Finger Lakes

Home to many innovative companies and a burgeoning, world-renowned wine industry.

The Finger Lakes Region is shaping the future

The Finger Lakes region is where innovative businesses, higher education and livable communities all meet. This region is home to a wealth of notable academic institutions, great access to international markets in New York City and Canada, and an innovative urban industrial center in Rochester, a world leader in optics, photonics and imaging.

#1

In the nation for the number of residents with STEM degrees (26%)

7th

brainiest large metro in the U.S. with 19 colleges and universities located in the Finger Lakes Region

$700M

invested by the state in solar energy through the Western New York Science, Technology and Advanced Manufacturing Park (STAMP)

Key facts

Here’s a look at the reasons why businesses of all kinds are thriving in the Finger Lakes Region:

  • The Finger Lakes Region is home of the “big three” (Kodak, Xerox and Bausch & Lomb) and was once known as the “World’s Image Center,” but has grown and diversified over the decades.
  • The region is now home to a large and innovative range of industries, including optics, photonics and imaging, general and advanced manufacturing, high-tech electronics and software, life sciences, telecommunications and IT, medical devices, breweries, and alternative energy (e.g., fuel cells, wind). 
  • The Finger Lakes Region outperforms every other region in the state for STEM jobs (13% of the region’s total jobs) and STEM degrees, held by 26% of its residents — the highest in the nation.
  • The University of Rochester and its affiliated medical center is the sixth-largest employer in New York State and is fourth in the state in overall R&D funding.
  • Rochester is the home of the new American Institute for Manufacturing Integrated Photonics (AIM Photonics). This lab was created with $610 million in public/private funding ($110 million federal) to develop the next generation of integrated photonics and deliver global manufacturing leadership. 
  • The Finger Lakes region boasts one of the largest agricultural and food processing industries in the eastern United States, plus a maturing wine region recently named one of the best tourist destinations in the world. 
  • The Finger Lakes Region is also home to leading food and beverage companies like Wegmans Food Markets, LiDestri Foods and Constellation Brands.
  • Direct and connecting flights through Greater Rochester International Airport (ROC) serve 2.5 million passengers annually, making transportation convenient.
  • Access to 7% of the world’s fresh water and world-renowned recreational opportunities, advanced health care systems, affordable housing, numerous cultural amenities and attractive downtowns all make the Finger Lakes Region a desirable place to live. 

The Finger Lakes regional office works hand-in-hand with new and existing businesses to help identify funding options. They provide a range of economic development programs for building new facilities, relocating a business, expanding operations and workforce, and entering new markets and international arenas.

Could Rochester be America's beet basket? Love Beets USA thinks so

Chances are you’ve seen Rochester-based Love Beets in the produce section of your local grocery store or online retailer — after all,...

Could Rochester be America's beet basket? Love Beets USA thinks so

Chances are you’ve seen Rochester-based Love Beets in the produce section of your local grocery store or online retailer — after all,...

Datto moves forward in a big way

In 2007 Austin McChord graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) and decided to return to his parents’ basement in Connecticut — in order to build Datto, now...

Datto moves forward in a big way

In 2007 Austin McChord graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) and decided to return to his parents’ basement in Connecticut — in order to build Datto, now...

See opportunities in the Finger Lakes Region

Visit the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council site to see strategic plans, current projects and the latest economic data, plus access funding applications and more.

Regional Office


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