Empire State Development meetings

Find meeting advisories, agendas, and materials related to key New York State development projects and initiatives. 

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Thursday, September 30, 2021 - 3:24pm
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Press Release

Tuesday, September 28, 2021 - 2:00pm
Milestone in Buffalo Blueway Project to Connect Residents with Nature, Increase Opportunities for Recreation $2 Million Project Celebrates Grand Opening After Just Five Months of Construction Empire State Development (ESD), the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper (BNW) today celebrated the grand opening of the $2 million renovated Buffalo Blueway site, DEC’s Buffalo River – Ohio Street Fishing Access Site. The ESD-funded project, completed by BNW, adds to the network of public access points along the city’s waterways as part of the Buffalo Blueway project, a regional effort to improve and enhance waterfront access and opportunities for recreation.  See pictures of the site here. The newly expanded and enhanced DEC-owned site at Ohio Street will enable better access to paddling, car-top boats, fishing and passive recreation along the Buffalo River waterfront. The construction project, which was completed in just five months by BNW and its contractor, Scott Lawn Yard, includes the following enhancements: Car-top Boat Launch: Improved boat launch features carry-in, car-top fishing boat access and paddle craft launching with timber guiderails. Wheelchair Accessible Fishing Pier: Pedestrian promenade/walkway and fixed pier overlook platform provides universal access to the river. North Path: Now provides pedestrian connections to Ohio Street and the Shoreline Trail while evoking the former rail line. Debris Deflection: Two newly installed floating deflectors will help mitigate wave forces and deflect floating debris and flowing ice away from the shoreline and boat launch. Central Dropoff: New vehicular and pedestrian traffic pattern allows for more efficient launching. Parking: Upgrades to parking area pavements and pathways allow for improved public access. “This new Buffalo Blueway site improves equitable access to Western New York’s greatest asset – its waterfront – and I want to thank Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper for their continued leadership and partnership to get these projects completed, as well as the state DEC for its collaboration on this Ohio Street site,” said Empire State Development Chief Operating Officer and Executive Deputy Commissioner Kevin Younis.  “This is just the latest example of how Buffalo Blueway public access projects are increasing recreation and tourism to the area while enhancing the region’s waterfront.” “DEC is excited to reopen the Buffalo River – Ohio Street Fishing Access site today to further enhance the newly revitalized Buffalo River corridor,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “Once an abandoned railroad property, this now popular recreational spot now draws anglers and outdoors enthusiasts of all ages. Working with our project partners, DEC is pleased to announce today our latest efforts to improve access to the river for anglers, boaters, and kayakers, and restore shoreline habitat for fish and wildlife.”  “Our vision for the Buffalo Blueway is becoming a reality, with enhanced public access for everyone to enjoy their waterfront and the Buffalo River,” said Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper Executive Director Jill Jedlicka. “For the first three decades of our existence, Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper worked tirelessly to lead the cleanup partnership efforts that resulted in a once-dead Buffalo River becoming a thriving, vibrant ecosystem that is now being activated with recreational activity from locals and tourists alike. Supporting the growth of the region’s sustainable blue economy continues to be a goal of our ongoing environmental restoration work, and by offering universal access to our waterways through the Blueway system, these kinds of projects will continue to accelerate economic activity for our entire waterfront.” Design partners on the project include Anchor QEA, Watts Engineering and Edgewater Resources. In January 2017, New York State announced a $10 million award to Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper in an effort to expand and enhance waterfront access. This investment – the Buffalo Blueway – connects a network of public access points located strategically near existing sites and attractions along Lake Erie, the Niagara River and Buffalo River corridors to increase recreation and tourism and spur private development. In 2019, major site enhancements were implemented at Buffalo RiverWorks, Wilkeson Pointe and Mutual Riverfront Park. The site enhancements include a massive public art mural at Buffalo RiverWorks, along with Blueway-specific metal markers and interpretive and safety signage at the three sites. Now that the Ohio Street site is complete, BNW’s next Buffalo Blueway construction project will be improvements at Red Jacket Riverfront