Empire State Development Blog

Find the latest news on economic development in New York State

We feature stories of innovative businesses that are making New York their home, plus offer updates on economic activity and development from around the state.

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Board Meeting

Friday, September 16, 2022 - 11:00am
The meeting is open to the public. The public may also view and listen to the meeting via webcast clicking the link below. Members of the public may submit comments on the Agenda items in writing to [email protected] by 10:00 AM on Friday, September 16, 2022. All comments received by the deadline will be distributed to the Directors prior to the meeting and posted online.
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Public Notice

Thursday, September 15, 2022 - 5:00pm
Public Notice
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Board Meeting

Thursday, September 15, 2022 - 9:30am
The meeting is open to the public. The public may also view and listen to the meeting via webcast by clicking the link below. Please Note: Due to building procedures, members of the public attending in-person should please RSVP by 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, September 14, 2022. Members of the press should please call (800) 260-7313; Members of the public should please call (212) 803-3772. Members of the public may submit comments on the Agenda items in writing to [email protected] by Noon on Wednesday, September 14, 2022. All comments received by the deadline will be distributed to the Directors prior to the meeting and will posted online.
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Press Release

Tuesday, September 13, 2022 - 4:11pm
Provides Assistance to Help Early-Stage Small and Micro-Businesses Recover and Grow in a Post-Pandemic Economy State's Successful COVID-19 Pandemic Small Business Recovery Grant Program Will Expand Eligibility as it Winds Down Available Funding More Information on the Seed Funding Grant Program Can Be Found Here Governor Kathy Hochul today announced that the applications portal for the first-in-the-nation Seed Funding Grant Program, created as part of the FY2023 budget, will open on September 14. The program provides flexible grants to support early stage, micro and small businesses in a still recovering New York State economy. The program will ensure that small businesses that opened shortly before or during the COVID-19 pandemic will have the funds to continue to operate and grow. "This first-in-the-nation Seed Funding Grant Program rounds out $1 billion in flexible funding to support both early-stage, and established small and micro-businesses," Governor Hochul said. "New York businesses were among the hardest hit nationwide at the height of the pandemic, but with this funding, we're extending a lifeline to help them continue to grow and operate. Applications open tomorrow, and I encourage all New York business owners to take full advantage and be a part of New York's remarkable recovery." This program builds upon New York State's existing $800 million Pandemic Small Business Recovery Grant Program, which has delivered more than $639 million to over 35,000 small businesses since it launched last year, with ninety percent of funding having gone to minority and women-owned businesses. Starting today, Empire State Development will expand eligibility for the program, enabling more small businesses to access funding by removing the requirement that businesses show a twenty-five percent loss in annual gross receipts from 2019 to 2020. This expansion of eligibility comes in addition to previous program changes to profitability requirements and revenue thresholds, aimed at serving additional small businesses. The program, which will continue to process applications currently in the pipeline, will close as funding winds down on September 30, 2022.  Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight said, "The pandemic has had profound impacts on our economy and our small and micro businesses were among the hardest hit, especially in New York State. Supporting our State's small businesses has been a priority of Governor Hochul's administration and the steps taken to expand eligibility and get funding out the door has helped countless businesses stay on track. The $800 million Pandemic Small Business Recovery Grant Program and now the new Seed Funding Grant Program marks unprecedented support for New York State's small businesses and for our economic success moving forward."  Read the full press release here.
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Press Release

