Finger Lakes Forward

A comprehensive vision to transform the regional economy.

Forward Momentum in the Finger Lakes

In 2015, Governor Andrew Cuomo created the Upstate Revitalization Initiative (URI) competition to strategically focus on the economic development of Upstate NY, as part of the  Regional Economic Development Councils (REDCs) initiative, which created long-term, regionally-based strategic plans for economic growth in each of New York State’s 10 geographic regions. The Finger Lakes region is known for its natural beauty and resources, from glacier-formed lakes to world-renowned wines. With Rochester as its urban hub – home to 19 higher education institutions and cited as the country’s 7th “brainiest” large metro— the region is home to innovative thinking and a vibrant business community.  Finger Lakes Forward: United for Success (FLXFWD), the URI-winning strategic plan developed by the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council (FLREDC), identifies key industry pillars and enablers, focusing on prioritizing investments based on regional strengths and opportunities for growth in the following industries:

  • Optics, Photonics and Imaging
  • Agriculture and Food Production
  • Next Generation Manufacturing and Technology

The plan also identifies support for key areas that are crucial to sustaining the region’s industry growth, including investment in: higher education and research; entrepreneurship; and anti-poverty workforce development programs. 

All together, these will help create an ecosystem of sustainable economic growth in the Finger Lakes working toward growing jobs, increasing regional wealth, driving private investment and reducing poverty in the region.

The Finger Lakes URI plan provides a comprehensive view of the region's strategic economic goals.

Finger Lakes: Forward with Photonics

The global photonics market is estimated to be worth nearly $700 billion. That’s why investors and businesses are taking another look at New York's Finger Lakes region.

Rochester: Talent Lives Here

Rochester is leveraging its vibrant universities and a growing spirit of entrepreneurship to write a success story that matches its legendary business roots.

Explore the Finger Lakes Region

Find out why businesses of all kinds are thriving in the Finger Lakes, where innovative businesses, higher education and livable communities all meet.

Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council

Visit the Finger Lakes REDC site to access more opportunities and information.

Regional Office


Vincent Esposito, Director
400 Andrews Street, Suite 300
Rochester, NY 14604