Natural Habitat Park in Erie County. BNW is also in the design phase with another Erie County park, Seneca Bluffs, as a Buffalo Blueway site. Construction will begin at Seneca Bluffs next year. Senator Sean Ryan said, “The Buffalo Blueway project has been a boon to our continuing efforts to make Buffalo’s waterfront more accessible to the residents of Western New York. By improving public access to the Buffalo River, the enhancements at the Ohio Street site will help highlight our area’s exemplary fishing and promote economic growth along the city’s waterfront.” Assemblymember Jon D. Rivera said, “The new and improved Buffalo River access point at Ohio Street — part of the Buffalo Blueway project — will allow residents of all ages greater accessibility and expanded usage of the city’s most treasured asset. Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper has worked relentlessly to restore the natural ecosystems of our waterways, and in doing so, has invaluably added to our region’s eco-tourism sector. As the Blueway system continues to provide increased access to Buffalo’s waterfront, our city’s economy and its environmental sustainability are set to reap the benefits.” Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said, “The Buffalo River waterfront is taking a big step forward with the completion of the Buffalo Blueway Public Access Project on Ohio Street, which improves accessibility for fishing, kayaking, and other types of waterfront recreation. Completed in just five months, this project will add to the area’s vitality for years to come.” City of Buffalo Mayor Byron W Brown said, “Activity on Buffalo’s waterways is now a common sight and I thank Empire State Development, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper for adding to the network of public access points as part of the Buffalo Blueway Project.  This $2 million investment at the DEC-owned site at Ohio Street complements an $11 million investment that transformed this roadway into a riverfront parkway.  It's also great news for paddlers, anglers and others, and another positive example of why investing in our environmental and recreational assets will help spur additional economic development.” Contact: Jennifer Fee (BNW) | [email protected] | (716) 983-3665 Laura Magee (ESD) | [email protected] ) | (716) 846-8239 | (800) 260-7313 TJ Pignataro (DEC) | [email protected] | (716) 851-7091
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Board Meeting

Monday, September 27, 2021 - 11:00am
In accordance with recently passed Legislation, this meeting will be conducted via teleconference. The public may listen to the meeting via webcast link below. Members of the public may submit comments on agenda items in writing to [email protected] by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, September 24.
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Press Release

Thursday, September 23, 2021 - 12:57pm
Technology and Logistics Firm Plans for Growth, Capital Improvements and New Software for the Logistics Industry Company Would Create up to 148 New Jobs on Buffalo’s East Side Empire State Development (ESD) today announced that technology and logistics firm, Founders Holding Co., and its subsidiaries are planning to expand their current facility on East Amherst Street in the City of Buffalo and would create up to 148 new jobs over the next ten years. The project would receive up to $1.5 million from ESD based on actual job creation through the Excelsior Tax Credit Program in exchange for continued job creation commitments over the next decade. Kevin Younis, ESD Chief Operating Officer and Executive Deputy Commissioner said, “Founders Holding Co.’s expansion reflects its commitment to Buffalo’s East Side and supports New York State’s strategic plan to encourage business growth in the area. The tech and logistic company’s investment is a win, both for Western New York job seekers in search of better opportunities and for the Erie County economy.” Founders Holding Co. - ranked on Inc. Magazine’s list of America’s 5000 fastest growing private companies in 2020 and 2021 - is a holding company that acquires, partners, and works with companies in the transportation, logistics, e-commerce, and technology sectors. The company has four operating divisions: Founders Logistics, the firm’s newest venture that was launched to take advantage of the unprecedented growth of e-commerce distribution services; Founders Mobility, one of the largest health and human service transportation providers in New York State; Founders Software, a leading developer of innovative SaaS technologies in the US; and Founders Gateway, a provider of leading-edge back office shared services, including accounting, HR, IT, and operations. Paul Snyder IV, President of Founders Holding Co. said, “For over 10 years, the City of Buffalo has proven to be an ideal home for Founders Holding Co., and we are very proud to be a part of the area’s legacy of growth and transformation. It is wonderful that New York State and Governor Hochul share our commitment to creating economic opportunities in this often underserved and overlooked