Governor Cuomo Announces 18 Finalists for Grow-NY Competition

September 12, 2019

Governor Cuomo Announces 18 Finalists for Grow-NY Competition

Applications for Competition were Received from 23 States and 16 Countries
The Food and Agriculture Industry Competition is Funded through Upstate Revitalization Initiatives - CNY Rising, Finger Lakes Forward and Southern Tier Soaring - Regional Comprehensive Strategies Aimed at Revitalizing Communities and Growing the Economy

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the 18 companies selected to take part in round one of the Grow-NY food innovation and agriculture technology business challenge. The contenders were chosen from a field of almost 200 startups that applied to be part of the initiative, which is focused on enhancing the emerging food, beverage and agriculture innovation cluster in Central New York, the Finger Lakes and the Southern Tier. The applicant pool represented 23 different states and 16 countries. The Grow-NY region includes a broad 22-county swath that includes Upstate New York's farming community as well as several major urban centers, including Rochester, Syracuse, Ithaca and Binghamton.

"The Grow-NY competition has attracted a group of diverse, innovative entrepreneurs who are ready to focus on finding new ways to further transform New York State's world-renowned food and agricultural industry," Governor Cuomo said. "Through efforts like Grow-NY we are continuing to bolster these regional economies and foster statewide growth in this critical industry."

"New York has among the best food products in the world, and the agricultural industry is an important part of our statewide economy," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "Continuing to build on our investments in agriculture, the Grow-NY competition will support startups focused on the future of the industry. We are committed to fostering innovative ideas, boosting job growth, and promoting our farms and local products to further strengthen the economy."

The selected finalists include:

  • AgVoice - Norcross, Georgia
  • Capro-X - Ithaca, New York
  • Combplex - Ithaca, New York
  • Dropcopter - Syracuse, New York
  • Halomine - Ithaca, New York
  • Whole Healthy Food - Ithaca, New York
  • Independent Barley & Malt - Litchfield, Michigan
  • Livestock Water Recycling - Alberta, Canada
  • Nuravine - New York City, New York
  • Paragon Pure - Princeton, New Jersey
  • The Perfect Granola - Victor, New York
  • Radical Plastics - Beverly, Massachusetts
  • RealEats America - Geneva, New York
  • Re-Nuble - Rochester, New York
  • Simply Good Jars - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Slate Craft Goods - Westwood, Massachusetts
  • Tiliter - Munich, Germany
  • Varcode - Naperville, Illinois

Each startup has recently been assigned a mentor who will help them make connections in the region, plan regional business trips, and refine their business pitches. The finalists will pitch their ideas to a panel of Grow-NY judges and a live audience from November 12 to November 13, 2019 at the Grow-NY Food and Ag Summit held at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center. Cornell University is administering the competition through its Center for Regional Economic Advancement.

Tom Schryver, Executive Director of Cornell University's Center for Regional Economic Advancement, said, "The winners of the competition will be announced at the end of the Grow-NY Food and Ag Summit at a grand finale event. Each winning company is poised to make a tremendous impact on our Upstate economy and will be fueled, not only by the prize funds, but also by the tremendous array of resources only Upstate New York can offer."

Grow-NY is an unprecedented business competition focused on enhancing the emerging food and agriculture innovation cluster currently present in Central New York, the Finger Lakes, and the Southern Tier. The competition will run for an additional two rounds and will award a total of $3 million in prize money each round to seven winners, all payable in stages, based on business milestones. This includes a $1 million top prize, two $500,000 prizes and four $250,000 in prizes. The winners will have to commit to operating in the targeted regions for at least one year and will have to agree to participate in an equity share program.

Originally announced in the Governor's State of the State address this year, the Grow-NY initiative builds on the successful legacy of other state-supported competitions such as 43North, Genius NY, Luminate NY and 76West. Funding for the Grow-NY competition will be provided through the Upstate Revitalization Initiatives connected with the three regions - CNY Rising, Finger Lakes Forward and Southern Tier Soaring. Winners will be required to operate in the Grow-NY region, grow jobs, connect with local industry partners, and contribute to a thriving Upstate economy.

Empire State Development Acting Commissioner and President & CEO-Designate Eric Gertler said, "The Grow-NY business competition is attracting startups and entrepreneurial talent from around the world dedicated to delivering agriculture innovation that will create jobs and grow the Finger Lakes, Central New York and Southern Tier economies."

State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, "Farmers, food processors, and beverage-makers in New York State grow and craft some of the best food and drinks in the nation. This competition presents new opportunities to shine a spotlight on our agricultural and food industry partners and help expand on their innovation and success."

Central New York Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chairs Randy Wolken, President & CEO of the Manufacturers Association of Central New York (MACNY) and Deborah Stanley, President of the State University of New York at Oswego, said, "New York State is a global leader in the agriculture and food industries and this groundbreaking, innovative competition represents yet another exciting investment in our community which will serve to bolster regional job growth. The REDC is working hard to support our agricultural base in Central New York ensuring the region continues to rise for years to come."

Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Co-Chairs Dr. Anne Kress, President of Monroe Community College, and Bob Duffy, President and CEO, Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce, said, "We are pleased to support Governor Cuomo's Grow-NY competition which is working to connect local industry partners and mentors with these innovative entrepreneurs. Agriculture and food industries are key to moving the Finger Lakes Forward, ensuring that we advance and sustain a thriving regional economy for years to come."

Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chairs Harvey Stenger, President of Binghamton University, and Judy McKinney Cherry, Executive Director, Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development, said, "The locally designed Southern Tier Soaring Upstate Revitalization Initiative is laser focused on growing the agriculture industry, recognizing that it is an incredibly important part of our regions' continued economic success. The Grow-NY competition will help these forward-thinking innovators, bolstering our efforts to boost the regional economy for years to come."

To learn more about Grow-NY, visit grow-ny.com. To learn more about theCornell Center for Regional Economic Advancement, visit https://crea.cornell.edu.

Accelerating CNY Rising

Today's announcement complements "Central NY Rising," the region's comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The State has already invested more than $5.6 billion in the region since 2012 to lay the groundwork for the plan - capitalizing on global market opportunities, strengthening entrepreneurship and creating an inclusive economy. Today, unemployment is down to the lowest levels since before the Great Recession; personal and corporate income taxes are down; and businesses are choosing places like Syracuse, Oswego and Auburn as a destination to grow and invest in.

Now, the region is accelerating Central NY Rising with a $500 million State investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, announced by Governor Cuomo in December 2015. 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 5,900 new jobs. More information is available here.

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 State has already invested more than $6.1 billion in the region since 2012 to lay the groundwork for the plan - investing in key industries including photonics, agriculture and food production, and advanced manufacturing. Today, unemployment is down to the lowest levels since before the Great Recession; personal and corporate income taxes are down; and businesses are choosing places like Rochester, Batavia and Canandaigua as a destination to grow and invest in.

Now, the region is accelerating Finger Lakes Forward with a $500 million State investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, announced by Governor Cuomo in December 2015. 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.

Accelerating Southern Tier Soaring 

Today's announcement complements "Southern Tier Soaring," the region's comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The State has already invested more than $6.2 billion in the region since 2012 to lay for groundwork for the plan - attracting a talented workforce, growing business and driving innovation. Today, unemployment is down to the lowest levels since before the Great Recession; personal and corporate income taxes are down; and businesses are choosing places like Binghamton, Johnson City and Corning as a destination in which to grow and invest. Now, the region is accelerating Southern Tier Soaring with a $500 million State investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, announced by Governor Cuomo in December 2015. 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 10,200 new jobs. More information is available here.


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