Empire State Development Announces Six Organizations Awarded Funding From U.S. Department of Commerce

Empire State Development (ESD) today announced that six New York organizations were recently awarded nearly $2 million in federal funding from the United States Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) to promote innovation and strengthen economic growth initiatives. Three of the awardees are centers supported by ESD’s Division of Science, Technology and Innovation (NYSTAR).

“New York State’s world class colleges and universities compete every day with schools from other states for funding, technology and the brightest students to lead New York through research and innovation,” said Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Howard Zemsky. “I congratulate these awardees, selected from hundreds of applicants, who serve as a fine example of the great work being done at New York State higher education institutions and often together with our NYSTAR staff.” 

The three NYSTAR-supported centers receiving funding are:

  • Center for Biotechnology at Stony Brook University, a New York State Center for Advanced Technology – $500,000 
  • The thINCubator, led by the Mohawk Valley Community College Foundation, a New York State Innovation Hot Spot – $499,500 
  • Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator at Pratt Institute, a New York State Certified Business Incubator – $486,680 

All three higher learning institutes received i6 Challenge Awards as part of the EDA’s Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) program. The i6 Challenge is a national competition that makes small, targeted and high-impact investments to support startup creation and innovation, and help turn technology into jobs.

Also receiving funding from the Department of Commerce are:

  • Launch NY in Buffalo – $245,460 from the RIS program for its Mentorship-Driven Seed Fund 
  • University at Albany (by way of the Research Foundation for the State University of New York) – $116,667 from the EDA’s University Center program 
  • Ain Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Rochester – $116,667 from the EDA’s University Center program


NYSTAR funds fifteen Centers for Advanced Technology (CATs) to encourage greater collaboration between private industry and the universities of the state in the development and application of new technologies. The CAT program was created in 1983 and facilitates a continuing program of basic and applied research, development, and technology transfer in multiple technological areas, in collaboration with and through the support of private industry. It plays a critical role in spurring technology-based applied research and economic development in the state; promoting national and international research collaboration and innovation; and leveraging New York's research expertise and funding with investments from the federal government, foundations, businesses, venture capital firms, and other entities.

NYSTAR also supports ten designated Innovation Hot Spots across New York State – one in each of New York's economic development regions – and 20 Certified Business Incubators, which receive funding to expand services and reach a greater number of early stage companies.

Support at individual designees may vary but generally include: physical space; shared administrative staff; access to capital; coaching; mentoring; networking connections; prototype development; and access to other technical services. In addition, Innovation Hot Spots are charged with coordinating regional entrepreneurial ecosystems, and can offer certain tax benefits to client businesses.