neighborhood, and we are incredibly grateful for their support and enthusiasm as we expand.” Founders Logistics anticipates investing more than $28 million over the next five years to acquire and expand its holdings as an e-commerce Independent Service Provider (IPS). Funds would be used to grow market share, acquire vehicles, make capital improvements to its headquarters located at 401 E. Amherst Street in Buffalo, and develop logistics software for the industry. The acquisitions by Founders Logistics are part of a larger strategic plan to expand across North America while centralizing the firm’s operations in Buffalo. These operations, including the servicing, fueling, recruitment, training, and back-office functions are operated from Founder’s distribution and servicing center located on the East Side of Buffalo. Founders Holding Co. has spent the last decade working to provide meaningful employment opportunities and job training for communities that are often described as underemployed, underrepresented, and impoverished. Founders works closely with local public and private sector stakeholders to recruit employees from programs such as PIVOT, which match temporary assistance clients seeking employment to companies looking to fill full-time positions. In additional to employment opportunities, Founders Holding Co. has a history of promoting within, providing opportunities for employees to move from living-wage jobs to supervisory and managerial jobs. These efforts are supported by management training, and business fundamentals training to provide a skill set that is transferable beyond the work being done for Founders Logistics. Senator Tim Kennedy said, “As we Build Back Better in New York, Founders Holding Co. is demonstrating a strong commitment to growth and job creation here in Buffalo, and that investment will continue to fuel our local economy and workforce. I’m excited to see this strategic expansion unfold in the heart of Buffalo with support from New York State.” Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes said, “New York State is committed to strategically investing in companies like Founders Holding Co., that can spur job creation and economic opportunities on Buffalo’s East Side and in Greater Western New York. I applaud Governor Hochul’s leadership and investment in WNY economy through the Excelsior Tax Credit Program.” Mayor Byron Brown said, “The increased commitment by Buffalo-based Founders Holding Co. complements my administration’s efforts to attract additional investment and add jobs to Buffalo’s east side neighborhoods. Founders pledge to invest $28 million to grow its E. Amherst Street headquarters, add 148 new jobs and continue its growth in the transportation, logistics, and technology sectors, is a win for Buffalo’s east side. I thank Governor Kathy Hochul and Empire State Development for their continued assistance to companies looking to grow and thrive in the City of Buffalo.”  County Executive Mark Poloncarz said, “Founders Holding Co. is showing its commitment to Erie County with this expansion and announcement that they anticipate creating 148 jobs over the next ten years, building our workforce and showing once again why our community is a great place to do business. We welcome this news and look forward to the next ten years of growth.” For more information about Founders Holding Co., click here About Empire State Development Empire State Development (ESD) is New York’s chief economic development agency. The mission of ESD is to promote a vigorous and growing economy, encourage the creation of new job and economic opportunities, increase revenues to the State and its municipalities, and achieve stable and diversified local economies. Through the use of loans, grants, tax credits and other forms of financial assistance, ESD strives to enhance private business investment and growth to spur job creation and support prosperous communities across New York State. ESD is also the primary administrative agency overseeing Governor Hochul’s Regional Economic Development Councils and the marketing of “I LOVE NY” the State’s iconic tourism brand. For more information on Regional Councils and Empire State Development, visit www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov and www.esd.ny.gov. Contact: Pamm Lent | [email protected] | (716) 846-8309 Laura Magee | [email protected] | (716) 846-8239
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Press Release

Thursday, September 23, 2021 - 11:08am
