May 31, 2019
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Announces Application Window is Open for Grow-NY Food and Agricultural Competition

TOP Governor Cuomo Announces Application Window is...

$3 Million Competition Aims to Transform Food and Agriculture Industry in Upstate New York

 

Competition Funded Through Upstate Revitalization Initiatives - Finger Lakes Forward, CNY Rising and Southern Tier Soaring - Regional Comprehensive Strategies to Revitalize Communities and Grow the Economy

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Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the application window is now open for round one of the Grow-NY food and agriculture competition. The competition is focused on growing an enduring food and agriculture innovation cluster in New York's Finger Lakes, Central New York and Southern Tier regions. The competition, which will run for three rounds, will offer a total of $3 million in funding for each round to innovative high-growth start-ups that are focused on the food and agriculture industry. Applications are open to start-ups from across the globe competing to win a $1 million top prize, two $500,000 prizes and four $250,000 prizes.

 

"New York's agricultural industry is one of the best in world, and the Grow-NY competition will attract innovative start-ups focused on this industry to put down roots in Upstate New York," Governor Cuomo said. "By bringing in new companies to find new ways to transform our state's food and agricultural industry, we are continuing to bolster these regional economies and foster growth in this critical industry statewide."

 

"New York has among the best food products in the world, and the agricultural industry is an important part of our upstate economy," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, who made today's announcement. "Continuing to build on our investments in agriculture, we've launched the Grow NY competition to fund and support startups in the industry. We are committed to fostering innovative ideas, boosting job growth, and promoting our farms and agricultural products that will further strengthen the economy."

 

Originally announced in the Governor's State of the State address this year, the Grow-NY initiative builds on the successful legacy of other state supported competitions such as 43North, Genius NY, Luminate NY and 76West. Funding for the Grow-NY competition will be provided through the Upstate Revitalization Initiatives connected with the three regions - Finger Lakes Forward, CNY Rising and Southern Tier Soaring. More information about Grow-NY is available here.

 

Cornell University will administer the competition through its Center for Regional Economic Advancement at its Ithaca campus in Tompkins County and at the Cornell AgriTech campus in the City of Geneva. The winners will have to commit to operating in the Finger Lakes, Central New York or Southern Tier regions for at least one year and will have to agree to participate in an equity share program in which a portion of their profits will be returned back to the program. In addition to prize money, this competition will support all operational, promotional and implementation expenses including marketing, events and a mentoring program that will bring finalists to the three regions, support their development and foster connections to the agriculture and food and innovation communities.

 

Applications for the Grow-NY competition will be accepted through July 15, 2019. From those applications, up to 20 semi-finalists will be selected and will enter a mentoring and business development phase from August to November. They will pitch their businesses to a panel of industry judges at the Grow-NY Food and Agriculture Summit, a public symposium and tradeshow set for November 12th and 13th at Joseph A. Floreano Rochester Riverside Convention Center. Based on these pitches and accompanying business plans, the judges will announce the seven winners who will receive prize money based on the following five criteria:

  • Viability of Commercialization and Business Model: the potential for the entrant to generate revenue and maintain a cost structure that allows for a competitive and sustainable business, demonstrate technological readiness or innovate to fulfill its value proposition;
  • Customer Value: the degree to which the entrant is providing something for which customers are willing to pay, and addressing a substantial market;
  • Food and Agriculture Innovation: the extent to which the entrant is pushing what's considered state-of-the-art in the food and agriculture industries, and contributing to Upstate New York's status as a global leader in innovation in these markets;
  • Regional Job Creation: the potential for creating high-quality jobs in the Grow-NY footprint; and
  • Team: the quality and completeness of the team and its readiness to deliver.

 

Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, "Grow-NY continues New York State's support for business competitions that build entrepreneurial ecosystems and will now bring industry tech and start-up innovation - as well as measurable economic impact - to the rich farming and agricultural areas of the Finger Lakes, Central and Southern Tier regions."  