Tuesday, September 13, 2022 - 10:25am
Startups From Around the World Are Encouraged to Apply if Their Technology Leverages Optics, Photonics, or Imaging OPI Accelerator Competition is Supported Through “Finger Lakes Forward” – The Region’s Comprehensive Strategy to Revitalize Communities and Grow the Economy Empire State Development (ESD) today announced that Luminate NY—the world’s largest business accelerator for startup companies that have optics, photonics, and imaging (OPI) enabled applications—is now accepting applications for its sixth cohort. Each year, the accelerator brings ten visionary companies to the Finger Lakes Region to leverage a rich ecosystem of resources to speed the commercialization of emerging technologies within a range of industries, such as autonomous vehicles, quantum computing, medical devices, advanced manufacturing, robotics, and augmented reality. The companies selected to take part in round six of Luminate NY will compete for one of 10 available slots. At the completion of the program, the teams will compete for a total of $2 million in follow-on funding, including a $1 million investment to the winning team and other investments totaling an additional $1 million. Teams winning follow-on funding must commit to doing some aspect of their business operations or manufacturing in the region for at least 18 months “In the last five years, Luminate NY has brought 54 of the most promising companies from around the world to New York to connect them with our region’s top universities, talent, and manufacturing facilities to help them solve pressing industry challenges,” said Empire State Development President and CEO and Commissioner, Hope Knight. “Today, these rapidly growing companies have a collective estimated value of over $400 million, have created top-quality jobs, and have brought new capabilities to the markets they serve, demonstrating how this strategic investment and the competitive advantages that New York has to offer can change the trajectory for diverse business founders.” Applicants for Luminate NY must be incorporated, have at least two full-time employees, and should have proven their core technology, preferably having developed a working prototype. Once admitted, companies will receive assistance, including capital, access to comprehensive lab facilities for technology development, education, and business mentoring. Applications will be accepted now through January 9, 2023. Luminate NY is funded by the transformative Finger Lakes Forward Upstate Revitalization Initiative, a comprehensive strategy to foster economic development and revitalize communities, and is administered by NextCorps. Located in the imaging capital of the world—Rochester, NY—the Luminate accelerator provides immediate funding of $100,000 paired with a six-month hybrid mentoring program to help new companies scale both their businesses and technologies. Program participation includes both virtual and in-person events. Dr. Sujatha Ramanujan, Managing Director, Luminate NY said, “Luminate’s reputation continues to grow for how its OPI-focused funding, curriculum, and mentoring advances the progress of emerging companies and the development of their technologies.  We encourage founders to apply to gain the benefits of this unique support, as well as the collaboration and connections we provide that can open new opportunities for scaling their businesses.” The opening of the recruitment period comes just weeks before Luminate NY’s fifth cohort of companies competes for $2 million in follow-on funding during Luminate Finals 2022. This year, Optica is sponsoring the finals event and it will take place as part of the Frontiers in Optics + Laser Science show on October 19, 2022 beginning at 12:30 p.m. EDT. Attendees can register to attend the free event in person or virtually via Zoom. In addition to seeing the teams compete for funding, the public will vote for their favorite startup, which will be awarded $10,000 as part of the annual New York State competition. Renowned physicist Michal Lipson will be the keynote at the event. The Finger Lakes Region is home to an incredibly rich ecosystem for forward-thinking entrepreneurs who are looking to grow their business. Rochester offers the American Institute for Manufacturing Integrated Photonics’ Test, Assembly, and Packaging facility at Eastman Business Park, the University of Rochester’s Institute of Optics, the Rochester Institute of Technology, and more than 150 local OPI companies which employ more than 17,000 employees who are building on the region’s legacy as a global imaging leader.   State Senator Jeremy Cooney said, “I’m excited to see the opportunities for continued technological innovation and economic development that the cohort chosen from this sixth round of Luminate NY’s business competition will bring to our region. As a world leader in OPI, this partnership is a win-win for Greater Rochester as well as the companies that will be housed here. I’m grateful to Empire State Development and Finger Lakes Forward for advancing this work in our community.” Assemblymember Harry Bronson said, “As Chair of the Assembly's Committee on Economic Development, I join the Governor in encouraging our great talented pool of young entrepreneurs to enter round six of Luminate NY. There are so many opportunities for growth here in the Finger Lakes Region, and I know the entrepreneurial spirit and creative minds of our community will provide future jobs and economic growth for our state and nation. This competition has continually helped to build a brighter future for our families here in the Finger Lakes Region and we are thankful for round six.” Monroe County Executive Adam Bello said, “The Luminate NY accelerator program has already brought real results to Monroe County with investments in promising companies that will help provide jobs and economic growth for our region and continue to position our community as a global leader in the light-based products and services sector. I thank Empire State Development and Gov. Hochul for continuing to recognize our region’s potential and spurring growth in our high-tech optics, photonics, and imaging industries.” Rochester Mayor Malik Evans said, “The City of Rochester is excited to welcome the sixth Luminate New York cohort. Luminate’s proven success in connecting the world’s best and brightest in optics, photonics, and imaging with the depth of resources and experience in Rochester has driven entrepreneurs’ success as well as sustainable economic empowerment for the region. This is a true win-win for innovation and for Rochester.” For additional information about Luminate NY, visit: https://luminate.org/. For additional information about NextCorps, visit: https://nextcorps.org/. 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. ​ About Empire State Development Empire State Development (ESD) is New York’s chief economic development agency (www.esd.ny.gov). 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 Regional Economic Development Councils and the marketing of “I LOVE NEW YORK,” 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: Shari Voorhees-Vincent | [email protected] | (585) 399-7055 Press Office | [email protected] | (800) 260-7313 Shannon Wojcik | Luminate | [email protected] | (585) 831-6267
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Press Release