Proposals for the redevelopment of prime downtown site on First and Old Falls streets are due December 10 See renderings of potential development on the site here and a map here USA Niagara Development Corporation (USAN) today announced a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the redevelopment of a prime property in the heart of downtown Niagara Falls, New York.  The property is located at the intersection of First and Old Falls streets, two blocks from the entrance to Niagara Falls State Park, which attracts more than 9 million annual visitors. Totaling 1.829 acres with an appraised value of $4 million, the site was acquired in March 2019 through a strategic land acquisition program as part of the second phase of New York State’s Buffalo Billion initiative.  Acquisition of this key parcel was intended to support significant new mixed-use development.  “Located on Old Falls Street, the most heavily trafficked pedestrian route in Western New York, presents an exciting development opportunity,” said USAN President Anthony Vilardo.  “We envision redevelopment of the site with a high-density mix of uses and active ground-level retail that would contribute to visitor and resident offerings in downtown Niagara Falls.” “USAN has committed to improving the downtown core through its property acquisitions in 2019,” said City of Niagara Falls Mayor Robert Restaino. “The City looks forward to the results of the RFP on this very important and prime location.” After a robust strategic planning process for the state-owned properties in Niagara Falls (read the Niagara Falls Downtown Development Strategy full report here), this site was chosen as USAN’s first ground-up redevelopment target, although USAN is currently evaluating interim and long-term uses for the balance of its real estate portfolio. While open to any/all permitted uses, proposals for this RFP are intended to focus upon mixed-use infill development that further enhances the walkability and density of both First Street and Old Falls Street, while expanding street-level retail offerings to visitors and residents. Previous market analysis suggests there is unmet demand along the Old Falls Street corridor for at least one major upscale hotel, additional food and beverage facilities, as well as new residential units.  Due to the existing building’s condition, its prime downtown location and the local zoning allowance, USAN will demolish the marginal, low-slung structures currently on the site. USAN’s preferred use of the site is for a newly constructed, mixed-use building with ground floor retail and hotel, office or residential uses, reminiscent of the Imperial Hotel that once stood on the site. All RFP respondents should assume a clear, shovel-ready site when developing their proposals. The RFP is available here and proposals are due on December 10 at 4 p.m.  The Strategic Land Acquisition Program was created to assemble long-dormant properties located near Niagara Falls State Park in order to remove blight from the downtown area and expand the density of uses as downtown Niagara Falls grows into a year-round, sustainable neighborhood. About USA Niagara Development Corporation USAN, a subsidiary of Empire State Development, is solely dedicated to the support and promotion of economic development initiatives in Niagara Falls by leveraging private investment and encouraging growth and renewal of the tourism industry in the City of Niagara Falls.  For more information, visit www.usaniagara.com. Contact: Pamm Lent | [email protected] | (716) 846-8309 | (800) 260-7313 Laura Magee | [email protected] | (716) 846-8239 | (800) 260-7313
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Press Release

Wednesday, September 22, 2021 - 5:30pm
Company would Invest $61 Million to Repurpose 800,000 Square-Feet of Vacant Space and Create up to 150 New Jobs in the Village of Endicott  Investment Complements "Southern Tier Soaring" - The Region's Comprehensive Strategy to Revitalize Communities and Grow the Economy Governor Kathy Hochul today announced that Canadian firm Ubiquity Solar Inc. will establish its U.S. solar photovoltaic manufacturing operations at the former IBM site in the village of Endicott in Broome County. For the initial phase of the project, the company expects to repurpose 800,000 square-feet of space at the former campus, representing an approximately $61 million investment, including site renovations, equipment, and installation.  "The Southern Tier has become a hub for next generation energy research, innovation and advanced manufacturing, and Ubiquity Solar's decision to establish its U.S. operations in Endicott is yet another indicator of the region's bright future," Governor Hochul said. "It is through forward-thinking projects like this that we are helping to spur economic development across Upstate New York, ensuring a more sustainable future for generations to come."  Additionally, Ubiquity Solar has expects to create up to 150 highly skilled jobs in the region. With the site redevelopment already underway, the company expects to be fully operational at the Endicott campus by the end of 2022.  Ubiquity Solar is a North American-based company focused on the photovoltaic and related materials markets. Operating in the solar industry since 1996, it has developed proprietary PV technology that enables a unique close-coupled, vertically integrated, regionally focused business model. Ubiquity Solar serves customers in the aerospace, power generation, and related materials application industries, and focuses on the production of ultra-low carbon, Made-in-America, high efficiency PV products for North America's significant renewable power generation needs and its transition to a low carbon economy.  Read the full press release here.