 

State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, "We are thankful for this investment in our State's world-class agricultural and food industries, and we're eager to see the innovations that result. This initiative will help boost our Upstate economy and spread the word that New York State is producing some of the best, freshest and most nutritious food in the nation."  

 

Tom Schryver, Executive Director of Cornell's Center for Regional Economic Advancement, said, "Cornell is passionate about fostering start-up growth and advancing breakthrough innovations in food and agriculture. It is an honor to work alongside the Finger Lakes, Central, and Southern Tier regions of New York as they leverage their many strengths to establish a global reputation for hosting successful, leading-edge food and agriculture companies."

 

The Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Co-Chairs Dr. Anne Kress, President of Monroe Community College, and Bob Duffy, President and CEO, Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce said, "We are proud to support this innovative competition that is focused on growing the state's agricultural and food industries. The REDC investment in Governor Cuomo's Grow-NY competition will help to connect local industry partners with the cutting-edge ideas of these entrepreneurs and will further support our multi-pronged approach laid out in the Finger Lakes Forward Upstate Revitalization Initiative that is working to create a thriving regional economy.'

 

Central New York Regional Economic Development Council is chaired by Randy Wolken, President & CEO of the Manufacturers Association of Central New York and Deborah Stanley, President of the State University of New York at Oswego said, "New York State continues to experience unprecedented growth in the agriculture and food industries. The Governor's Grow-NY competition represents yet another exciting investment in our community that will further bolster regional job growth and further support our agricultural base throughout Central New York ensuring the region continues to rise."

 

Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chairs Harvey Stenger, President of Binghamton University, and Judy McKinney Cherry, Executive Director, Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development said, "New York's agriculture industry is one of the most prestigious in the nation, and this initiative with its investment is paramount to our regions' continued economic success. The Grow-NY competition enables innovative and competitive businesses and will further bolster our efforts to boost the regional economy helping the Southern Tier to soar."

 

Accelerating Finger Lakes Forward 

Today's announcement complements "Finger Lakes Forward," the region's comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The State has already invested more than $6.1 billion in the region since 2012 to lay the groundwork for the plan - investing in key industries including photonics, agriculture and food production, and advanced manufacturing. Today, unemployment is down to the lowest levels since before the Great Recession; personal and corporate income taxes are down; and businesses are choosing places like Rochester, Batavia and Canandaigua as a destination to grow and invest in.

 

Now, the region is accelerating Finger Lakes Forward with a $500 million State investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, announced by Governor Cuomo in December 2015. The State's $500 million investment will incentivize private business to invest well over $2.5 billion - and the region's plan, as submitted, projects up to 8,200 new jobs. More information is available here.

 

Accelerating CNY Rising

Today's announcement complements "Central NY Rising," the region's comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The State has already invested more than $5.6 billion in the region since 2012 to lay the groundwork for the plan - capitalizing on global market opportunities, strengthening entrepreneurship and creating an inclusive economy. Today, unemployment is down to the lowest levels since before the Great Recession; personal and corporate income taxes are down; and businesses are choosing places like Syracuse, Oswego and Auburn as a destination to grow and invest in.

 

Now, the region is accelerating Central NY Rising with a $500 million State investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, announced by Governor Cuomo in December 2015. The State's $500 million investment will incentivize private business to invest well over $2.5 billion - and the region's plan, as submitted, projects up to 5,900 new jobs. More information is available here.

 

Accelerating Southern Tier Soaring 

Today's announcement complements "Southern Tier Soaring the region's comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The State has already invested more than $6.2 billion in the region since 2012 to lay for groundwork for the plan - attracting a talented workforce, growing business and driving innovation. Today, unemployment is down to the lowest levels since before the Great Recession; personal and corporate income taxes are down; and businesses are choosing places like Binghamton, Johnson City and Corning as a destination in which to grow and invest. Now, the region is accelerating Southern Tier Soaring with a $500 million State investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, announced by Governor Cuomo in December 2015. The State's $500 million investment will incentivize private business to invest well over $2.5 billion - and the region's plan, as submitted, projects up to 10,200 new jobs. More information is available here.

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