

The Griffiss Institute and its partners will recruit teams through existing local and national networks. The two prize winners will commit to moving their businesses to the Mohawk Valley for at least one year. An application will go live on September 11 on

Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, "The IDEA NY competition will foster the growth of small businesses in vital industries like cybersecurity while preparing and training entrepreneurs in the Mohawk Valley."

Senator Joseph Griffo said, "It is important that we continue to seek innovative ways to help entrepreneurs grow their businesses. The IDEA NY program has the potential to nurture and develop new ideas in a variety of tech-related industries here in the Mohawk Valley and to provide entrepreneurs with a resource that can assist them with getting their businesses up and running."

Senator James L. Seward said, "The Mohawk Valley has a rich manufacturing tradition with companies and employees dedicated to excellence. As the economic pendulum swings toward technology, the region is again outpacing the competition with new enterprises and ideas taking flight. The IDEA-NY program will serve as a launching pad for the next wave of Mohawk Valley businesses and I encourage aspiring entrepreneurs to take part in this unique competition. My thanks to Governor Cuomo, the Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Council and the Griffiss Institute for advancing this regionally significant program."

Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente said, "The creation of the IDEA NY competition is a fantastic way to spur innovation and diversify entrepreneurship among the burgeoning high-tech industry in Oneida County and the Mohawk Valley. I thank Governor Cuomo for the funding to launch this initiative and I look forward to the results it will yield."

Rome Mayor Jacqueline M. Izzo said, "IDEA NY Mohawk Valley builds upon the successful AFRL Commercialization Academy initiatives with our identified economic drivers of Cybersecurity, Big Data, Information Systems and UAS industries providing an economic framework to further encourage a strong entrepreneurial component to help strengthen and grow businesses locally to supplement our economy. We are fortunate to have a world class Air Force Research Laboratory in our backyard, something unique and different than many other cities across America, and programs like IDEA NY Mohawk Valley will assist the business risk takers of the future to take full advantage of the cutting edge military technologies developed at AFRL to research new business ideas and strategies, and most importantly to foster and nurture those new technologies right here in Rome and Oneida County by utilizing the tools available at the Griffiss Institute."

Contact the Governor's Press Office

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