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Press Release

Wednesday, September 22, 2021 - 2:50pm
Global Company to Move into Repurposed Historic Aqueduct Building Alongthe Genesee River  $82 Million Investment Further Supports Efforts to Revitalize Rochester's Urban Center Through Investments in the ROC the Riverway Initiative and in the Downtown Innovation Zone Project also Supported with "Finger Lakes Forward" Grant to Begin Construction on Aqueduct Reimagined Project Governor Kathy Hochul today announced that Constellation Brands, a leading beverage alcohol company, will relocate its headquarters, currently based in Victor, Ontario County to the historic Aqueduct Building located along the Genesee River in downtown Rochester. The Fortune 500® company will invest approximately $50 million to renovate five buildings on the Aqueduct campus located between East Main and Broad streets, across from Blue Cross Arena at the Community War Memorial. Purchased in March of 2020, the property developers plan to invest an additional $30 million at the 170,000 square-foot riverfront campus. The transformative project will also involve the construction of a 120-space parking structure, and qualified historic restoration of the Aqueduct buildings' windows and other architectural features. Constellation Brands expects to create more than 80 new local jobs as part of the project in addition to the more than 340 jobs that will move to the Aqueduct location, while roughly 200 employees will continue to be based out of the Canandaigua office. The company expects to be operational at the historic waterfront facility In the Spring of 2024.  "Constellation Brands' exciting decision to expand its regional operations and establish its new headquarters in downtown Rochester will help to further advance our efforts to create new, good-paying jobs and a thriving city center," Governor Kathy Hochul said. "Downtown Rochester's Innovation Zone is already home to some of the most talent-rich companies in the world. This transformative project at the historic Aqueduct Building will also help to maximize our $50 million ROC The Riverway efforts, which are reimagining and transforming the waterfront along the beautiful Genesee River, helping Rochester to thrive for generations to come." Read the full press release here.
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Board Meeting

Monday, September 20, 2021 - 11:30am
In accordance with recently passed Legislation, this meeting will be conducted via teleconference. The public may listen to the meeting via webcast by clicking the link below. Members of the public may submit comments on the Agenda items in writing to [email protected] by 4:30 pm on Friday, September 17, 2021.
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Press Release

Wednesday, September 15, 2021 - 1:12pm
Part of State's $40 Million Commitment to Promote and Rebuild Tourism Industry New Tourism Spot Can Be Viewed Here Empire State Development today announced the launch of the state's new fall tourism campaign, showcasing some of the great seasonal activities available for visitors and residents alike in New York State. The new spot is part of the previously announced $40 million global tourism campaign aimed at revitalizing the state's tourism industry, which was greatly impacted by COVID-19. The campaign will run on digital outlets and broadcast television across New York State and northeast markets, and drives viewers to the I LOVE NY website for the multitude of destinations ready for exploration as part of their next New York State getaway. Empire State Development Chief Operating Officer and Executive Deputy Commissioner Kevin Younis said, "Tourism is vital to our state and regional economies, generating revenue and supporting jobs in communities from Montauk to Niagara Falls. As the industry rebuilds from the pandemic's devastating effects, marketing efforts like our new seasonal campaign support tourism's recovery by encouraging visitors to plan a trip to experience the attractions, events and destinations that are uniquely New York." Empire State Development Vice President and Executive Director of Tourism Ross D. Levi said, "Nothing tops a fall getaway in New York State. From scenic boat and train rides to Halloween fun, and from winery and craft beverage tours to some of the best foliage watching in the world, the cooler weather makes outdoor recreational activities even more enjoyable. The air is crisp, the colors spectacular and the cider and donuts waiting, so we invite everyone to come be a part of New York State this fall." The new spot showcases one of New York’s most popular travel seasons and the ability to enjoy activities and attractions with the backdrop of the picturesque palette of colors created by the state’s unparalleled fall foliage. New York State is known for having one of the longest and most colorful foliage seasons in the country, thanks in part to its size and location. The spot introduces new ways and places to experience and explore this popular pastime, like a hot air balloon ride over Letchworth State Park, renowned as the Grand Canyon of the East, or a zipline over the colorful canopy of trees in the Catskills. The spot also features the Ithaca Farmers Market, one of many located across the state that showcase the bounty of the county with seasonal favorites like New York-grown apples, artisan cheeses, locally-harvested vegetables and freshly baked treats. Family-owned farms like Springside Farm in Onondaga County offer opportunities to pick your