Monday, September 12, 2022 - 5:13pm
Center Will Support the Sustainable Development of New York State Textiles for Wearable Technologies and Fashion Industry Use Will Establish a Physical Center To Connect Upstate Agriculture and Downstate Fashion Industries Focused on a More Sustainable Future Governor Kathy Hochul today announced $10 million in State funding for the Fashion Innovation Center, which will promote a collaborative approach to utilizing New York State-produced smart and sustainable textiles. Empire State Development will spearhead the creation of a consortium-led FIC, which will utilize expertise from New York State universities, farms, fashion industry leaders, and non-profit organizations. The FIC will focus on addressing fashion industry needs, utilizing New York State-produced crops for fiber materials, and cultivating technology that advances sustainability and innovation through wearable technologies in the fashion and textile industries. The FIC will also include a Sustainable Fashion Innovation Center Accelerator, focused on the creation of smart and sustainable alternatives that solve large scale industry problems, create green jobs, promote state-sourced textiles, and support sustainable fashion. Governor Hochul announced the new FIC during New York Fashion Week, which lasts from September 7 through September 14. In recognition of the industry-wide event, the Governor attended the Coach fashion show in New York City. "As the fashion capital of the world, New York is the perfect fit for cutting-edge solutions to make this booming industry more innovative and more sustainable," Governor Hochul said. "The Fashion Innovation Center will foster collaboration across fashion, agriculture, and other industries to to reduce our environmental footprint, limit waste and create opportunity across New York State." Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight said, "Agriculture is an important part of New York State's economy and as the fashion industry moves to a more sustainable future, we must capitalize on the opportunity to connect the agriculture and fashion industries, both vital to the future of our State. The new Fashion Innovation Center will make New York State a leader in promoting locally produced sustainable fibers, grow jobs, and help achieve Governor Hochul's nation-leading climate goals." New York State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, "Locally produced textiles, and the farmers that make them, are an important part of New York agriculture. We're excited that the Fashion Innovation Center's promotion of New York State farmers and manufacturers producing fiber and textiles supports our State economy and local communities while focusing on environmental sustainability - a win-win-win for all." Read the full press release here.
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Public Notice

Monday, September 12, 2022 - 2:00pm
View all grants to be presented at the batch virtual public hearing.
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Press Release

