Finger Lakes

Home to the City of Rochester and beautiful, narrow, glacier-formed lakes, the Finger Lakes Region is moving forward as a hub of innovation and world-class wineries.

The Finger Lakes Region is shaping the future

The Finger Lakes region, a global leader in optics, photonics and imaging, is moving forward thanks to a thriving ecosystem of innovative businesses that are creating next-gen technologies.

That innovation is fueled by the world’s best talent from the region’s top-tier educational institutions and through creative industry-university partnerships. Our workforce development programs are also part of a regional strategy for economic development that will sustain ongoing growth.  Our rich agricultural resources and research assets have moved us to the top ranking in the Eastern U.S. for apple, dairy and grape producers – and major food companies and packagers call the Finger Lakes home.

We’re lifting off from upgraded airport facilities in Rochester, our urban industrial center, with a location that offers great access to international markets in New York City and Canada. With our mix of livable communities and forward-thinking industries, we invite businesses to join the Finger Lakes momentum.      


in the U.S. for most patents per capita


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


Invested in the region through the Regional Economic Development Council since 2012

A Center for Tech, Optics and Imaging

  • The Finger Lakes Region, once home to the “big three” (Kodak, Xerox and Bausch & Lomb) and known as the “World’s Image Center,” 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 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 institute was created with $610 million in public/private funding ($250 million from NYS) to develop the next generation of integrated photonics and deliver global manufacturing leadership. 
  • The institute’s Test Assembly and Packaging (TAP) facility, located in the 1,200-acre Eastman Business Park, will test, assemble and package microchips for semiconductors.
  • Monroe Community College, offering a degree in Optical Systems Technology, is one of the many area institutions contributing to the region’s highly educated workforce. 

A Leader in Food and Craft Beverage Businesses

  • 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.
  • American Packaging Corporation, a leader in the North American packaging industry, chose to expand in the Finger Lakes with a new 350,000-square-foot manufacturing plant in Monroe County. 
  • Cornell’s New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva helps translate cutting edge research for industry and innovation – serving producers, farms and families around the state.  
  • Foodlink, a regional food hub, creates access to healthy food, through partnerships with local farms, and also creates opportunities for food industry jobs through training programs and outreach.

A Prime Location, Rich in Resources 

  • Direct and connecting flights through Greater Rochester International Airport (ROC) – undergoing a transformation as a state-of-the-art hub - 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 Upstate Revitalization Initiative

The URI-winning Finger Lakes Forward plan identifies regionally strategic industries and investment priorities.

Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council

Visit the REDC site for more information on members, projects, economic data and funding applications.


Regional Office

Vinnie Esposito
Regional Director
400 Andrews Street
Suite 300
Rochester New York 14604