own pumpkins, navigate through a corn maze, and spend time with farm animals at the petting zoo. Visitors are also encouraged to explore the spookier side of the season with events like the Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze in the Hudson Valley, which features more than 7,000 illuminated and hand-carved pumpkins arranged in unique and impressive displays. The new campaign coincides with I LOVE NY's popular fall foliage reports, which are issued each week using the on-location field observations from more than 85 volunteer leaf peepers across the state's 11 vacation regions. The reports track color change and progression, and include predominant leaf colors and approximate percentage of change. New this year, I LOVE NY is introducing an enhanced, interactive map that tracks weekly foliage change and progression across the state throughout the season. Located on the I LOVE NY foliage website, the map showcases great foliage viewing locations in each of the various regions throughout the state. Visitors can also use the map to see what the foliage is like during peak viewing in a given area, and learn about nearby, must-see attractions.  Reports and the new interactive map are updated Wednesdays throughout the season at www.iloveny.com/foliage. Reports are also available toll-free by dialing 800/CALL-NYS (800/225-5697) from anywhere in the U.S., its territories and Canada. To find out more and to start planning a fall getaway, click here. Additional information on attractions and destinations across New York State can be found here. About Empire State Development Empire State Development is New York’s chief economic development agency. The mission of ESD is to promote a vigorous and growing economy, encourage the creation of new job and economic opportunities, increase revenues to the State and its municipalities, and achieve stable and diversified local economies. Through the use of loans, grants, tax credits and other forms of financial assistance, ESD strives to enhance private business investment and growth to spur job creation and support prosperous communities across New York State. ESD is also the primary administrative agency overseeing Governor Hochul’s Regional Economic Development Councils and the marketing of "I LOVE NY," the State’s iconic tourism brand. For more information on Regional Economic Development Councils and Empire State Development, visit www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov and www.esd.ny.gov. About New York State New York State is a premier vacation destination with world-class attractions, picturesque natural beauty, locally sourced cuisine and a booming craft beverage scene, an array of accommodations, and iconic, year-round festivals and events. Its 11 diverse vacation regions feature some of the world’s top ranked beaches; two out of America’s top three favorite state parks; breathtaking Niagara Falls; more ski areas than any other state; one of the nation’s longest foliage seasons; multiple Halls of Fame; North America’s longest, fastest and highest zipline; the largest publicly protected area in the contiguous United States; and the country’s longest multi-use trail. Add in the state’s unique museums, historic landmarks, cultural sites, charming small towns and urban playgrounds, and it’s no wonder New York has been consistently chosen as a top getaway by travel publications and experts. Contact: ESD Press Office | [email protected] | (800) 260-7313
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Press Release

Wednesday, September 15, 2021 - 9:57am
20 Startups from Across the Globe will Compete to Win a Combined Total of $3 Million in Prize Money Competition is Funded Through Upstate Revitalization Initiatives - Finger Lakes Forward, CNY Rising and Southern Tier Soaring - Regional Comprehensive Strategies to Revitalize Communities and Grow the Economy Empire State Development (ESD) today announced the 20 finalists selected to take part in round three of Grow-NY, a food innovation and agriculture technology business challenge focused on enhancing the emerging food, beverage and agriculture innovation cluster in Central New York, the Finger Lakes, and the Southern Tier. In total, 330 startups from around the globe applied this year in the hopes of participating in the mentoring competition. The Grow-NY region includes a broad 22-county swath featuring Upstate New York's farming community as well as several major urban centers, including Rochester, Syracuse, Ithaca and Binghamton. Cornell University’s Center for Regional Economic Advancement administers the competition and New York State is providing funding for the Grow-NY competition through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative connected with the three regions – CNY Rising, Finger Lakes Forward and Southern Tier Soaring. The winner will be required to make a positive economic impact in the Grow-NY region. "Round three of the Grow-NY business competition has once again attracted a group of exceptional startups and entrepreneurial talent from around the world”, said Empire State Development Chief Operating Officer and Executive Deputy Commissioner Kevin Younis. “Through this competition, New York State continues its dedicated, focused effort to support agriculture innovation that will create jobs and grow the Central New York, Finger Lakes, and Southern Tier economies." State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “The Grow-NY competition is an exciting opportunity for so many of these start-up businesses that are innovating