Monday, September 12, 2022 - 12:04pm
Canalside Gateway Building and Bell Slip Improvements will begin Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation (ECHDC) today met and authorized several contracts that advance the Canalside Gateway Building and Bell Slip Improvement projects on Buffalo’s waterfront.  “The Canalside Gateway Building and Bell Slip Improvement projects will encourage and support more community use and public access on Buffalo’s waterfront,” said ECHDC Chairman Robert Gioia. “These improvements build upon exciting recently completed or under construction projects at Canalside and the Outer Harbor and will further connect the city to its waterfront.”  Improvements to the area around the Bell Slip on the Outer Harbor will provide a sense of place by reorganizing the existing parking surface, providing a comfort station with restrooms, and enhancing landscaping. The Greenbelt trail will be modified to connect to the Fuhrmann Greenway at a new roundabout. The existing Greenbelt trail along the edge of the Bell Slip will remain, but with a narrower width for pedestrian traffic. Along the backside of the comfort station will be a concrete patio with a walking path leading to the edge of the slip that will conclude at an overlook. A large portion of the site will include soil amendments and landscaping improvements, including forest, meadows, grasslands and pollinator fields. Renderings are available here. Several contracts associated with the Bell Slip improvement project, with contract terms running from September 2022 through December 31, 2023, were authorized by the ECHDC Board. They include: Sitework construction, awarded to Scott Lawn Yard at a contract amount not to exceed $2,231,571. Scott Lawn Yard's scope of service will include clearing the existing paved site surfaces, establishing the site parameters, excavating for site utilities, installation of landscaping and fence materials, new surface walkways and drives, and site enclosures. General construction, awarded to Javen Construction Company, Inc. at a contract amount not to exceed $1,869,000. Javen Construction’s scope of services will include new steel framing, steel framing preparation and painting, metal stud framing and wallboard, building enclosures, interior finishes, and select site work adjacent to the building.  Electrical construction, awarded to CIR Electrical Construction Corporation at a contract amount not to exceed $1,086,088. CIR Electric’s scope of service will include routing the new electric service from Fuhrmann Boulevard to the Bell Slip site, distribution of electric service within the Bell Slip site, and exterior lighting.  Mechanical construction, awarded to M.K.S. Plumbing Corporation at a contract amount not to exceed $131,000. M.K.S. Plumbing’s scope of service will include routing the new mechanical and plumbing service from Fuhrmann Boulevard to the Bell Slip comfort station, distribution of gas and water lines, and installation of mechanical systems within the enclosed building.  The North Aud Block redevelopment, a multiple building development atop a subsurface parking structure with buildings to reflect upon the historic street grid that once defined the area and sit within the current context of Canalside, will start with the construction of the Gateway Building.  The multi-story, masonry Gateway Building on the North Aud Block will be the first stop for all Canalside visitors. It will provide information, public restrooms, security, retail and ADA accessibility between the two-level Canalside site, while consolidating waterfront operations at the same location. Renderings are available here.  The Board authorized ECHDC to enter into a consultant agreement for construction management services with Buffalo Construction Consultants, Inc. at a contract amount not to exceed $1,250,898 for the Gateway Building.  Construction is expected to begin in 2023. Funding for all these contracts is from the New York Power Authority, through relicensing agreements tied to the operation of the Niagara Power Project.  The ECHDC Board of Directors also: Authorized ECHDC to enter into an amended agreement with New York Power Authority (NYPA), Erie County, the City of Buffalo and the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy and Empire State Development.  Governor Kathy Hochul previously announced this measure, which will jumpstart four major projects on the Outer Harbor and at Canalside. These projects complement recreation and transportation measures that will promote pedestrian access and continued equitable growth of the waterfront. Authorized ECHDC to enter into a contract amendment with TY Lin International to continue to provide North Aud Block development infrastructure architectural and engineering services. The total amount is now $1,559,248. Funding for this contract is from NYPA, through relicensing agreements tied to the operation of the Niagara Power Project.  About Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation The Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation (ECHDC) is governed by a nine-member board consisting of seven voting directors and two non-voting, ex-officio directors. The seven voting directors are recommended by the New York State Governor and are appointed by the New York State Urban Development Corporation d/b/a Empire State Development as sole shareholder of ECHDC. The two non-voting, ex-officio director positions are held by the Erie County Executive and the City of Buffalo Mayor. As a subsidiary of Empire State Development, the state’s chief economic development agency, the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation supports and promotes the creation of infrastructure and public activities at Canalside, the Ohio Street corridor and the Outer Harbor that is attracting critical mass, private investment and enhance the enjoyment of the waterfront for residents and tourists in Western New York. Its vision is to revitalize Western New York’s waterfront and restore economic growth to Buffalo based on the region’s legacy of pride, urban significance, and natural beauty. Contact: Pamm Lent (Governor’s Office) | [email protected] | (716) 846-8309 Laura Magee (ECHDC) | [email protected] | (716) 846-8239
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Board Meeting

Monday, September 12, 2022 - 10:30am
In accordance with current 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 9, 2022. All comments received by the deadline will be distributed to the Directors prior to the meeting and will be posted online.
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Board Meeting

Friday, September 9, 2022 - 11:00am
In accordance with current 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 noon on Thursday, September 8, 2022. All comments received by the deadline will be distributed to the Directors prior to the meeting and will be posted online.
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