and changing the future of agriculture. The finalist selected in this round are investing in cutting-edge technology and smart solutions to help various sectors of the industry to increase their profitability and optimize production, helping to support our farmers and the continued success of New York agriculture.” This year’s Grow-NY competition attracted applications from 32 countries including Singapore, Israel, and Switzerland. In the U.S., 23 states were represented, including 138 entries from New York. 44% of applicants included a female founder and 51% included a founder from an underrepresented minority group, which is a significant increase from last year’s applicant pool. A panel of 30 independent judges, reflecting a depth and breadth of agriculture, food production, and entrepreneurial expertise, reviewed all the applications to determine the top 20 finalists that will pitch their business plans at the Grow-NY Food and Ag Summit this November. Grow-NY will award a total of $3 million in prize money to seven winners. This includes a $1 million top prize, two $500,000 prizes and four $250,000 prizes. “In our third year, Grow-NY has matured to become globally recognized, attracting best-in-class innovators and putting Upstate NY at the top of the list for food and ag startups worldwide. Each year Grow-NY breaks its own record for applications, and having more startups - and a more diverse group of startup founders – apply, means that we are attracting international entrepreneurs, female founders, and minority-owned businesses,” said Jenn Smith, Program Director, Grow-NY. “With this positive evolution, one element that continues to grow is the strength of our region’s agrifood innovation ecosystem, and the incredible support the program and our finalists get from our Grow-NY Partner Group. We are humbled and grateful to work with such dedicated experts from industry, government, and academia.” The 20 selected finalists include: Agri-trak, Williamson, N.Y. - Agri-Trak is a farm management application suite, developed especially for the apple industry. The suite includes customizable modules that provide real-time information in easy-to-read widgets allowing farms to make daily data-informed decisions. Asarasi, Katonah, N.Y. - Asarasi recovers the wasted 97% maple water by-products of the maple industry, providing a sustainable alternative to traditional bottled water and helping family farms double their profits on their existing maple crops. Ascribe Bioscience, Ithaca, N.Y. - Ascribe Bioscience uses naturally occurring signaling molecules from the soil microbiome to produce a novel class of broad-spectrum, non-toxic biopesticides that prime the plants' immune systems to enhance resistance to pathogens and increase crop yields. Beemunity, New York City, N.Y. - Beemunity uses microparticle detoxification to provide solutions that protect and preserve pollinator species, changing the impacts of agrochemicals, preserving pollinator species for future generations. Crystal Creek Organics, Rochester, N.Y. - Crystal Creek has a patented process that converts soluble phosphorus in dairy farm manure into by-product that can be sold to generate additional revenue. The remaining, phosphorus-free liquid is left on the farm, dramatically lowering the farm’s spreading costs. Draughtlab, Webster, N.Y. - DraughtLab produces high-quality sensory tools for every level of sensory expertise, offering practical and approachable sensory analysis solutions that deliver real-world value to companies of any size. EmGenisys, Houston, TX - Emgenisys is a state-of-art embryo health assessment platform that provides the most comprehensive embryo evaluation system, improving pregnancy outcomes of assisted reproductive technologies in livestock. Every Body Eat, Chicago, Ill. - Every Body Eat makes, markets, and sells delicious food that is free from the most common 14 allergens, corn, and sugar so that people can enjoy it, together, regardless of dietary restrictions or preferences. Foodnerd, Buffalo, N.Y. - Foodnerd creates positively processed food with a purpose from plant-based foods. Their sprouting process maintains or increases increase the nutritional content found naturally in food, rather than degrading it. Heat Inverse, Ithaca, N.Y. - Heat Inverse has developed a photonic metamaterial that offers cooling solutions with none of the energy input or waste heat associated with conventional cooling—it has the power to revolutionize cooling technologies in agriculture and food production. Kyomei, Oxford, UK - Kyomei is making fundamental breakthroughs in animal protein production via plant-based delivery systems at scale, utilizing innovative chloroplast transformations to turn plant structures into animal proteins. Lupii, Brooklyn, N.Y. -  Lupii is unleashing the power of the small‑but‑mighty Lupini bean and disrupting the snack and meal bar category with its first snack-size line of flavors. Lupii Bars, the most unique, vegan protein bars on the block, offers one of the first whole bean based bars on the market. Neupeak Robotics, Surrey, Canada - Neupeak fully autonomous berry harvesters are designed to work in all weather and lighting conditions, alongside human workers, to save farmers money by charging a fixed rate per pound of berries collected. Nordetect, Copenhagen, Denmark - Nordetect provides rapid chemical analysis for nutrients in the Agrifood industry. The company’s first product is a lab-on-a-chip test for nutrients found in soil, water, and leaf samples, aimed at optimizing the amount of fertilizer used to cultivate crops. Nutreat, Geneva, N.Y. - Nutreat is a line of low glycemic, healthy sweet snacks that leverage science-driven innovation, 100% natural, real, whole food ingredients, and a commitment to uncompromising flavor, and can be enjoyed on the go. Persistent BioControl,  Austin, TX - Persistent BioControl™ produces biocontrol nematodes that attack, kill, and multiply inside Western Corn Rootworm larvae before they damage crop yield. They are compatible with all CRW management programs, traited corn varieties, soil insecticides, and soil types. Pheronym, Davis, CA - Pheronym uses pheromones to control the behavior and development of microscopic roundworms called nematodes, offering a non-toxic, sustainable, and effective path for farmers as they transition away from conventional pesticides. ProAgni, Lavington, Australia - ProAgni ProTect is a revolutionary range of supplements and feeds for livestock that lowers methane emissions from sheep and cattle without the use of antibiotics, decreasing a producer’s environmental footprint without increasing costs. Tropos Technologies, North Tonawanda, N.Y. - Tropos uses patented air control and state-of-the-art environmental controls to offer a superior climate management system, improving sustainability, operations, and food safety standards for greenhouses and indoor farms. WeRadiate, Rochester, N.Y. - WeRadiate has a turnkey solution to improve soil quality using hardware, software, and data technology, offering a complete array of tools to create high-efficacy and high-quality compost end products at all composting sites. All finalists will receive: Dedicated mentorship from a hand-selected business advisor; Additional pitch training to hone their live pitches for the judges; Business development support and workshops to connect them to potential partners and opportunities; Introduction to the region’s leaders and resources; Networking introductions, business tours, and valuable appointments for finalist team representatives. The Grow-NY Food and Ag Summit, scheduled for November 16th and 17th in Central New York, will be held in two formats simultaneously this year, both in-person and virtually. The in-person Summit event—where finalists will pitch their business ideas live in front of an audience and answer questions from a judging panel—will be held at the OnCenter in Syracuse. The event will align closely with the latest CDC’s recommended safety guidelines to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and the competition is prepared to make adjustments as needed. Registration is now available. To help ensure the safety of attendees and accommodate social distancing concerns, the Summit will feature a limited capacity of 500 attendees. Judges will base final award decisions on the following five criteria: The viability of the startup’s business model  The diversity, quality, and completeness of the startup team and their readiness to deliver The value that the startup offers customers  The agrifood innovation that that the startup has invented The opportunity creation potential that the startup can bring to the region To learn more about the finalists and mentors, and to learn more and register for the Summit, visit grow-ny.com. To learn more about the Cornell Center for Regional Economic Advancement, visit, https://crea.cornell.edu/ 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 regionally designed plan focuses on investing in key industries including photonics, agriculture‎ and food production, and advanced manufacturing. Now, the region is accelerating Finger Lakes Forward with a $500 million State investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative. 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 “CNY Rising,” the region’s comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The regionally designed plan focuses on capitalizing on global market opportunities, strengthening entrepreneurship and creating an inclusive economy. Now, the region is accelerating CNY Rising with a $500 million State investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative. 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 regionally designed plan focuses on attracting a talented workforce, growing business and driving innovation. Now, the region is accelerating Southern Tier Soaring with a $500 million State investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative. 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.  About Empire State Development  Empire State Development (ESD) is New York’s chief economic development agency. The mission of ESD is to promote a vigorous and growing economy, encourage the creation of new job and economic opportunities, increase revenues to the State and its municipalities, and achieve stable and diversified local economies. Through the use of loans, grants, tax credits and other forms of financial assistance, ESD strives to enhance private business investment and growth to spur job creation and support prosperous communities across New York State. ESD is also the primary administrative agency overseeing the state’s Regional Economic Development Councils and the marketing of "I LOVE NY," the State’s iconic tourism brand. For more information on Regional Councils and Empire State Development, please visit www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov and www.esd.ny.gov. Contact: Shari Voorhees-Vincent | [email protected] | (585) 399-7055 Press Office | [email protected] | (800) 260-7313
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